Wednesday, December 20th, 2017 | 9 min read
It can be argued that soccer is the only truly global sport.
Held every four years, the FIFA World Cup highlights soccer’s worldwide appeal. The 2014 edition reached 3.2 billion viewers, whilst over a billion saw the final between Argentina and Germany.
Europe is at the forefront of the Beautiful, global Game. The last three World Cups have been won by European nations, and many of the world’s best players represent European teams. However, with so many games played on a nightly basis across the continent, clubs are challenged to stand out from their peers.
Social media allows teams to showcase personality. Some, like Iceland’s Stjarnan FC, have gone viral for their elaborate goal celebrations while others, like English side Bristol City, have utilized an array of goal celebration GIFs. These are just two of the many soccer clubs impressing social audiences.
Here are five leading European soccer teams winning on social – as determined by Sprinklr Business Index (SBI®), which measures and analyzes the breadth of public interactions between brands and consumers across social media.
Barcelona has been the primary proponent of the Beautiful Game over the past decade. At the center of the team’s success has been Lionel Messi.
The Argentinian superstar has turned breaking records into a habit. He is Argentina’s all-time leading goalscorer, and broke Barcelona’s all-time scoring record at just 24 years old. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Messi is widely considered the greatest of all time.
Over a decade after bursting on the scene, Messi is as pivotal as ever to Barcelona. Therefore, fans will be relieved to see that Messi recently signed a contract extension until 2021. This virtually guarantees that the little magician will see out his career in Catalonia.
👏 #Messi2021 👑✨ He made his debut 4,788 days ago. He has played 602 games. He has scored 523 goals. He has won 30 trophies. The story continues. — Debutó con el primer equipo hace 4.788 días Ha jugado 602 partidos Ha marcado 523 goles. Ha ganado 30 títulos. La historia continúa. — Va debutar amb el primer equip fa 4.788 dies. Ha jugat 602 partits. Ha marcat 523 gols. Ha guanyat 30 títols. La història continua. — #Messi #FCBarcelona #igersFCB #ForçaBarça
A post shared by FC Barcelona (@fcbarcelona) on
Barcelona’s stars are used to jetting across Europe for crucial Champions League encounters. Faced with some downtime in transit, pastimes come to the fore. Many would choose music to relax ahead of big games. In this case, players are playing a friendly game of ludo on board. However, it seems that Barça star Jordi Alba would rather get some shuteye.
Barça suffered a significant blow in the offseason, losing Brazilian star Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record transfer. That has increased the goalscoring burden on Messi and Luis Suárez, the two remaining members of a fearsome attacking trio known as MSN.
However, Messi and Suárez should give the club plenty opportunity to win silverware.
SBI® statistics indicate that Barcelona approaches social media as stylishly as it does soccer. The club enjoys a leading 2.9 million content engagements per day as well as an audience insights score of 10.
The Bavarians have been the dominant force in German soccer this decade, and do not show any signs of stopping. After an inconsistent start to the season, Bayern is once again top of the league.
Thanks to the longest Winter break among major European leagues, Bayern is guaranteed to be leading the way come mid-January. This will come as a relief to Bayern’s stars, who will by and large escape the harshness of games in German winter.
🎼 Oh, the weather outside is frightful. 🌨 But #FCBayern are so delightful. 🙂 With Lewy, James and more, let us score, let us score, let us score! 🎼 😜❄️ #MiaSanMia #FCBXmas #FCBayernXmas #letitsnow #winter #JamesRodriguez #Vidal #Lewandowski #Rafinha #Alaba @jamesrodriguez10 @kingarturo23oficial @_rl9 @r_13official @da_27
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Germany’s notable capacity for ingenuity and innovation is evident in Bayern Munich’s latest initiative. Through its inaugural HackDays event in January, the club is soliciting the involvement of fans, students and experts in creating new fan experiences and services, ranging from AR and VR to methods of global fan connection. The event takes place at the club’s Allianz Arena.
