Although many sports teams across the globe operate popular YouTube channels to connect with supporters and fans, a notable holdout has been Manchester United — England’s most popular pro soccer club, which was also the most valuable soccer brand in the world last year worth a reported $1.2 billion.
As of today, however, Manchester United has officially jumped into the YouTube fold in a bid to amp up its current digital content distribution strategy across its own pay-TV channel, MUTV, and a Facebook page that counts a staggering 74 million followers. Prior to its channel launch, Manchester United was the only top soccer club globally not to have established its own YouTube presence, The Guardian reports. Officially launched last December, videos began rolling out on the channel today for the hub’s 90,000 subscribers. Check out a teaser below.
“Amazingly, even without an official football channel, it is the most-viewed club in the world on YouTube,” said Tomos Grace, YouTube’s head of sports for EMEA. (Since the start of the season last August, viewership of Manchester United videos are up 60% year-over-year to a total of 850 million). “One channel that people are looking for is the official Manchester United voice. The plans they have are very exciting. They want to go big.”
While the U.K. touts the second-highest consumption of football content on YouTube after the U.S., according to The Guardian, the most-subscribed soccer club currently is FC Barcelona, which formed its channel in 2006 and counts 3.8 million subscribers.
“YouTube will allow us to continue to evolve our demographics, as well as provide us with analytics and insights to feed not only our media and content plans but other cross-club initiatives,” a Manchester United spokeswoman told The Guardian. She added that the content the club will furnish for YouTube won’t overlap with its TV programming or other digital destinations.