Sports teams have more or less conquered social media in recent years.
Whether it be the remarkable spectacle of a cringe transfer unveiling, or merely offering loyal supporters a greater insight in to the lives of their favourite stars and team, social media has certainly been utilised by the world of sport.
So, you’re wondering: “Who is the greatest force to be reckoned with on social media?”
Well, 90min have answered that question for you, tallying up the followers of the most prolific sports teams from across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Without further ado, let’s tuck in.
30. New York Yankees
The Yankees are arguably the biggest baseball team the world has ever seen. With a record 27 World Series Championships, most recently in 2009, they have conquered Major League Baseball, and hit audiences across the globe.
Some of Baseball’s greats such as Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio have slugged it out at the Yankees Stadium.
The second name on our esteemed list is Italian giants Roma. The Giallorossi are one of Italy’s greatest ever teams, and the side from the capital boast a formidable fan base – hitting just under 15m social media followers across the three biggest platforms.
Roma have won three Scudetti dating back to 1942, as well as nine Coppa Italia titles, and have witnessed some of football’s best grace the Stadio Olimpico turf, including Francesco Totti, Gabriel Batistuta and Cafu.
28. Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys are the most financially valuable NFL team there has ever been. In 2018, they became the first American football franchise to be valued at $5b and continue to eclipse the rest of the National Football League financially.
With five Super Bowl titles to boast, the AT&T Stadium is packed every single gameweek with passionate Cowboys fans baying for blood.
27. New England Patriots
With six Super Bowl wins under their belt, the Patriots are the equal most decorated team in NFL history. All of these titles have come in the 21st century, spearheaded by head coach Bill Belichick and infamous quarterback Tom Brady.
As a result of their rise to stardom, the Patriots have amassed quite a following on social media, and now have a little over 15m followers.
26. Royal Challengers Bangalore
While we may not think of cricket and social media going hand-in-hand in this country, India is clearly a very different story.
Royal Challengers Bangalore have just over 16m followers due to their Indian Premier League showings, despite never having won the IPL, and finishing runners-up on three separate occasions.
25. Boston Celtics
Considered the greatest team in NBA history, the Celtics have won a record 17 championships – accounting for approximately a quarter of all championships since the league’s inception – and also have the most wins of any side in the NBA.
However, the fact that the Celtics haven’t won a championship since 2008 hasn’t stopped hoards of people checking out their social media.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers
While the Cavs don’t have a glowing trophy cabinet to fall back on, their first championship win was all the sweeter for it. A record-breaking 2016 championship saw the Cavaliers fight back to beat the Golden State Warriors, and claim Cleveland’s first major sports title in over 50 years.
23. Houston Rockets
Since moving to Houston from San Diego in 1971, the Rockets have won just two championships – back-to-back victories in ’94 & ’95. Despite the impressive James Harden leading their chase for another championship, the Texas-based team fell short in 2018/19 once more, losing to the Golden State Warriors in the conference semi-final.
22. Chennai Super Kings
The Super Kings are another IPL exponent, and have the highest win percentage of any team in the league. This, teamed with three IPL wins, makes them the second-most valuable team in the division, worth a little over $100m.
21. Kolkata Knight Riders
The Knight Riders are one of the IPL’s most supported teams, partly due to their Bollywood celebrity owners. With two IPL wins, and the second-largest cricket ground in the world, it’s easy to see why the Kolkata-based team are so popular.
20. Mumbai Indians
Mumbai Indians are the biggest team in the IPL, having won the league four times, including last year in 2019. The most valuable of all India’s cricket teams – worth approximately $116m – the Indians are the true mammoths of the IPL.
19. Miami Heat
With 13 division titles, five conference wins and three championship victories, Miami are one of the NBA’s most popular teams. With some of the finest names in basketball having graced the American Airlines Arena, such as Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal, it’s hardly surprising that Heat have gathered such an immense following.
18. Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham’s Champions League final defeat last season proves just how far the Lilywhites have come. Despite the obvious heartbreak of missing out on Europe’s elite prize, the fact that Spurs even made it that far is a miracle – especially considering the mediocrity they endured during the 2000’s.
As a result, the club’s popularity has unquestionably risen in recent years, with the likes of Harry Kane, Gareth Bale and Son Heung-Min endearing the north London club to millions of new supporters across the planet.
Now in turbulent times under Jose Mourinho, the Tottenham faithful will be hoping they can return to fighting for the continent’s most prestigious titles.
17. Chicago Bulls
The Bulls have to take enormous credit for building basketball’s profile outside of North America, with their 1990’s dynasty attracting attention from across the world. Led by the one and only Michael Jordan, the Bulls won all six of their NBA titles between 1991-1998.
The Nerazzurri have always been a colossal force in world football, with the Italian outfit the only club to have never been relegated from Italy’s top-flight. The Milan side have won 18 Serie A titles, most recently in 2010, as well as five Coppa Italias and three Champions League and UEFA Cup trophies each.
One of the most prestigious clubs in Europe, Antonio Conte is leading the Nerazzurri’s return to true greatness, and the club is gaining even greater momentum, and popularity, as time goes by.
15. Atletico Madrid
Spain’s third biggest club has earned over a quarter of a 100m followers on social media, with their recent successes under Diego Simeone helping their popularity soar worldwide. The
14. Borussia Dortmund
Germany’s second biggest club is one of Europe’s most loved. More recently popularised by the barnstorming successes under Jurgen Klopp, BVB have elevated their status and power on a global scale.
