European soccer clubs hold a massive following in the United States. Fans look to attach themselves to a team they can identify with, without the traditional regional barriers.
The explosion of popularity the Premier League has seen over the past two decades has trickled into US markets. Now, fans want association with the high-profile brands and players.
America has a multitude of cultures and national-ties that blend into the fabric of the country. As such there is a tremendous amount of success commercially for certain European teams in the US.
Top-5 most popular European clubs in the United States
In a recent survey conducted by YouGov USA, which is designed to offer a broad and balanced view of the American population, the best supported clubs were revealed.
The USMNT and USWNT are the two most followed soccer teams in America, naturally. But, here are the best supported European clubs in the United States.
#1 – Manchester United (29% popularity)
Manchester United capitalized on the American soccer boom before anyone else. From signing a unique merchandise partnership with the New York Yankees in the early 2000s, United have marketed themselves perfectly to an American audience.
Lucrative pre-season tours have followed as US fans have clamored to get a glimpse of legendary players like Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Scholes.
There is a degree of irony to this though. Manchester United are exceedingly popular in the US, taking a 29% popular vote of the citizens asked by YouGov USA. However, Manchester United fans despise their American owners, the Glazer family, after they pursued a leveraged buyout of the club with none of their own money.
#2 – Barcelona (27% popularity)
Barcelona have a large amount of Latin American fans based in the United States.
Their success under Pep Guardiola propelled them into the stratosphere with regards to worldwide acclaim.
Lionel Messi’s emergence as arguably the greatest player to ever live has also vastly bolstered the Blaugrana’s marketability and US support.
A recent downturn in results hindered them. Many predict Barca’s El Clásico rivals can overtake the Blaugrana.
#3 – Real Madrid (26% popularity)
Real Madrid are the most successful soccer team in European history. They have won 14 European Cups/Champions League titles and always have superstar players in their squad.
Florentino Perez’s first Galactico era gave Los Blancos’ US popularity a real shot in the arm. Having David Beckham and Ronaldo Nazario, two of the most recognizable players ever, was a huge selling point.
Real Madrid also benefit from the sizable Latin American presence in the states, with the club hugely important in that region.
#4 – Chelsea (25% popularity)
Chelsea’s popularity in the US is almost entirely down to timing. As the Premier League was becoming a juggernaut throughout the world, the Blues were the most successful team.
Roman Abramovich’s takeover and subsequent spending revolutionized Chelsea. The club acquired some of the best coaches and players in the world.
Whilst not necessarily the best marketed club, US fans have grown to love Chelsea due to their virtually non-stop run of trophies since the 2003 takeover.
Now, it helps to the best American talent in Christian Pulisic, coupled with an American owner.
#5 – Liverpool (22% popularity)
Both Liverpool and Manchester City hold equal 22% popularity in the YouGov USA survey. Yet, the Reds have a longer history of US support.
Liverpool is one of English soccer’s most successful clubs. As more people immigrated to the United States, the wave of support for the Reds followed.
Once the sport grew in importance, Liverpool retained a strong fan-base. Recent success under Jürgen Klopp relit the flame stateside.
Years in the doldrums left LFC playing catchup in terms of US marketing. However, the FSG ownership group and related investors like LeBron James gave US residents an easy Premier League favorite.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Icon Sportswire
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