European football worth up to €12 billion a year says new report

On facebook Turkish Galatasaray takes the lead with its nearly 4,5 miliion fans topping both FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. Photo (c) flickr user superleague formula: thebeautifulrace and licensed under a Creative Commons 2.0 licence.


By Steve Menary
The latest edition of the Football Top 20 report from consultants Sport + Markt claims that nearly 250 million people aged between 16 and 69 in Europe follow the sport, generating a football market worth up to €12 billion.

The value of the European football market is worth up to €12 billion a year according to new research.

The latest edition of the Football Top 20 report from consultants Sport + Markt claims that nearly 250 million people aged between 16 and 69 in Europe follow the sport, generating a football market worth up to €12 billion.

“Football has remained strong and is an important part of people’s lives and the opportunities are immense,” said Gareth Moore, Sport + Markt’s director for the UK and Ireland. “The opportunity for growth is there if the clubs can get it right.”

46,2 million football fans in Russia
Based on research on 17 different countries, Sport + Markt’s study identifies the number of fans per nation and shows that Russia has easily the largest proportion of football supporters with 46.2 million fans of the game.

The next biggest number of football fans can be found, according to Sport + Markt, in Germany on 34.5 million ahead of the United Kingdom with 25 million supporters of the game.

The research looks into the support that the continent’s biggest clubs have tapped into, not just in their home market but also overseas.

So while Dynamo Kiev has the greatest proportion of fans at home, with 47% of Ukrainians supporting the Champions League regulars, the club only ranks twentieth amongst Europe’s best supported teams with a fan-base of 5.3 million people.

Barcelona attracting fans without winning CL
Sport + Markt’s study claims that Barcelona has Europe’s greatest fan-base with 57.8 million fans claiming allegiance to the Catalan side ahead of arch-rivals Real Madrid and England’s Manchester United on 31.3 million and 30.6 million respectively.

“At FC Barcelona, the growth has come in the last year without winning the Champions League,” said Mario Olivetto, Sport + Markt’s director for Spain and Latin America. “It’s the dream of every club to attract more fans without being successful on the pitch and FCB are demonstrating this.”

The report highlights the difference that competing regularly in the Champions League can make. Five-time winners Liverpool, who missed out on Europe’s blue chip event this year, ranked ninth in terms of support with 16.4 million supporters but Tottenham Hotspur – in their first appearance in the competition for four decades – has just 3.5 million fans according to the study.

The research also highlighted the increasing importance of new media. Turkish giants Galatasaray are surprisingly Europe’s most popular club on Facebook ahead of Barcelona then Real Madrid. Another Turkish side, Fenerbahce is fourth with Liverpool the highest ranking English side.

Women’s interest increases
Sport + Markt’s research claims that the rise in support for European football clubs comes from a greater number of women becoming interested in the sport.

“Since the World Cup we have seen that more women are following football clubs,” says Sport + Markt’s executive director, Hartmut Zastrow. “There is a higher proportion [than men] and this is a global trend. All the clubs need to think of this; 10 years ago, football was a man (sic) business.”

Overall, Sport + Markt conclude that clubs have a long way to go before their supporter bases are fully capitalized and the value of that €12 billion market volume is fully realized.

Download an abstract of Sport + Markt’s report Football top 20 2010

  • NEXTSTARS ., 17.09.2010 11:45:
    Premier League clubs should be looking at Racing Portuense in Spain who are developing players released from the Premier Academy League giving a second chance to players on whom English clubs spent so much time, money, effort and knowledge on by not letting it all go down the drain.

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