BLOG | by Charlie Dundas

City or United … who is winning the battle of Manchester around the world?

The light blue half of Manchester has certainly been getting the better its red neighbours in recent years, with two league titles in the past five years for City compared to the blank drawn by United.

But while that record may hurt Reds fans in the city, what does it mean for their followings around the world?

We track perceptions of the clubs (and many others) every day in a number of markets so we thought we’d take a dive into the data.

First let’s take a look at our Current Customer metric across some of those markets. This metric asks whether respondents have followed or watched a club in the past year. It’s a good indicator of fandom.

As you can see, United outperform City in most markets and enjoy almost the double City’s followings in Indonesia, China and Thailand. The exception here is Germany where City have more followers, but this may well be because many German fans will have watched City in the UEFA Champions League this season (they played Schalke and Hoffenheim in their last two matches).

But surely, even those who are not fans of Manchester City can appreciate their Rolls Royce of a team? Let’s take a look at whether a metric like Recommend (which asks respondents if they would recommend watching a team or not) tells us.

As you would expect, especially after United’s somewhat disjointed season so far, the tables are turned here.

City beat United in three markets – Indonesia, Thailand and Germany – where they come significantly more highly recommended than United. But football fans in China and the US would still endorse the Reds over the Sky Blues.

They’re not watching different games to the rest of us, so the only explanation is that United’s halo has retained its lustre for longer among these fanbases. But one final thing to note here – these Recommend scores are uniformly very high, suggesting that both clubs have great potential for growth.

And while it’s a truism that trophies do win fanbases, the two aren’t strongly related. Liverpool, who haven’t won the title in 30 years, enjoy a bigger Current Customer score than Manchester City in all of these territories. Shifting the needle in foreign territories is harder than it looks.

BLOG | by Charlie Dundas

CHARLIE DUNDAS
Commercial Director

With over 15 years’ experience in the sports and sponsorship field, Charlie’s role at SMG Insight is to develop new market opportunities as the company continues to grow internationally. He also assists established and future clients to get the most from SMG Insight’s market-leading tools and research techniques.

E charlie.dundas@smg-insight.com