The most popular Premier League teams around the world
Millions of people watch the Premier League every season. Actually, that’s not true at all - we’re talking billions here.
The latest viewing figures put global audiences at around 3.2 billion, as the Premier League becomes increasingly popular with fans all over the world. Branching out from their local areas long ago, many top-flight clubs now have die-hard supporters from every corner of the globe, staying up way past their bedtime just to see their team in action.
These international fans may not make it to the stadiums every week, but many will still do whatever it takes to support their team. Whether they’re huddling around a laptop at 3am or proudly wearing the latest shirts, this worldwide fanbase goes a long way in telling us who is the biggest club of all.
After all, football is nothing without fans. That’s why we’ve developed an interactive map which shows you which Premier League club is the most popular around the world. Strap yourselves in, we’ve been able to rank every team from smallest to biggest.
Check out our interactive map to see how popular your club is across the globe!
How We Measured Worldwide Popularity
Measuring a club’s global popularity is tricky. Almost impossible.
There are a number of ways you could attempt this. You could go off TV viewing figures, social media followers or even how many football shirts are sold every year. But each of these methods would only capture a fraction of the fanbase, depending greatly on licensing agreements and the quality of a club’s social media team. AS Roma would have a field day.
Even worldwide fan surveys don’t work, since these again just focus on a small number of respondents and don’t give a reliable picture. This was perhaps best illustrated by Manchester United, who last year claimed they had 1.1 billion “fans and followers” around the world - a figure which still sounds all kinds of ridiculous.
Instead, we wanted to do things a little differently. We’ve measured every club’s worldwide popularity based on something almost every fan uses: the internet. More specifically, we’ve used data from Google to show how interest for each Premier League team has changed over the past decade, and you can play around with our interactive map to see it all for yourself.
Introducing Our Premier League World Map
The map doesn’t just show worldwide “fans”, but the overall interest in a particular club. It measures which club has been the most searched for in almost every country on the planet, and you can travel back through the years to see just how much interest has fluctuated over time.
A club might be popular because of a new signing, winning a major trophy or even a strategic international pre-season tour. Overall, though, it’s usually a simple case of clubs having larger fanbases in these areas, and the map ultimately shows who attracts the most attention in each country, regardless of the reason.
Using data from Google, we've scored every team out of 100 based on how popular they are. The top trending team in every country always scores 100 points, then every other team is scored depending on how their popularity compares to that club.
You can find out more about how the data is collected here, and we’ve added up every club’s worldwide scores to create a Premier League table of the decade…
Premier League Table of the Decade
This is the ultimate Premier League table.
Looking back at the entire last decade, we’ve calculated each club's average popularity score in every country, then added these all up to show who has been the most popular overall. Although you probably already have a pretty good idea of who’s number one, this table shows how far ahead they are, and also ranks every other team currently in the Premier League.
You can even see how popular each club is across the different continents, so it’s really interesting to see how your club stacks up against rivals...
It’s probably no surprise to anyone that Manchester United come out on top, despite a few years of mediocrity following Fergie's retirement. They came top across every single continent, comfortably beating out Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal to top the overall table. Over the past decade, there’s no doubt that United have been the most popular team both worldwide and in the UK.
But things are changing, and United are gradually being overtaken by other teams in various parts of the world. If we were to create a table which just looked at 2019 (and not the entire decade), here's how the top two would look:
This is a fascinating battle which Chelsea find themselves right in the middle of, coming second overall due to the huge impact of winning the Champions League in 2012. Since Liverpool are about to clinch their first Premier League title, I’d imagine the data at the end of 2020 would see them climb the overall rankings. We’ll have to wait and see.
Ranking Every Premier League Club By Popularity
It’s not all about the teams at the top, though. There are fascinating stories to be found for every single team here, and it’s incredible to see the impact a great signing or forgotten Europa League tie can do for a team’s reputation.
We’ve picked out some of the key info for every single club, and I recommend trying our map to pick some out for yourself.
