We continue our tradition to review the digital evolution in the world of sports, with our Global Digital Football Benchmark 2019 Player Edition. We have analysed all football leagues around the world and feature in this benchmark the Top275 football players (and coaches) with the biggest social media communities on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
RESULT Sports General Manager Mario Leo “We are monitoring the digital evolution since 2010 and it’s just amazing to witness this incredible growth, global reach and the society impact of Digital Sports. The Player Edition of our Global Digital Football Benchmark in April and October fits in nicely into our Club Edition releases, which are issued in January and July each year.
It requires more than eight (8!!!) million followers in the digital community to enter the Top 100 of our Global Digital Football Benchmark – a staggering number. And another observation we made during the analysis: The Top5 European Football Leagues: Bundesliga, LaLiga, Ligue 1, Premier League and Serie A feature the vast majority of players in this benchmark!
So, if a player does feature in those five European Leagues the chances are higher to grow his digital community, as he got more media visibility, because broadcasters bring those games into the households (TV or Streaming) around the world.
Why 275 players/ coaches only? Because it was a coincidence that Achraf Hakimi, playing for Borussia Dortmund, in position #275 gathered a total of 2,725,794 follower in his digital community. A nice ending – currently 978 football players around the world capture more than 1 million followers, but for readers of this study it would be huge effort clicking through all these names. Therefore we share the Top275 in this benchmark.
Below are the players #174 to #275 with our classic design, while the players with more than five million strong digital community are shown and featured separately.
Achraf Hakimi is ranked #275 and is the final player featured in this study. He accumulates 2,73 million followers across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. During the last six months his community increased by 405,890 followers – two thirds of this growth coming from his Instagram profile.
Overall the majority of his growth is registered on Instagram, hence it has become the primary platform for the players, especially the footballers below the age of twenty-three (23).
There are currently 173 players with more than 5 million followers on their social media communities on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. In the above gallery you can find the players ranked from #101 to #173.
Mario Leo continues “The growth of players across all platforms is still happening, while the Clubs already witnessing a decline in the community on certain platforms and a significantly reduced organic reach compared to two years ago. The reason for that is quite simple, if a player decides an exciting match, scores important or beautiful goals, the fans will “hear” the digital noise and want to be ‘close’ to this player, follow his postings and professional career!”
Carlo Ancelotti is the “oldest” person featured in the Player/ Coaches edition. The facebook profile was launched in November 2011, the Twitter Profile followed in December 2011 and the famous Italian coach gathers currently 10 million followers across Facebook (3million), Instagram (4.6 million) and Twitter (2.4 million).
And the Top 88 football players are all counting more than 10 million followers across the three social platforms: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Portuguese star Nani has played across many leagues and therefore caught the attention of many spectators and supporters – his strong performance lead to more than 12 million followers and position #71 in our overview. Thierry Henry was lucky enough to capture a huge community during his playing career and continues to grow his following now in his coaching roles.
Lukas Podolski in #61 place is the first player with more than 15 million fans on social media – quite a number of younger generation players, such as Marco Asensio, Gabriel Jesus and Kevin de Bruyne are in strong growth mode – the three players increased their social media profiles by 6.3million fans in the past six months…
700,000 additional social media fans did join the community if ‘Gigi’ Buffon, since autumn, in the hope and wish for the ‘Senior’ to win another club title with PSG.
The only player with a negative trend in its social media community is Arda Turan, who lost about 340,000 followers since last October benchmark.
Thomas Müller in #46 is the first player with more than 20 million fans. But Willian is in his ‘hunt’ – while Müller gained 275k followers, Willian has grown more than 1 million in the same time. The race is on…
While we notice, player leaving the Top 5 European football leagues stall their social media growth. This is visible for Fernando Torres, Javier Mascherano or Oscar – all are pretty much at the same community size, as they have been in October 2018.
Paulo Dybala and Kylian Mbappé, two high flyers on the pitch and in social media. Since October, Paulo Dybala increased his digital community by seven (7) million followers. His performances for Juventus and in the national team for Argentina, his goal scoring trademark celebration – all these aspects keep the audience fascinated.
The same counts for Kylian Mbappé – his strong World Cup performance kept alive for Paris Saint-Germain during the regular Ligue 1 season and in the UEFA Champions League on international level. His Digital Community increased by 8.6million fans – and is growing every day – with this pace, he will be in the Top20 already in the next Global Football Digital Benchmark.
Mo Salah has had two superb premier league seasons with Liverpool FC now. The entire African continent is looking forward to AFCON in Egypt this June… what a tremendous opportunity ahead. From October 2018 to April 2019 he increased his social media community by 7.5Million – globally the fifth highest increase!!!
Paul Pogba is another star on the pitch and in social media. He increased his community by 6.3 Million followers and managed to pass Iker Cassilas – while David Luiz from Chelsea only adding 200k to this community, the Top15 are there to be taken by Paul Pogba soon.
785 Million Football Fans around the world follow the Top3 players on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. What a number!
Congrats to Cristiano Ronaldo, who not only leads, but gained with his move to Juventus from October 2018 to April 2019 an absolutely amazing 21.1 million additional social media followers to his communities.
Neymar Jr in Second, gained 11.3 million and Leo Messi in third, with a total of 205 million followers, added a highly impressive 15.4 million additional social media fans to his communities.
Mesut Ozil is only player in Top10 with less than one million growth (+920K) – while Sergio Ramos passed Zlatan Ibrahimovic, moving into 8th and closing in on Mesut Ozil – as he adds 4.6 million new fans to his digital community.
That completes the Global Digital Football Benchmark Player Edition April 2019!