FC Barcelona edged out arch rivals Real Madrid to become the most supported team online in 2019.

Consequently, Juventus star and five times ballon d’or winner Cristiano Ronaldo and the English Premier League emerged as the most online supported player and the most followed league respectfully.

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Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo. PHOTO/COURTESY

According to 2020 edition of the Mailman Group’s Red Card report which assesses the strength of football properties online in China, Barca doubled its achievements by doubling its followers on Weibo, adding 8.3 million new followers to take its total to 16.3 million. Its number of engagements on Weibo also increased by 45 per cent to 16 million between 2018 and 2019.
Barcelona board member Didac Lee acknowledged the milestone achieved by the club and noted that the only challenge was creating content for China that is bespoke to the ever-evolving digital landscape due to increasing demand.

Barcelona board member poses with the award trophy, source Barcelona/Twitter account

Elsewhere, English Premier League side ,Chelsea overtook Manchester United and Manchester City to become the most popular Premier League club, and third most popular club overall. Mailman atributted this to their highly effective local video strategy where they added 2 million followers growth on Douyin.
Espanyol Club playing in Spanish La Liga moved up 27 places to be ranked 14th thanks to their last year signing of Chinese national team star Wu Lei.

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Espanyol and Chinese national team forward Wu Lei. PHOTO/COURTESY

China is one of the Nation’s that love watching football and are big supporters of European football teams. This has seen many teams tour the Asian countries during the holiday seasons to create a connection with their fans.
This is working for the investors in the sports industry as many business moguls team up with the clubs for advertisements and deal striking.

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A photo from the Real Madrid- China Summit in Beijing. PHOTO/COURTESY

The report said that summer tours of China had notable effects on teams’ fortunes in the ranking. Among the teams that toured China during the summer include Tottenham Hotspur, Juventus, Manchester United, Inter Milan, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain. This gave them a chance to activate their presence across all digital platforms.
FC Bayern, Liverpool and Arsenal did not visit the region this dropped down the rankings.

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