20. Sheffield United
Somebody has to finish bottom. Unfortunately, it’s Sheffield United, which is hardly surprising since they spent so much of the decade stranded in League One. It’s also a shame we can’t compare them with Sheffield Wednesday, so I guess we’ll just have to wait for the Owls to get promoted one day.
Thanks to the wonderful job being done by Chris Wilder, the tables are finally starting to turn, and their popularity would go through the roof if they actually qualified for the Champions League this season. For the record, Lionel Messi at Bramall Lane is something I’m absolutely dying to see.
Last year was by far their best yet, with the Blades attracting much more interest from Africa and large parts of Europe. Their best overall scores came from Finland, China and Brazil, but they still lie comfortably in the bottom half for all these countries, while they sit in 17th when just looking at searches in the UK.
Interest in Bournemouth has grown rapidly over the past decade, although it’s still not enough to save them from the overall relegation zone. This drastic improvement doesn't come as much of a surprise, and is essentially what will happen if you start the decade in League One and finish it with your 5th consecutive season of Premier League football.
It’s a sensational story which plays itself out on our map. They might sit 19th overall, but interest spiked massively after their promotion in 2015, and they’ve been experiencing really steady increases ever since. The Cherries are (literally) putting themselves on the map, and it’s wonderful to see.
In 2010 they attracted very little interest outside the UK (where they still finished joint-bottom overall), but now you’ll see pops of red as far as Australia, USA and huge parts of Southern Africa.
18. Brighton & Hove Albion
Brighton & Hove Albion started the decade in exactly the same way: stuck way down in League One. Besides an incredibly high score in Iraq that year (perhaps due to the arrival of Yaser Kasim in October 2010), the Seagulls were another side who didn’t garner much interest from abroad.
Since their promotion in 2017, things have quickly started to change, and they just about outscored Bournemouth despite a much shorter time in the Premier League. In fact, they’re now proving popular in a different part of the Middle East, with the arrival of Alireza Jahanbaksh bringing a flood of Iranian interest back in 2018.
In most countries, Brighton do end up pretty low down the table, and they remain some way off local rivals Crystal Palace. Even so, it seems as though the Seagulls are establishing a semblance of an overseas following, even if they do sit at the bottom of the overall UK table.
Watford have seen steady growth in popularity ever since getting promoted back in 2015, and last year was certainly their strongest year yet. They achieved very respectable scores in Russia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan, though it’s worth noting that they still don’t make the top half in any of these countries.
The Hornets lie just outside the relegation zone in the overall table, sitting comfortably above Brighton over the course of the decade. They’re one of the few teams who haven’t really been influenced by a particular signing or fixture, bringing them an incredibly even spread of results across the globe.
Okay, so the improvements aren’t as dramatic as with several other teams, but interest in Watford is ever so slowly going up around the world.
16. Norwich City
Norwich City just about escape the relegation zone here, something which is largely down to their huge presence over in Finland. Thanks to an ongoing “Pukki party”, the Canaries have become incredibly popular in that part of the world, registering huge scores in the past two years.
They do tend to finish fairly low down most of the tables, although promotion back in 2015 led to interest from China, Moldova and Tunisia. Overall, it’s the high scores in both Finland and Greenland which are the clear standouts here, along with respectable scores in bigger countries like Brazil and China.
Since they spent such a large part of the decade down in the Championship, these results aren't too shabby at all.
Burnley have been on a rollercoaster throughout the last 10 years, and you can follow all the ups and downs by flicking through our map. Constant relegations and promotions have had a clear impact on their popularity, with interest falling off a cliff every time they dropped into the Championship.
Their relegation at the start of the decade definitely doesn’t get them off to the strongest start here, but things certainly recovered quickly when they were promoted again in 2014. After another few rides on the relegation rollercoaster, global interest in Burnley is now at an all-time high.
It’s impossible not to smile at the thought of fans in Greenland, Latvia and Papua New Guinea all desperate to hear the husky tones of Sean Dyche, but that’s exactly what seems to be happening in those parts of the world. The Clarets have also been enjoying growing popularity in Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa.