Signal Iduna Park has overseen the development of many world-class exploits such as Robert Lewandowski, Marco Reus and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as well as more recent stars like Jadon Sancho and Ousmane Dembele, making them one of the world’s most nurturing and exciting clubs.
13. Golden State Warriors
The Dubs have only won fewer NBA championships than the LA Lakers and Celtics, and are the seventh most valuable American sports franchise at present.
Having not won a championship since ’75, Stephen Curry’s Warriors have won three titles since 2015.
Despite having fallen on hard times in recent years, Milan remain one of Italy’s greatest football clubs. Not only have the Rossoneri won a staggering 18 Serie A titles, they are also the most successful Italian side in the history of the Champions League, winning the prestigious trophy seven times.
As a result of their unbelievable history, Milan still have one of the largest fan bases in European football. And the re-signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic will have undoubtedly helped their social media popularity.
11. Los Angeles Lakers
The LA Lakers are the most followed basketball team on social media, and have consistently been one of the game’s greatest sides on the court as well. With icons such as the late Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James donning the Lakers jersey, it’s unsurprising that their popularity continues to rise almost exponentially.
10. Manchester City
Proving than money can buy happiness, Man City make quite a significant jump in our list. Over 20m more followers than the Lakers, the Sky Blues’ popularity has gone through the roof since financial investment allowed the club to achieve remarkable feats in the Premier League.
The Citizens have lifted the trophy four times, and set countless records under Pep Guardiola, while also assembling one of the most sensational English top-flight sides ever seen.
It may be hard to believe these days, but Arsenal were one of the best Premier League teams ever. Honestly.
Under the revolutionary Arsene Wenger, the Gunners won three league titles, including going unbeaten throughout the entire of the 2003/04 league campaign. With the likes of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira making their names at the old Highbury, Arsenal became a superpower of world football.
While the north London club have had a mighty fall from grace recently, their history and fundamental philosophy still makes them one of England’s most supported football clubs.
Similarly to Arsenal, the Reds endured a torrid run of form (by their high standards) in the dawn of the Premier League. Unable to match their unfaltering dominance in the 70’s & 80’s, Liverpool’s slow descent was a painful one for many on Merseyside, and beyond.
But under Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool have found a new lease of life. Challenging for a first league title in 30 years, and having lifted the Champions League trophy in 2019, the Reds have restored their place amongst Europe’s elite.
After all, they are the world’s best team.
7. Bayern Munich
Germany’s greatest football force is truly unstoppable. Bayern have won a stunning 29 Bundesliga titles, as well as 19 DFB-Pokal trophies – both comfortable records held by the current champions. Therefore it’s hardly shocking to discover they are Germany’s most followed club.
Not only have they been successful in Germany, but Bayern have conquered Europe as well, claiming the Champions League trophy on five separate occasions.
It’s difficult to envisage that any club will ever own a more coveted trophy cabinet in Germany.
6. Paris Saint-Germain
Paris Saint-Germain are perhaps the definition of a ‘social media’ football club. With superstars aplenty, including the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, the French side have truly become one of the gargantuan forces of European football.
As further proof that money can buy you happiness, the Parisians have endured a mighty rise in their popularity since rather sizeable investments in 2011 – evident in their whopping 74.69m followers.
The Blues are well underway in their youthful revolution under Frank Lampard, but the London club have hit loftier heights in times gone by.
Chelsea have won six Premier League titles – the second most of any team – and won the FA Cup eight times, while also lifting the Champions League back in 2012.
With some of football’s hall of fame candidates having enjoyed spells at Stamford Bridge, such as Eden Hazard, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba, the Blues have been one of the greatest teams to watch in recent history – thus earning them a huge following online.
Juventus’ dominance in the 21st century has been almost unrivalled. The Old Lady has won eight straight Scudetti, and looks set to win a ninth come May this year. Despite having failed to win the Champions League since 1996, Juve have always been considered one of Europe’s best footballing sides.
However, as a slight caveat to that, their star striker Cristiano Ronaldo has over double their following all by himself…
3. Manchester United
Despite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer having driven the Red Devils off a cliff, the Manchester club still remain the most followed British team on social media.
A record 13 Premier League titles under their belt, as well as three Champions League trophies and 12 FA Cups, means they are still the most supported team in England, with fans in every corner of the world.
It surely won’t be too long until the Red Devils are slogging it with Europe’s best again. Surely?
Just missing out on top spot is Barcelona. The Catalan side have long been arguably the greatest club to have ever existed in world football, and boast remarkable success season after season.
Owning the world’s best player (again, arguably) in Lionel Messi sure does help you, and your social media following, but the Spanish giants have had wave after wave of the finest footballers the planet has to offer.
From Messi to Ronaldinho, from Johan Cruyff to Ronaldo Nazario, and from Luis Suarez to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Barca have always possessed some of the greatest names of any generation.
1. Real Madrid
Just pipping their bitter rivals to the post, Real Madrid are the most popular sports franchise on social media. With just under a quarter of a billion followers, Los Blancos are well worthy of their place at the social media summit.
Similarly to their Spanish rivals Barca, Madrid is a club steeped in history and success, from their record 13 Champions League titles, to their 33 La Liga crowns. The Santiago Bernabeu has marvelled at some of the best footballers the game has to offer since Real were founded in 1902, and those online certainly want a piece of the action as well.