Manchester United are on the same level as religion – when it comes to social media engagement, according to managing director Richard Arnold.
Arnold believes the Red Devils operate on a different level to everyone else in sport and are bigger than major celebrities around the globe.
The level of engagement Arnold has witnessed on United’s social media pages is only akin to major world religions, according to activity on the internet.
Speaking at Web Summit 2016, Arnold said: ‘The level we are engaging at, to put it in context, is akin to religion.
Man Utd on social media
30.4k – Tweets
9.22m – Twitter followers
71.52m – Facebook followers
14.4m – Instagram followers
‘John Lennon was famously quoted as saying The Beatles were “bigger than Jesus”.
‘Whilst we wouldn’t want to be disrespectful in that way, what you are seeing from a measurement point of view is that the level of engagement and fervour we get is on par with the world’s major religions and those are the only things at the same level as Manchester United in terms of that interaction and engagement.’
Arnold has been a key figure in United’s global commercial drive and explained that 80% of televisions around the world carry channels that show United matches making them ‘a really key part of modern popular culture around the world.’
The executive revealed the club have 659 million followers across the globe and said: ‘That’s like two Americas that love the same team.
‘We just had our billionth interaction on Facebook. That’s incredibly valuable because it allows us to gauge what fans like and allows us to adjust our behaviour going forward.
‘We are on a different scale to other clubs in our league. We are also the biggest in the world across any sport and any team.
‘Sport is one of the most engaging things in the world. Within that we are the most engaged.’