The Club Index 2021: How the Sports Industry is Emerging from the Pandemic

November 2021

The Club Index was developed as a means to benchmark top sports clubs across key metrics, ensuring that stakeholders can contextualize performance and opportunity across the sports industry.

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Key Findings

European football clubs reign supreme in the Club Index top 10

Football powerhouses from Premier League, La Liga and Bundesliga continue to top the Club Index ranking during the pandemic. Six Premier League clubs make it into the top 10 ranking with Manchester United remaining in the lead position illustrating its storied legacy and massive following both locally and internationally. Real Madrid, Liverpool and Chelsea manage to improve their positions proving their resilience throughout the pandemic.

Strong performance across key metrics sees nine US teams ranked in the top 20

Dallas Cowboys is the flag bearer for US teams being the only team from North America within index top 10 clubs. Another eight US teams from NFL, NBA and MLB are ranked among 11-20 clubs. NFL and NBA teams ensure high exposure to their sponsors during 2019-20/20 seasons, while New York Yankees loses its spot among the top 10 as the pandemic cancels MLB’s global games and shortens its 2020 season.

Japanese baseball teams top ranking in Asia Pacific and Australasia, while football clubs are leaders in Latin America

Five teams from Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league, spearheaded by Yomiuri Giants, lead the Asia Pacific and Australasia regional ranking. NPB teams boast strong local popularity and get an additional boost from Japan’s solid economic performance and digitally-savvy population. Latin America’s ranking is led by football teams from Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, boasting both loyal fanbases and solid social media following.

Playing in front of fans still matters while digital following only grows in importance

Clubs that had high exposure to live audiences as well as invested in expanding digital presence have strengthened their resilience and commercial viability during the pandemic at the same time retaining or improving their index positions as a result. While playing in front of live audiences was subject to governmental regulations, social media, especially TikTok, was utilised effectively by clubs seeking to retain and expand the engagagement with fans.

 

Introduction

Scope
Introduction to Euromonitor International’s Sports Indices
Introduction to Euromonitor International’s Club Index
How a data-driven approach can navigate uncertainty for sponsors
Understanding club performance during the pandemic
Key findings from The Club Index 2021

Club Index: Top 20 Results

Club Index 2021: Top 10 ranking
European football clubs reign supreme in the 2021 Club Index
Club Index 2021: 11-20 ranking
11-20 ranking largely comprised of top NFL, NBA and MLB teams
Manchester United is the number one sports team globally
Real Madrid is the number two sports team globally
FC Barcelona is the number three sports team globally
Bayern Munich is the number four sports team globally
Liverpool is the number five sports team globally
Arsenal is the number six sports team globally
Chelsea is the number seven sports team globally
Manchester City is the number eight sports team globally
Dallas Cowboys is the number one sports team in North America
Tottenham Hotspur is one of the top 10 sports teams globally

Club Exposure During Covid-19

Club Index 2021: What it takes to come out on top
Exposure impacts sports properties’ index position
Varied exposure for sponsors across top leagues
European football clubs reign supreme in digital exposure
European football and NBA teams persevere while MLB falls
Exposure to live and digital audiences varies within NFL
NPB and Australian Football League clubs lead in APAC
Argentinian football clubs lead in Latin America
Top 10 clubs in social media following by region
Social media has been crucial to keeping fans engaged
Top three Club Index teams lead in social media following globally
TikTok leads in follower growth among clubs ranked 11-20
Juventus and PSG lead in social media following
Digital engagement at the heart of activation strategies for clubs

Conclusion

What to expect in the year ahead

Appendix: Top 50 Club Ranking Results

The Club Index 2021 (1)
The Club Index 2021 (2)
The Club Index 2021 (3)
The Club Index 2020 (4)
The Club Index 2020 (5)

Appendix: Methodology

Value behind different metrics groups
Overview of metrics for the Club Index
Methodology
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