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YouGov Sport: FootballIndex ranking in Italy, USA and China

The Serie A football championship has not been as competitive as the current season in years, but professional football is not just about results on the pitch.

Clubs are now more attentive than ever to their brand image, inside and outside national borders. YouGov FootballIndex, a unique tool in the market research industry, helps us monitor some of the most important branding aspects of a football team.

YouGov FootballIndex tracks public perception of the world’s leading clubs/teams, across multiple markets – daily. In this piece, we rank clubs as per their Index score. The Index score is an average of scores based on a variety of key consumer perception metrics – Relatability with players and coaches of a team, club management, fan culture, club tradition, attractiveness of the team’s playing style and the perception of a club’s success.

In Italy, AC Milan ranks first. The second place goes to Inter Milan, which has strengthened its brand perception compared to the 2020-21 season. Juventus FC takes the third spot in spite of a significant decline in its Index score. SSC Napoli has made gains and settles fifth among the Italians fans, immediately after Real Madrid CF. AS Roma ranks fifth among the Italian clubs and eighth overall.

In the USA and China, the table toppers in the La Liga and Ligue 1 – Real Madrid and Paris-Saint Germain along with the Champions League finalists (Chelsea and Manchester City), have left their mark. Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, and PSG made significant improvements both in the US and in China. FC Barcelona also strengthened its position in the States, despite the farewell of “la pulga”.

As for the big Italian clubs in the USA market, current Serie A leaders, AC Milan and Inter Milan, lead the way. Juventus FC witnesses a year-on-year decline in Index score, while AS Roma’s brand perception remains stable.

In China, AC Milan and Inter Milan feature a lot higher in the overall list, with only Real and Barça ahead of them. Juventus FC settles at eighth in China’s ranking with no significant change in their brand image perception.

Let us now take a more granular look at the specific metrics that are influencing the overall Index score of the top three Italian clubs’ in each of the three markets.

Tradition, an asset common to Milan, Inter and Juve, is a particularly favourable metric in Italy. The ‘Current Success’ indicator suggests that Italians are well are sensitive to the recent results on the field. AC Milan noticeably outshines the other two clubs under the ‘Club Management’ indicator.

In the USA, AC Milan’s advantage over rivals is mainly due to ‘Fan Culture’ and a more favourable perception of the club’s ‘Tradition’. The Chinese, on the other hand, tend to appreciate AC Milan more across all metrics. However, a good perception of the team’s relatibility (“Players and Coaches” indicator) and of club management (Club Management) stands out in particular.

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