Over the years, Syracuse has built one of the most consistently successful college basketball programs in the nation. The Jim Boeheim era has been particularly fruitful. Ten years after the former Orange guard graduated from Syracuse, he was named the head coach of their basketball program. That day in 1976 was a turning point for the program. 946 wins later, Syracuse is an established college basketball powerhouse. Their success on the court has translated to popularity off of it. Because of their prestige, they are often able to land top high school recruits and consistently produce NBA talent. From their consistent victories on the court to their record-breaking arena, Syracuse basketball is a blue-blood program. The team’s impressive resumeé has earned them the #6 spot in FanWide’s Top 10 College Basketball Team Rankings!
FanWide’s #7 NCAA Basketball team is the Villanova Wildcats. Villanova has won two of the last four National Championships. Coach Jay Wright has elevated Nova Basketball to a new level. Their consistent regular season success has made them increasingly interesting to watch for current fans, and their postseason glory has brought in a wave of new ones. Villanova’s tournament play has become must-see TV. Legendary moments like Kris Jenkins’ National Championship winning buzzer beater in 2016 and Donte DiVincenzo’s 2018 National Championship 31 point eruption have contributed to a new generation of Villanova fans. Their exciting play and consistent success has made them one of the most prominent programs in the nation and landed them a spot in FanWide’s Top 10.
More colleges participate in men’s basketball than any other sport. Because of this, with more than 1,000 men’s basketball teams currently competing in the NCAA, college basketball is one of the most competitive sports at any level. Still, among these 1,000+ teams lie a handful of programs that always seem to perform at a level above the rest. In college basketball, continued success is partially reliant on consistently landing talented high school players. As a result, team popularity and fan engagement are closely related to victories on the court. Nevertheless, there are always some teams which remain popular, no matter how well their season is going. FanWide is using its own fan engagement data alongside traditional measures of success to quantify program popularity. Read below to get an inside look at how FanWide is cultivating a top ten list that uses its proprietary fan data to rank teams based on more than just production on the field.
Top 10 (Check back here periodically to see the updated list)
Real Madrid is the top team in FanWide’s European soccer rankings. From their 33 domestic league titles to 207 million aggregate social media followers to 13 Champions League titles and beyond- Real Madrid’s numbers speak for themselves. Few teams have the ammunition to form meaningful rivalries with Real Madrid. Barcelona, FanWide’s #3 team, is one of those teams. Games played between Real Madrid and Barcelona, nicknamed “El Clásico,” are consistently some of the most viewed sporting events in the world. While Barcelona currently leads the all-time rivalry (the overall record is 115-99-61), games between the two giants in La Liga are much closer. The all-time El Clásico record in La Liga games is 72-72-34. The rivalry goes beyond soccer- Real Madrid is said to represent Spanish pride while Barcelona is said to represent Catalonian pride. Cristiano Ronaldo, who is tied as the second leading all-time El Clásico goal scorer with Alfredo di Stefano (behind Lionel Messi), was a major part of the rivalry. Now that Ronaldo has moved to Juventus, it will be interesting to see how the rivalry sways. Ballon d’Or winner Luca Modric will have to continue stepping up big for Real Madrid for reasons that go beyond just their rivalry with Barcelona. Real Madrid has begun a new era. Time will tell if Real Madrid flourishes post-Ronaldo, but if history repeats itself, they’ll do just fine. There’s a reason Real Madrid is FanWide’s #1 European soccer team.
With 28 domestic titles, Bayern Munich is the most decorated football club in Germany. While there are contenders every year, there is no match for Bayern Munich in their home country. They compete in the Bundesliga, Germany’s first division league, and in this league, they have won 4 times as many titles as the second most decorated club, 1. FC Nürnberg. Both of these clubs are located in Bavaria, the largest state in Germany. Currently, the team that most challenges Bayern Munich is Borussia Dortmund which is located in a different German state- North Rhine-Westphalia. The geographic and cultural differences between the homes of the current top Bundesliga competitors heightens an already natural rivalry. Each Bundesliga title is more than a trophy- teams compete for the pride of their hometown, and currently, citizens of Bavaria have the right to feel pretty proud. While their success on the international stage does not quite match their success within Germany (nobody’s does), they are not far off. Bayern Munich is consistently one of the most feared football clubs in the world, having won the Champions League 5 times. The club ranks within the top 5 across each and every one of FanWide’s ranking metrics. From fan attendance to team value to star power and beyond-it is hard to find a weakness in Bayern Munich’s resumé. Bayern Munich is the runner up in FanWide’s European soccer team rankings, coming in at #2.
Since its inception, La Liga has been dominated by two football clubs: Barcelona and Real Madrid. Lionel Messi’s brilliance has kept Barcelona relevant for years, but he doesn’t do it alone. Aside from a star-studded supporting cast, Barcelona boasts one of the largest fan bases in the world, across all sports. While F.C Barcelona’s claim to have 1 billion fans might be inflated (generally attributed to double counting fans on social media, visits to their website, etc.), they are not far off. A history of elite talent has lead to perennial Spanish football dominance, but where do they stand on the global stage? FanWide has collected data that measures both popularity and on-field success. The result? Barcelona ranks #3 among European soccer teams.
With 20 English football titles, Manchester United is the most decorated football club in England. Their history as an English football powerhouse is undeniable. Because of this reputation, Manchester United has attracted some of the most talented English footballers. English players like Wayne Rooney, Bobby Charlton, and David Beckham have all called Manchester United their home at some point. With better players comes more wins, a cycle of success that has worked in Manchester United’s favor over the years. The club’s tradition of success has given them one of the largest fan bases in the world. Each year, United is always in the mix for a title. Their prominence in English football and beyond has earned them the #4 spot in FanWide’s European soccer rankings.
It is not a bad time to be a fan of Liverpool Football Club. The team is currently in second place in the English Premier League, and they aren’t too far behind in the Champion’s League race. Young phenom Mohamed Salah is driving the team’s success as of late, but if you know Liverpool, you know that the team is much more than one player and much more than one year. Liverpool’s success has transcended eras, gaining them the reputation of one of the elite football clubs in the world. Alongside their deep trophy case lies an impressive social portfolio; in short, Liverpool is successful on and off the field- successful enough to land them the #5 spot in FanWide’s European soccer rankings.
Arsenal is currently in a scorching hot Champions League qualification race. Each year, the top four teams in the English Premier League earn themselves a ticket to the Champions League. Arsenal will continue to battle with Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, and Chelsea for the third and fourth spot- the top two spots are currently occupied by Manchester City and Liverpool, who have all but secured entry. Arsenal is no stranger to the Champions League- they have failed to qualify just twice since 1998. Unfortunately, they have never been able to capture the elusive Champions League trophy. Even without this hardware, Arsenal has been a staple in English football since they were founded in 1886. In fact, in 1891, they became the first London football team to turn pro. Today, London (the largest city in England and 24th largest city in the world) is a hub for soccer; Arsenal is one of six EPL teams to call London their home (along with Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Crystal Palace, Fulham, and West Ham United). Arsenal consistently performs among the top teams in the EPL, and the “Gunners” have grown out of their original home- The Royal Arsenal- and into the third largest stadium in England. Arsenal’s rich history has played a key role in their success. Their prominence on and off the field has earned them the #6 spot in FanWide’s European soccer team rankings.
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.