I wonder if The Inbetweeners Movie did anything to get their name out there.
Southampton are another side who have seen tremendous growth in the last 10 years. In fact, they’re right up there with Leicester and Liverpool as one of the teams with the biggest increase in worldwide popularity.
Starting the decade down in League One, interest in the Saints soared after impressive Premier League campaigns under Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman. Although there are no real stand-out countries, Southampton have a pretty even spread of interest across the globe right now, coming 14th in the overall table.
Sitting in 12th in the UK table, they’ve also got decent scores in China, Mongolia, and some other parts of Asia, peaking in both 2014 and 2016. Thanks to a couple of Europa League campaigns, their stock has also risen across parts of Europe, though the impact would’ve been much greater if they’d got through the group stages!
13. Crystal Palace
The world started to take notice of Crystal Palace back in 2013, the year they won promotion back to the Premier League. They’ve managed to stay in the top-flight ever since, leading to a steady rise in popularity, particularly in Western Sahara and Central African Republic.
In most parts of the map, the Eagles sit exactly where you’d probably expect them to: somewhere between 12th and 15th. This average position is slowly starting to go up, however, and there’s a stark contrast between now and 2010 - when they only really scored well in Zambia, Paraguay and Uzbekistan.
Thanks to star man Wilfried Zaha, there is some interest in the Ivory Coast and other parts of West Africa, but they still get absolutely nowhere near Chelsea in this region. Interest has also risen in Eastern Europe, most notably Montenegro, Croatia and Romania - though not so much Serbia, where their club captain comes from.
It’s an incredibly exciting time at Molineux, and many of us are more interested in what the next 10 years might hold. However, as it stands, Wolves are currently 12th in terms of worldwide popularity, although they’ve been growing at a staggering rate over the past two years.
In 2019, their top scores come from Greenland, Slovakia and Mexico, with both the arrival of Raul Jimenez and this season’s Europa League run playing a major role there. Over in Portugal, they finished 12th for the decade, but this is another part of the world where they’ve been steadily growing since 2018.
After what seems to be a very realistic shot of winning a European competition, Wolves’ popularity is only going one way. Their score for the decade won’t have you leaping out of your seat any time soon, but the growth they’ve been seeing lately means that things could look very different by the end of the 2020s.
11. Newcastle United
Newcastle sit comfortably in 11th overall, and their brief drop into the Championship had very little impact on their worldwide popularity. In fact, their worst year was by far 2018 - the world obviously isn’t as interested in a steady mid-table battle, and is much more interested when the Magpies are embroiled in a scrap for survival.
They scored particularly highly in countries such as Libya, Papua New Guinea and Greenland, though they weren’t as popular in Senegal as you might expect. The talents of Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse did bring a minor boost back in 2012, but this was still nowhere near the attention Chelsea were getting.
The Magpies have retained consistent support from Australia and the United States, while global interest in 2019 looks very similar to the scores of 2010. There have been a few small bumps along the way, but Newcastle are pretty much back to where they started - though it looks like the 2020’s could turn out very differently indeed.
10. West Ham United
West Ham’s relegation in 2011 seems to have hit them pretty hard, but they’ve managed to recover throughout the following years and now look stronger than ever. Finishing a respectable 10th overall, the Hammers have been drawing eyes from all over the world, with certain signings playing a major role.
Javier Hernandez’s arrival in 2017 certainly captured attention in Mexico, while the performances of Winston Reid brought steady support from those in New Zealand. They also scored well in Finland, Croatia and Romania (thanks to a Europa League tie against Astra Giurgiu).
They perhaps would’ve scored much higher if they’d been able to progress further in that Europa League campaign, but this does briefly highlight the value of just reaching the qualifying rounds of a European competition. It might not be considered the most prestigious tournament, but it can still have a major impact on a club’s global standing.
