The survey conducted on behalf of the club said they have an estimated 659 million followers worldwide — nearly a 10th of the 7billion global population.
Their nearest rivals are Barcelona but United enjoy twice the support in Asia, seen as the key market for the future, as the Catalan giants according to the survey.
Market research firm Kantar gathered responses from 54,000 people across 39 countries online and face to face, and asked interviewees which “team or teams they followed” — more than one club could be named.
Richard Arnold, the club’s commercial director, said the depth of support had helped United’s commercial income soar — it has risen by at least 10 per cent every year since 2007. “Our family of followers has doubled in five years and across the world this represents a very important asset for the club,” said Arnold.
He added that 88 per cent of United’s support was in emerging markets, including 108million in China, 55million in Indonesia, 35million in India & 26million in Vietnam.
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