Arsenal might not even be the most popular football club in their hometown of London, but they’re now regarded as the most popular in China. This isn’t bad considering China is the most populous nation on the planet. The bad news in this story will be felt by Man United, who were the most popular club in the Asian nation until now.
The new information comes courtesy of a recent online survey in China. Arsenal won the popularity contest with United coming in second and Italian Serie A club AC Milan ranking third. Spanish giants Real Madrid were fourth and then Barcelona fifth.
When it comes to national teams, Germany was voted the most popular followed by Italy and Spain. However, the English Premier League won hands down for the most popular national league on the globe. The Premier League was named on 50 per cent of the ballots while the Spanish La Liga was second and the Italian Serie A was third.
The survey was taken by the Center for the International Business of Sport at Coventry University. The Chinese fans were eligible to vote from September to November of last year, but Gunners fans might not want to celebrate too much since it was reported that just 15.5 thousand fans voted.
One of the researchers said, “Fans are more likely to support a club team when players from their favorite national squad regularly make the starting line-up. This means players like Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski, both German international players and players for Arsenal, are likely to fulfill an important commercial and marketing role for club, country and league.”
Arsenal played in China back in 1995 and again in 2011. Now
many Premier League clubs tour in Asia during the pre-season, but China has its own league
now and is doing quite well at attracting fans. It’s promoting homegrown talent
as each club can sign just five international players.