Kantar survey for Manchester United reveals over a billion fans and followers

As one of the world’s most successful and well known sports teams, Manchester United wanted to better understand and quantify the number of fans and followers they have in order to articulate their position at the forefront of sports brands.

To achieve this, we worked with Manchester United on a global survey to ascertain how many people around the world identify as a fan or follower of the club.  The survey was conducted across 39 countries, comprised over 54,000 respondents and took place over the first six months of 2019. It repeats a similar survey conducted in 2012 – also by Kantar – to ensure comparability of approach, methodology and results. 

The research results revealed a fan and follower base for Manchester United of 1.1 billion people, comprising 467 million fans and 635 million followers*.

This represents an increase of over 400 million on the similar survey conducted in 2012. The largest increases were in the Asia Pacific region, in particular China, where the number of fans and followers grew from 108 million in 2012 to 253 million today.

Antonio Wanderley, Kantar Global CEO, Sports, comments "As the global appeal of football continues to grow, it is vital for clubs like Manchester United to understand the experience and behaviour of their fans around the world.  The scale of this survey is significant, with 74% of the world’s adult population represented across 39 surveyed markets, to give a robust representation of football’s fan base. Using online interviews we statistically extrapolated the global number of fans and followers of Manchester United using a wide range of variables, from TV viewing data and social media usage through to FIFA rankings and GDP metrics."

Please find the official report from Manchester United on their fans and followers numbers on their Investor Relations site here.


*‘Fans’ are defined as those who answered survey questions, unprompted, with the answer that Manchester United was their favourite football team in the world. The term ‘follower’ is defined as those individuals who answered survey questions, unprompted, with the answer that Manchester United is a football team that they proactively follow in addition to their favourite football team.

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