Chinese football fans love winners, and historic football moments have been a catalyst for fans to follow a certain club. Liverpool’s Champions League win in Istanbul created a generation of Chinese fans, meanwhile Arsenal’s invincible season and Manchester United’s 1999 Champions League win have had a similar effect.
However, how does the European team’s ranking this season compare to their popularity online in China? We’ve taken the final standings of the top clubs from Europe and compared this to their digital performance online in China according to Red Card 2016.
The top 3 in Spain fail to make any of the top 3 spaces in Red Card 2016, demonstrating that despite both European tournaments set to be won by a Spanish team, winning at the highest level cannot guarantee online success if not leveraged correctly.
Villarreal, who are the next highest team ranked at 27th in Red Card 2016, highlight how the rest of the league is performing online.
Leicester City’s Premier League success resulted in the club growing by 360,000+ fans on Weibo, the #1 fastest growing European club online in China.
The Premier League has the most teams online, with 12, plus Aston Villa (14th in Red Card) who become the first Championship club online on Weibo. However, their recent acquisition by the Chinese organisation Recon Group will shake up their presence in this region.
Bayern Munich is the top ranked team in the Bundesliga and Red Card 2016.
Bundesliga and the German national team, the #1 European league and national team on Chinese social media, highlight the strong ecosystem of German football online in China with both dominating in their respective categories.
Serie A is the joint least represented league with only 5 teams online (La Liga also only has 5), and have the lowest average ranking of each team.
AC Milan are the #1 performers from this league after relaunching their Chinese social presence, reaching 7th place in total, matching their 7th place finish.