We want to innovate with YOU! Together with fans, students and experts we want to create new #fanexperiences and #innovation at the #FCBayernHackDays. Apply now and be part of a unique innovation journey at the #AllianzArena from the 19th to the 22nd of January 2018. We will tackle a variety of challenges with more than 200 participants from all around the world. There will be a hack day during a #bundesliga weekend and great prizes, too. We will also cover travel costs and provide accommodation for invited participants. Applications are open until December 12th at fcbayern.com/hackdays. Tag somebody you think should apply. Let’s start innovating together! #miasanmia #miasanfamily #fcbayern #ar #vr #dx #ai #hackathon #hackdays #munich #sporttech #sportsbiz #digisport #sportstechnology #smsports #blockchain #telekom #dhl #sap #siemens #adidas #audi #future
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SBI® statistics indicate that Bayern Munich is winning over audiences on social. The club gets a content insights score of 9.1 as well as an impressive audience insights score of 9.8.
The Old Lady has dominated the landscape of Italian soccer since the turn of the decade, winning six Italian league titles in a row. However, Juve has come up short in European competition, losing Champions League finals to Barcelona and Real Madrid in recent seasons.
The club is putting in efforts both on and off the pitch to leave fans happy. One recent example saw Juve midfielder Claudio Marchisio facing a series of tough questions from a selection of Junior Members, fans aged between 5 and 11 years old.
Stars such as Paulo Dybala and Gianluigi Buffon were taken to task by young fans in previous seasons, highlighting the instant success of these unique press conferences.
The club also uses its social channels to highlight the success of its women’s team. Perfection is the only word to describe their season thus far – they’ve won each of their first eight games.
A post shared by Juventus Football Club (@juventus) on
SBI® statistics indicate that Juventus is also striding towards perfection on social. The club gets a content insights score of 9.6 along with an audience insights score of 9.7.
The Red Devils welcome the input of fans on social. The club regularly features user-generated content on its social channels, particularly photos of home ground Old Trafford.
Collaborations across sporting disciplines are also notable. In one, United’s star midfielder Paul Pogba spent time with Washington Redskins star Josh Norman, one of the NFL’s very best and a noted soccer aficionado. Each star undoubtedly gained insights (and a few jerseys) from the other.
Off the pitch, the commercial appeal of the club is such that Man United is the world’s most valuable soccer team in 2017, worth $3.69 billion. However, the Red Devils are looking to recapture former glories on the pitch, having not won a league title since the 2012/13 season.
The form of goalkeeper David de Gea could play a decisive factor. Spain’s number one has been the leading light for United of late, winning the club’s player of the year in three of the last four seasons.
A recent goalkeeping masterclass against Arsenal bodes well for the season ahead.
A post shared by Manchester United (@manchesterunited) on
SBI® statistics indicate that Manchester United is sparkling on social. The club gets a content insights score of 9.7 and a perfect audience insights score of 10.
Real Madrid’s past and present has been filled with silverware – the club holds records for the most Spanish league and Champions League titles.
At the center of recent successes has been Cristiano Ronaldo. Along with Lionel Messi, the Portuguese superstar has been the best in the world for a decade. And at the age of 32, his hunger for awards and trophies shows no signs of abating.
Ronaldo recently received the 2017 Ballon d’Or, awarded to the best player in the world. His fifth such award equals a record previously held by none other than his eternal rival Messi.
Real is keen to give fans behind-the-scenes access to the training regimen of first-team players at Ciudad Real Madrid, the club’s sprawling training complex on the outskirts of Madrid.
Such footage highlights the strong work ethic and silky skills of the Madridistas’ favorite stars.
A post shared by Real Madrid C.F. 🏆 (@realmadrid) on
Real Madrid was previously known for its Galácticos policy of signing superstars for exorbitant transfer fees. However, under the management of former galáctico and France legend Zinedine Zidane, the club has experienced something of a cultural shift.
Thanks to Zidane’s policy of squad rotation, a number of youth players have emerged in recent seasons, most notably Marco Asensio. The attacking midfielder has shown plenty of promise for Real, and his efforts in training should build excitement among Madridistas.
SBI® statistics indicate that Real Madrid is thrilling audiences on social. Leading all soccer clubs with over 198 million followers across social, Real gets an audience insights score of 9.9.
Social media has become an essential tool for European soccer teams. Fans have come to expect a steady stream of behind-the-scenes access and insights from the teams they love.
Furthermore, it allows teams to build a greater following. However, by going the extra mile to engage and entertain fans on social, European soccer teams can best capitalize on the international appeal of the Beautiful Game.
SBI® statistics were pulled on December 12th, 2017
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