The Premier League has been named as the number one European football organisation online in China for the first time, according to Mailman’s annual Red Card report.
The 2019 Red Card Report, now in its eighth year of publication, ranks the most influential European football league, club and player online in China.
The independent report is produced by China’s leading sports digital marketing agency, with the headline awards assessed by Mailman’s traditional metrics.
Using data collected throughout the 2018 calendar year, European clubs, leagues and players were assessed across eight different performance indicators to determine a level of influence.
Performance indicators included, Weibo Followers, Engagement and Follower Growth, WeChat Reads, Douyin Total Followers, Toutiao Total Followers, E-Commerce and Apps.
Contributing to its winning year, the Premier League were the first European league to launch an official Chinese App.
Among further achievements in the region, the Premier League signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Chinese FA on youth development and promotion of both leagues.
The Premier League also led the way in launching on content platforms Douyin and Toutiao, with the highest engagement and total followers and it received higher WeChat reads than all the other European leagues combined.
Audio rights for the English top flight were also made available through a deal between broadcasters talkSport and Ecosports, the Chinese media company.
Richard Masters, Premier League Interim Chief Executive, said, “Our digital strategy for China supports our live events and the work of our broadcast partners to create even more ways to engage with fans.
“We look forward to continuing to develop our digital presence and bringing the Premier League closer to the millions of supporters in China.
Masters added: “The Premier League is committed to delivering more and better localised content in Mandarin, which is demonstrated by the recent launch of our official Chinese app and introduction of a local editorial team.”
Joining the English top flight as a digital award winner, Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo secured the accolade for Best Player online in China.
Amongst over 70 European teams ranked, the Premier League had one team within the top five clubs, with Manchester United in third spot, behind FC Bayern München and top performer Real Madrid.
Five additional China Digital Football Awards were judged by a specifically selected panel of industry experts, which allowed the report to “recognise outstanding performance in a greater range of metrics.”
Among those recognised as Digital Award winners were, Arsenal FC for Digital Campaign, FIFA for Sponsor Activation, Juventus for Innovation, FC Bayern Munchen for O2O Activation and Copa90 picked up an award for China Original Content.
Andrew Collins, Mailman CEO, added: “As more teams expand operations in China, the rise of local content has developed to grow fans and support branded content.”
The report covered a year which saw Mailman join forces with UK-based digital marketing consultancy Seven League.
The Chinese digital sports marketing giant made a significant investment which aims to give both sets of partners and clients a global platform to broaden reach, build new fans and generate new revenues.
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