Any sports fan will likely try to convince you that their team is the biggest or the best, but the
truth is, only a handful of sports teams enjoy a truly global following.
Whether it’s a long and storied history (with a trophy cabinet to match), or being home to some
of the sport’s biggest and best players, these are the teams that are adored in every corner of
But which teams can claim to be the very biggest in terms of their global followings? To find out,
Betsperts the largest social network for sports bettors has analyzed each team from the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL, as well as the 20 biggest soccer teams in Europe.
The Top 5 Sports Teams with the Biggest Social Following in the World
1. Real Madrid (Soccer) – 278.89m followers
Not only is the most followed team overall a soccer team but so are each of the top eleven. But
it’s Spain’s Real Madrid that takes the top spot as the most followed team overall, with over 278
million followers across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok combined.
Los Blancos are one of the most supported teams in the world, as well as one of the most
successful, and their huge support was boosted between 2009 and 2018 when they played host
to one of the game’s most famous individuals, Cristiano Ronaldo.
2. Barcelona (Soccer) – 269.87m followers
In second are Real’s great rivals, Barcelona, who just fall short by fewer than ten million
followers (relatively small margins in the scheme of things).
While Barca have more followers when it comes to Twitter and TikTok, their El Clásico rivals
just have the advantage overall.
3. Manchester United (Soccer) – 177.36m followers
While they haven’t fared so well on the field in the last decade or so, Manchester United remain
one of the biggest sports teams in the world, as shown by their huge combined following of over
177 million across all four platforms.
Their huge success over the years means that the Red Devils enjoy support in every corner of
the globe and, they remain the most supported Premier League team by some distance.
The Most Loved Sports Teams in the World
Having a global social following may be one indication that it is one of the biggest teams in the world, but is it the most loved, and how does this look in specific countries around the world?
To find out, we’ve taken a look at which of these same teams were the most searched on Google, in each country in the world.
Again, soccer teams dominate the picture, with North American teams only being the most loved in eleven nations.
It’s a fairly even split between Real Madrid and Manchester United, with the former being the top team in 53 countries, and United in 50.
While the majority of these differences between nations can be explained due to geography, or perhaps similarities in languages (such as Spanish-speaking countries preferring Real Madrid & Barcelona), there are some more unusual examples.
For example, Slovenia and Slovakia are the only European countries to prefer teams from American sports, but this can be explained due to their favorite teams (the Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets) both having star players from these countries (Luka Dončić and Nikola Jokić).
The top 5 most valuable teams in the world
1. Dallas Cowboys (Football) – $5.70bn
While soccer teams are clearly the most loved when it comes to global fanbases, when it comes to which teams make the most cold hard cash from their fans, it’s a different story, with the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL being the most valuable team in the world.
The Cowboys have an estimated valuation of $5.7bn, with revenue drawn not just from ticket sales, but also through sources such as their state of the art stadium, merchandising business, investment in e-sports, and much more.
2. New York Yankees (Baseball) – $5.25bn
Even if you don’t know the first thing about baseball, you probably know the logo of the New York Yankees, which shows up on baseball caps and snapbacks everywhere.
This branding alone makes them one of the most valuable teams in the world, but they’re also one of the most successful, with a track record of winning that goes right back to the 1920s, although the championships have somewhat dried up in recent years.
3. New York Knicks (Basketball) – $5bn
Another team from the Big Apple comes in third place, with the NBA’s New York Knicks being worth an estimated $5 billion.
Like the Yankees, the Knicks haven’t necessarily enjoyed huge success in the last couple of decades, but they remain incredibly popular and have been the most valuable NBA team since signing a huge sponsorship deal in 2010.
Looking at each team from the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL, as well as the 20 biggest soccer teams in Europe (according to Forbes’ Business of Soccer), we analyzed the following:
The combined following of each team’s main accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, as of April 6th, 2022.
Each country’s favorite team
The team with the highest average monthly searches in each country between March 2021 and February 2022 according to Google Ads Keyword Planner. Note that we looked at different keyword variations where applicable (such as ‘Paris Saint Germain’ and ‘PSG’) and took the variation that had the highest volume.
The estimated valuation of each team according to Forbes’ list of the World’s Most Valuable Sports Teams 2021. Figures converted from US dollars to pound sterling and euros using rates from XE as of April 6th, 2022.