9. Aston Villa
Despite a sudden drop into the Championship, interest in Aston Villa didn’t decrease as much as you might think. Okay, so there was a slight blip in 2018, but they still sit comfortably in the top half of the overall table, scoring particularly well in Greenland, Western Sahara and small parts of South America.
Having gained promotion back to the Premier League, interest in the Villans has jumped right back up to where it should be, although their peak still came in 2013. They proved incredibly popular in the Netherlands, Denmark, Libya and Canada that year, before interest dropped off once again 12 months later.
There might have been a few hiccups along the way, but there’s no doubt that interest in Villa is on the rise, and they maintain some worldwide appeal even when playing in the second tier.
8. Leicester City
It’s been an incredible 10 years for Leicester City. Their popularity has increased more than any other team in the past decade - and you don’t really need to be a genius to understand why.
Back in 2010, worldwide interest in the Foxes was pretty much non-existent, and this remained the case until 2015, when they pulled off one of the Premier League’s greatest ever escapes and then refused to stop winning. After completing the greatest football upset of all-time, other countries were bound to take notice.
Of course, foremost of these countries were Algeria, Japan and Italy, who were particularly interested in Riyad Mahrez, Shinji Okazaki and Claudio Ranieri. But our map shows that Leicester have burst onto radars all over the world, including huge countries like Brazil, Russia, Australia and the United States.
Interest might have dropped after that incredible, mystifying season, but this has now quickly recovered thanks to the impact of Brendan Rodgers. In fact, it seems that Leicester are every bit as interesting as they were back in 2016, which is certainly no mean feat.
Everton have actually fallen in popularity over the past 10 years, gradually losing some of the strong interest they had in 2010. There’s been a significant drop in Australia since Tim Cahill’s departure, along with strong decreases in Algeria, Iraq, Gabon and Kazakhstan.
That being said, Everton remain one of the biggest clubs in the country, and sit exactly where you’d expect to find them: comfortably in 7th, but nowhere near the top 6. They actually sit 7th in UK searches too, with the arrivals of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Nikola Vlasic ensuring they scored well in Iceland and Croatia.
In the decade overall, they’ve failed to outscore Liverpool in any country whatsoever, although they did claim momentary victories in Chile, Ukraine and a few other places. When looking at both clubs over the decade, though, there isn’t a blip of blue to be found.
6. Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs attract huge amounts of interest from both USA and Italy, sitting just behind Manchester United and Chelsea respectively. The signing of Clint Dempsey (back in 2012) undoubtedly attracted American attention, but a string of pre-season tours and successful marketing campaigns have ensured such attentions haven’t wavered.
Despite finishing behind Arsenal and Manchester United overall, there’s also been a huge surge of interest from South Korea in the past two years - and it’s not hard to see why. In fact, Korea isn’t the only place they’ve overtaken their North London rivals, and last year’s run to the Champions League Final saw a worldwide spike in popularity.
Over the entire decade, they’ve beaten the Gunners in just a handful of countries, including USA, Italy, Puerto Rico and the Philippines, but there’s no doubt that things have started to change recently. They might sit some way behind Arsenal in the overall table, but another decent Champions League run could seemingly switch things around.
5. Manchester City
Manchester City have enjoyed more success than any other Premier League team in the last decade. After that unforgettable “Aguerooooo!” moment, the trophies have kept on coming and they’ve established themselves as a European powerhouse, but they still don’t attract as much worldwide attention as you might expect.
The peak of their popularity didn’t come after a league title. Instead, it came in the year they reached the semi-finals of the Champions League and hired Pep Guardiola. Despite unprecedented domestic success since then, worldwide interest has never quite reached the same levels, even after last season’s treble.
The arrival of Riyad Mahrez has predictably brought a flood of interest from Algeria, and the Citizens also take the top spot in Haiti. Thanks to talents of Sergio Aguero, they’re also hugely-popular in Argentina, while those in Chile, Bosnia and USA have also developed an affiliation with City.
