An Inside Look at Manchester United’s Staggering Revenue Through Fan Engagement

With a breathtaking number of 659 million supporters, it is safe to say that the fanbase of EPL giant Manchester United (https://www.manutd.com/) is nothing short of colossal. Let me explain you the significance of this number – this is twice the population of the United States of America and almost half the population of China. Constituting to 8% of the world population, the fan base of  Premier league’s most successful could hold its own ground to become the fourth largest practiced religion after Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism.

With a breathtaking number of 659 million supporters, it is safe to say that the fanbase of EPL giant Manchester United (https://www.manutd.com/) is nothing short of colossal. Let me explain you the significance of this number – this is twice the population of the United States of America and almost half the population of China. Constituting to 8% of the world population, the fan base of  Premier league’s most successful could hold its own ground to become the fourth largest practiced religion after Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism.

The club is engaged in fan interaction with over 100 million followers digitally, with over 70 million followers on Facebook, 20 million on Instagram and 17 million on Twitter. Furthermore, they have over a million subscribers to their official app and close to 175,000 subscribers to their MUTV app and digital cable channel which is available to 165 countries.

Revenue Through Fan Engagement

It’s one thing to create a massive fan base but it’s a whole different game to metamorphose it into an effective revenue model and that’s exactly what Manchester United have been successful at. The revenue generated through fan engagement has contributed effectively helping the club to post a record-breaking overall revenue of  £581 million ($817 million) last year. Manchester United converts only 1% of its 659 million fans to MUTV subscription at an average of just £1 per month (the pricing will vary by country, taking fans’ respective purchasing power into account and is as low as around £1.60 per month in India to around £6.30 per month in Finland). This helps the club to generate nearly £80 million ($102 million)  per year in additional revenues apart from their primary revenue via broadcasting rights, brand endorsements, and sponsorships.

Now let’s see how this £80 million transcends on to the pitch. This money can fund the signing of as many as two to three top players with five-year contracts or could contribute to one-third of the club’s overall annual wage budget of the entire squad which, is around £232 million ($256 million). That’s in addition to the usual business Manchester United conducts during the transfer windows, which tends to be quite substantial already.Moving on to the most amusing factor about their fanbase is that close to 85% live in developing economies around the world, with more than half in Asia and only close to 7% of the fanbase turns up to their stadium through the course of their soccer season. This makes the club to keep fans engaged between matches through social media and their dedicated apps. The fans are provided with the right and robust content including gamification and mixed reality at the right time in as many as 27 languages, through various mediums. This creates more interaction, greater advertising and merchandising opportunities among its predominantly young fanbase.

In summary, Manchester United’s staggering revenue generated through fan engagement include the following:

  • Robust content
  • Gamification
  • Mixed Reality
  • Fan loyalty
  • Sponsorships
  • MUTV subscription

About Fanisko:

Fanisko (www.fanisko.com) offers a one-stop fan engagement platform, Fanisko|Engage, that helps sports and entertainment brands increase mobile fan retention, digital engagement and revenue opportunities. Today’s fans want more from their leagues and teams. We help leagues and teams embrace today’s “SmartFan” demand while maximizing fan potential for sponsors. Our mobile first, one-stop platform targeting millennials with a combination of unique content strategy, product offering including gaming, predictive and behavioral analytics and AR/VR technologies will target and engage the right audience.

So, if you are any sports association, league or a club planning to deliver an amazing mobile based fan engagement platform to build your fanbase, we would like to hear from you.

*Revenue and fan base statistics were taken from BBC, Independent, MUFC’s social media accounts, and official website respectively*

 

 

 

Turning Sports Enthusiasts into Hardcore Fans

Hardcore fans, unlike simple sports enthusiasts, see themselves as part of the team and not just simple spectators in the arena. With this in mind, teams, leagues, and clubs should cater to these needs as much as possible. Luckily, however, this has become increasingly more feasible, thanks in large part to all the technological achievements in recent years.  

Hardcore fans are the lifeblood of any sports team, league, or club. These fans are the ones that live and breathe for their favorite teams and are the ones more than willing to go to every game, purchase merchandise, and follow their teams wherever they go. Not all sports teams enjoy this high level of fidelity and idolization, meaning that their bottom line has to suffer, stifling, in turn, their possibility for expansion, sponsorship acquisition, and better results, in a sort of positive feedback cycle that is incredibly hard to break.

Nevertheless, some sports teams such as FC Barcelona, Real Madrid CF, FC Bayern Munich, among many others, seem to be blessed with fans spanning the entire globe. So, what are these teams doing right that others aren’t? And more importantly, what do fans want and expect from their favorite teams?

What Do the Hardcore Fans Really Want?

Hardcore fans, unlike simple sports enthusiasts, see themselves as part of the team and not just simple spectators in the arena. With this in mind, teams, leagues, and clubs should cater to these needs as much as possible. Luckily, however, this has become increasingly more feasible, thanks in large part to all the technological achievements in recent years.

These fans want to be in touch with their teams 24/7, if possible. And while this was somewhat hard to do, say, back in the ’90, with today’s many social media platforms, like Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook, this is no longer a problem. Teams and individual players alike can live stream from the locker room or their own homes, all to their fan base delight and satisfaction.

What Key Elements Facilitate Hardcore Sports Fans?

No person is born a hardcore fan, so, certain things must be turning them. Knowing what these are, can help teams to turn them into their loyal fans better.

For starters, and this is somewhat obvious, hardcore fans are usually from the same city. In fact, roughly 60% of all hardcore fans of any given team, especially those that hold international recognition, are from the same town or area as their team. An equally important aspect is the family tradition of rooting for a specific team. It is unlikely, though not unheard of, for children to endorse a different team than that their parents, siblings, and relatives do.

Then, there’s the matter of a team’s performance. Scientific studies have shown that fans whose team won a game see an increase in their testosterone levels. Likewise, some sports fans tend to follow individual players and not the teams themselves. It means that they are willing to change teams as long as their favorite player is part of it.

Lastly, there a matter of convenience. Today’s sports fans are all about convenience and versatility when it comes to their engagement with their teams. And as we’ve mentioned before, this trend has been facilitated, in large part by the rise of social media and other such digital technologies. The downside to this development, however, is the fact that there are too many platforms from which fans engage with their teams, which is somewhat the opposite of what convenience is about.

Conclusion

Fortunately, specific platforms such as Fanisko Engage are fixing that by funneling all this fragmented content, and more, within a single source. This is a win-win situation for everybody involved.