January 20 – Barcelona are the most popular club online in China, the Premier League is most influential competition and Cristiano Ronaldo is still the player that excites Chinese more than any other, according to the latest Red Card Report from Mailman, published last week, which ranks online performance in the country.
Mailman attributes Barca’s powerhouse Chinese year to having the highest club engagement rate on Weibo, the highest total impressions on Weibo, being the most engaged football club on Douyin (this platform has rapidly become increasingly important in the Chinese market), the launch of the Barca Academy China Cup, and the renewed OPPO partnership with an exclusive smartphone offer.
All of that put them above Real Madrid. Chelsea were third placed in the Mailman ranking followed by Manchester City, with Man Utd and Juventus were joint 5th and Liverpool and Bayern Munich joint 7th.
But while the Spanish clubs hold the top positions, when it comes to leagues the English Premier League is significantly ahead, for the second year running.
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters, said: “We witnessed their (Chinese) passionate support during last year’s successful Premier League Asia Trophy in Nanjing and Shanghai, something that has been reflected by the growing popularity of our digital coverage in the country.
“Through our dedicated content team we have delivered innovative and compelling content across key platforms such as Douyin and Weibo, while the tournament itself also provided a valuable opportunity to offer promotional support for PP Sports, as we officially launched our broadcast partnership with them.”
Still knocking clubs and leagues out the social media park in China is Cristiano Ronaldo.
The most engaged player on Weibo with 2.7 million total engagement, he is 2.5x higher than Lionel Messi. Ronaldo has 6.6 million Weibo followers, he is the most followed foreign player on Toutiao and he has partnership deals with Seven Brand and Anmuxi.
Andrew Collins, Mailman Group CEO, said: “We saw 100% year-on-year growth in followers on Weibo and a 45% increase in engagement across the world’s biggest teams this past year as football fast becomes more socially relevant and digitally friendly on China’s major platforms. There were 16.3 million new followers on Weibo across the top clubs, with more than 20 teams now engaging their fans on Douyin as digital continued to explode in China over the past 12 months.”
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