Interestingly, they still remain behind Manchester United in UAE, but then just about have their edge over their rivals in some parts of Europe: including France, Italy, Romania and Ukraine. It’s been a sensational 10 years for City, and it’ll be interesting to see how the map would look if they were to clinch a European title.
There’s an inevitability about Arsenal coming 4th, although that running joke certainly died off a good few years ago. Perhaps more notably, they actually finished 2nd when just looking at interest in the UK, and clinched the top spots in places like Japan, Ethiopia and Argentina - though the existence of Arsenal de Sarandí may have skewed results in parts of South America.
However, that certainly isn’t the case with Chile, where the arrival of Alexis Sanchez meant interest in the Gunners sky-rocketed, with Mesut Ozil’s signature having a similar impact in Germany back in 2013. Arsenal also proved popular in Belarus, Sweden, Turkey, Armenia and a host of other European countries.
Unsurprisingly, they also scored very highly in France, but actually lost out to Chelsea overall here, with interest in Arsenal gradually declining. In fact, global popularity has reduced drastically since the start of the decade, with areas in Africa and Eastern Europe now seemingly more interested in Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool.
Fans will undoubtedly be happy to see a total score which is more than double Spurs, but the gap between the two sides has dramatically reduced over the past few years.
It won’t surprise you to see Liverpool sitting near the top of this table, and their stock is only going one way right now. They obviously score highly in Egypt, Brazil and Germany, but last year’s Champions League success means they’re starting to take over many other parts of the world, too.
It’s fair to say it was a fairly mediocre start to the decade, but they’ve since experienced an improvement almost as stark as Leicester’s. They’ve completely dominated the map over the last two years, and (with a league title just around the corner) it looks as though that trend will continue for the foreseeable future.
They came out on top in countries such as Iceland, Finland and Ireland, while huge parts of the Middle East have been wrestled away from Manchester United - with the map perfectly illustrating how these clubs’ fortunes have been completely reversed. It’s a fascinating battle to watch, like the world’s most elaborate game of Risk.
More than anything else, Chelsea’s map shows the unbelievable global impact of winning the Champions League. Interest in the Blues went completely off the charts in 2012, with Didier Drogba’s penalty undoubtedly attracting a huge number of new fans all over the world.
They started the decade with huge popularity in Russia and Italy, which is hardly surprising considering their affiliation with Roman Abramovich and Carlo Ancelotti. Along with significant parts of West Africa, Chelsea dominate huge parts of the early map, although they still remained a little way behind London rivals Arsenal.
The Champions League triumph changed everything, and the map shows a sea of blue in this period. It’s undoubtedly these peak years which have them above Liverpool in the overall table, although interest has now swung back towards the Reds - they even beat Chelsea in Russia last year.
Even so, interest in Chelsea remains high, with the impact of icons such as Jose Mourinho and Petr Cech made clear as day. The tables have also been turned somewhat on Arsenal, although the gap between those two clubs is now very tight indeed.
1. Manchester United
They might have won two league titles, but it’s been a pretty disastrous decade for Manchester United. Issues both on and off the field have led to a string of mediocre campaigns, but they still came out on top of our overall table, with the highest scores across every single continent.
After Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, global interest has gradually been starting to drop, and in many places they’re quickly being overtaken by Liverpool - most notably in the Middle East and parts of Northern Africa. They’re nowhere near as popular now as they were back in 2010 and 2011.
However, they do still score strongly in most parts of the world, even if they’re not quite the global powerhouse they used to be. There was a huge spike in 2017 after winning both the Carabao Cup and Europa League, and the lack of trophies since hasn’t forced them to relinquish the top spots in the UK, China, USA or Australia.
They’re also the most popular in the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark, but scoring across Europe is very evenly spread between the Red Devils, Liverpool and Chelsea. Over in South America, they’ve been overtaken by local rivals City in most countries, but still dominate much of the map when compared with their neighbours.
Manchester United are still just about the biggest Premier League club. But they need to quickly improve on the pitch if they want that to continue.