It was recently revealed that Man United has the highest value digital output of any club in world football.
With a projected revenue of £90m for 2021, it puts the club in an incredibly strong position for the modern world.
The biggest questions here are how have United been able to develop this and what potential does it hold for the future?
Strong online presence
Man United has a very strong online presence.
The main reason for this is that United has been a global club for a significant time.
The early days of the Premier League really drove home that perception, as worldwide TV rights meant hundreds of millions of fans worldwide saw Sir Alex Ferguson’s United dominating English football.
This has obviously helped to drive a lot of fans to the social media accounts under the United brand.
While the club doesn’t have a betting sponsor on the front of the shirt, online betting plays a big part in advertising across social channels.
With a new betting sponsor from China recently signed, the ability to tap into this global fanbase is something that has really helped United to drive revenue through these social channels.
This social presence has obviously helped United to maintain its position as the most well-supported English club, as well as one of the top five best-supported clubs in the world.
From there, the club has used this leverage to increase revenue streams.
As the domino effect takes place, this helps to bring in high-quality players which could lead to the club challenging for honours more strongly this season.
If this takes place, then it’s possible that players such as Paul Pogba could sign new deals and renew enthusiasm for playing with the club.
How does social media provide revenue?
As early as 2018, Man United was making it clear that they valued the digital revolution as an important aspect of the club’s evolution.
Growing the club’s online fanbase has been something that the club has been keen to carry out since the dawn of social media.
The reasons behind this are twofold.
Firstly, the club is able to keep supporters who live a long distance from the club engaged.
By providing content and access to the club through social media, these fans will remain active and will continue to offer their support to the club.
Secondly, it offers the opportunity to monetise these fans and helps to increase revenue streams.
While the first point is very important when it comes to maintaining the club’s global fanbase, it’s this second point that is vital for the club in the long term.
It goes without saying that a lot of modern football fans are not loyal.
Although United hasn’t won as much during the last decade as they did during the previous decade, they still regularly compete at the top level.
If United was to stop doing this, there is little doubt that they would lose a big proportion of their fans.
By monetising the fans at their current level, the club is able to achieve a higher level of revenue which can be used to improve the playing squad, which will in turn help to maintain the fanbase.
Monetising the fans doesn’t require that they spend money all of the time either.
While the social media accounts do make it easier for fans to spend money within the club, especially through online club shop deals which are regularly shown on social media channels, the large number of fans ensures that advertisers and sponsors are willing to pay more money to be a part of the club.
This helps to increase revenue at every level.
What about the future?
In terms of the future, United has a number of ways that the fanbase can be utilised to continue increasing revenue.
One example of this could be the Socios coin.
This is a fan engagement token that allows fans to make minor decisions with respect to the club based on the number of tokens that they own.
If United were to become a part of this, then it could bring in significant revenues for the club, potentially doubling the current digital revenue of the club.
There is also the opportunity for the club to create its own version of this, which would mean all revenues would be kept by the club, which would lead to even higher revenue.
It goes without saying that the digital world holds a lot of potential for the club in the long term.