The English have over 650 million fans worldwide, AC Milan is the top Italian club with 95 million. Sport is a vehicle of emotions and this aspect is one of the keys to sponsorship in the 21st century.

Six hundred and fifty million fans in the world: based on the survey conducted by the Zeelo portal, Manchester United, an English team playing in the Premier League, is the most supported team on the planet, despite recent sporting results that are not top-notch: the ‘Red Devils’, in fact, have not won the Premier League for 10 years, and the last international success was the Europa League won with Jose Mourinho in 2017. In short, compared to the ‘Treble’ (winning the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Champions League) conquered by City’s cousins at the end of the season that has just ended, we are light years away… But the supremacy of the most supported team in the world remains, and it was built in the second half of the 1990s (a historical moment in which the concept of globalisation was reaching its peak) when the team was winning in Europe, was coached by a master like Sir Alex Ferguson and had a world-famous star like David Beckham in its roster. And the numbers grew further in the first decade of the 2000s when Cristiano Ronaldo arrived at Old Trafford.


Behind United (in the special ranking of the most supported teams in the world), there is Barcelona, with an estimated fanbase of 450 million, which wins the Spanish derby against Real Madrid, third at 350 million. Between fourth and seventh place, we find four English teams, demonstrating how the Premier League has an intercontinental impact (Chelsea (145 mln), Arsenal (125 mln), Manchester City (110 mln) and Liverpool (100 mln)), before we see the first Italian: it is Milan, with 95 million fans, and in the ‘Top 15’ we also find Inter, Juventus and Roma, respectively with 55, 27 and 22 million followers.

Football, for these millions of fans, is not just a sport. Starting from the inestimable social value that football – as well as sport in its entirety – is capable of transmitting, it is easy to understand why companies show a strong desire to link their brand to sports. Health, well-being, socialisation, cohesion, identity, fun, inclusion and integration, but not only. Clubs and their performers are, by nature, able to establish a strong emotional bond with their fans. It is for this reason that world-renowned brands, as well as smaller companies, increasingly tend to seek association with such realities. At a time when consumers mirror the values of the brands and products they buy, establishing a consistent and lasting bond with clubs and events of this type can enhance a company’s reputation and trust.

Many clubs perceive the importance of proposing ’emotional’ opportunities to their supporters (be they partner companies or fans) that can act as a forerunner to eventual sponsorship agreements, starting with an experience that is perceived and experienced as unique and exclusive.

Clubs are therefore inclined to include these experiences in their sponsorship packages, and this is also what happens at A recent example is related to what Virtus Segafredo Bologna, the finalist team of the A Series basketball championship, proposed: during the Playoffs that led to the Scudetto Final, the ‘Vu Nere’ proposed sponsorship offers (purchasable exclusively on ChainOn) that included, among other things, visibility of the company brand but also the opportunity to experience the most heartfelt and eagerly awaited matches of the season alongside the protagonists on the court, in an exclusive sector and with access to the hospitality area.

Sport is emotion, everything goes through here.