When Chelsea FC was purchased by Russian billionaire, Roman Abramovich, in 2003, the club had seen limited success in both domestic and international competitions. Now 16 years after his purchase, it is safe to say that Abramovich’s tenure as Chelsea owner has been bountiful. Chelsea has since won 5 of their 6 English football championships and their sole Champions League title. After purchasing the club for 140 million Euros (approximately $160 million as of February 2019) and injecting over $1 billion since, the team has grown into the seventh most valuable soccer club in the world, worth an estimated $2 billion (according to Forbes).
The new era of Chelsea football has been kind to the fans. After seeing relatively stagnant cup play since the club’s inception in 1905, fans have been able to see enough success in the past 15 years to last a lifetime. Because of this success, Chelsea has been able to take full advantage of the large London market. Chelsea is here to stay, and the Chelsea football renaissance has earned them the #7 spot in FanWide’s European soccer club rankings.
The European soccer scene is unique in that it consists of 5 different comparable leagues. Unlike sports like football and basketball in the USA, which have teams that have competed against each other for years, some European soccer teams might face each other once every five to ten years. Naturally, ranking these teams is a challenge. FanWide’s goal in ranking the top ten European soccer teams was to use metrics that acknowledge the fact that not all teams get a chance to play each other. By using metrics like FanWide’s fan data, the focus in our rankings was split between on and off-field success. As a result, our top ten ranking consists of the most prominent, internationally significant European soccer clubs, accounting for but not solely relying on titles and wins. In the coming weeks, FanWide will be rolling out the top ten, building up to the reveal of the #1 soccer club in Europe. Check out this blog, for a breakdown of the metrics.
European Soccer Top 10:
8. Juventus FC
7. Chelsea FC
Chelsea FC Ranked:
|Fan Clubs (FanWide)||44||5|
|Champions League Wins (all time)||1||8 (tie)|
|UEFA Player of the Year Top Ten Finalists (since 2014)||2||6 (tie)|
|Attendance (Average 2018)||40,500||14|
|Forbes Value (in billions)||2.01||7|
|Total Social Media Followers (in millions)||74.5||4|
|Domestic League Titles (all time)||6||11|
|Domestic League Titles (since 2009)||3||5 (tie)|
Fan Clubs (according to FanWide): 44 (5th)
Chelsea currently has an impressive 44 listed fan clubs in FanWide’s fan club network. This figure ranks 5th among European soccer clubs ranked. Chelsea has grown into a globally prominent soccer club, and their 44 fan clubs indicate that they have acquired devoted fan bases across the world. If you are a Chelsea fan who wants to set up a local fan club in your city, let us know!
All-Time Champions League Wins: 1 (8th-tie)
Chelsea won their first and only Champions League title when they beat Bayern Munich in the 2012 final. Since then, Chelsea has not seen significant success in the Champions League, failing to qualify twice in the past three years. Missing out on the Champions League can take a toll on fan engagement, but the excitement from Chelsea’s 2012 title has kept fans involved to this point. For a team like Chelsea, failing to qualify for the Champions League is unexpected and disappointing, but don’t expect them to stay out for long.
UEFA Player of the Year Top Ten Finalists (since 2014): 2 (6th- tie)
Since 2014, Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard has found himself as one of 10 UEFA Player of the Year finalists twice. Hazard, the captain of the Belgium national team, has been a key piece for Chelsea’s offense since his arrival in 2012. The star power that Hazard has brought to Chelsea is much needed and has attracted fans from all over the world (especially Belgium). Now, Chelsea fans are worried that Hazard (who is rumored to be one of Real Madrid’s top transfer targets) might move on. Hazard wants to play in the Champions League, and Chelsea will have to secure their spot in the competition for next year if they want to keep their star player.
Attendance (Average 2018): 40,500 (14th)
Chelsea has played in the same arena, Stamford Bridge, since they were founded by Gus Mears, who had recently acquired the stadium in 1905. The iconic arena has been host to various sporting events, including an MLB baseball game, greyhound racing, and a few games from the experimental NFL Europe league. The stadium originally held around 100,000 seats, but after renovations and rebuilds, its current capacity is approximately 41,000. The somewhat limiting capacity has kept Chelsea’s rank low in this metric. Chelsea fills the seats with ease, and they plan to expand the capacity to 63,000 by the 2023-2024 season. During the expansion, Chelsea plans to play home matches at Wembley Stadium (Tottenham Hotspur’s current temporary home) which seats about 86,000 for soccer games. Time will tell if Chelsea’s ticket sales will keep up with their expanding capacity, but a bigger stadium will certainly help Chelsea gain popularity and allow more fans to fall in love with the team in person.
Team Value: 2.01 B (7th)
According to Forbes, Chelsea is worth 2.01 billion USD, making them the seventh most valuable soccer club in the world. Roman Abramovich’s investments have paid off, and Chelsea’s valuation has increased exponentially since the 2003 purchase. The valuation considers match day revenue, broadcasting deals, merchandise sales, and outstanding debts.
Aggregate Social Media Followers: 74.5 million (4th)
FanWide accounted for Chelsea’s 14.5 million Instagram followers, 12.5 million Twitter followers, and 47 million Facebook likes in this ranking (as of February 2019). Chelsea has the fourth most aggregate social media followers among soccer clubs in the world. Their significance in pop culture is among the elite in European soccer. Their aggregate social media following is a testament to their recent success and international fandom.
Domestic League Titles (Averaging All Time + Recent Win Rankings): 8th
Chelsea has won 3 English football titles in the past ten years and 6 in the club’s history. Chelsea’s recent success in the EPL has allowed them to grow in every aspect- from fan popularity to broadcasting deals and matchday revenue, Chelsea is now an established EPL contender. Unfortunately for Chelsea fans, they will not win the EPL this year, but going into next season, they can’t be counted out. Chelsea hopes to get back on the right track and bring their fan base to an even higher level with a new opportunity to win a trophy each year.
Chelsea currently sits at #7 in FanWide’s European soccer club rankings. No matter where you live or travel, you can find Chelsea fan clubs and watch parties near you through FanWide, the world’s largest fan club network.
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