The effect of Cristiano Ronaldo on the revenue Manchester United generated last season is more valuable than the 24 goals the Portuguese forward scored for United.
Hence, there were a lot of commercial gains for United that recording their worst season in terms of points gained in the Premier League was insignificant thanks to Ronaldo’s effect on the club’s commercial department.
Despite their struggles on the field, United has seen engagements with its social media content—including shares, likes, and comments—nearly double to more than two billion interactions in only a year.
A major increase in social media activity was heralded by the entrance of CR7, who has 465 million Instagram followers, in August 2021. Experts have given him the credit for the club’s stunning turnaround in its online fortunes.
Ten of the top 25 most-shared posts published by Premier League clubs last season featured Cristiano Ronaldo, and the top three all featured the star striker.
As a result, the Red Devils have overtaken Barcelona and Real Madrid as the most followed club on social media globally in terms of engagement.
Because commercial sponsors examine social media interactions when deciding where and how much to invest, the numbers are crucial. A page with high engagements and active audiences is valued higher than a page with a large number of followers.
United top of the list of total engagements on social media. The Cristiano Ronaldo effect. pic.twitter.com/L2HtjUFd42— Master Wayne (@MWayne007) January 8, 2022
The “Ronaldo impact” is so large, according to financial analysts, that it will likely play a key role in United’s attempts to keep their star player this summer.
After being granted compassionate leave for personal reasons, Ronaldo has requested to depart United and is not with his teammates on the preseason tour to Bangkok, where they defeated Liverpool 4-0 on Tuesday.
The club’s choice to release him will be influenced by his financial value, according to Dr. Rob Wilson, a sports business expert at Sheffield Hallam University.
Paul Pogba’s departure [to rejoin Juventus] didn’t bother United, but there will be more significant discussions regarding Ronaldo behind the scenes. This isn’t simply a game, either.
When it comes to commercial development, “it is signings like him that have kept them at the top table rather than dropping behind, which is what they should have done given their playing performance.”
“Because of this, Manchester United won’t want to sell the player. His value as a business entity is greater than his market value as a player,” he continued.
In a multi-year, £20 million contract, United secured the worldwide technology company DXC as the shirt sleeve sponsor, which, according to Dr. Wilson, is an example of the “Ronaldo effect.”
According to Dr. Wilson, it is the single largest shirt sleeve sponsorship in Premier League history. And this is the sixth-placed team.
Sponsors don’t care about following; what they want is interaction. Cristiano Ronaldo has caused an explosion in engagement.
There is a strong incentive to keep the five-time Ballon d’Or winner in the building because United are still looking to negotiate new agreements with an airline partner after they parted ways with Aeroflot following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and they are looking for sponsorship for their training facility, according to Dr. Wilson.
In addition, it is said that current sponsors are exerting pressure on the Old Trafford leadership to keep the star striker at the club because they have already made significant investments and did so in anticipation of Ronaldo-level exposure for a few more years.
Ronaldo provides some things to United, but he also takes some things away, as both the club’s executives and business partners are well aware.
Juventus experienced a remarkable uptick during the Portuguese striker’s three years in Turin, but it is evident from a new analysis by the streaming and social intelligence company, Conviva, for Sportsmail that they also experienced a severe downturn when he left for Manchester.
With the average number of views per clip nearly tripling to 193,000, CR7 had a particularly strong effect on video. And the overall number of followers increased from 144 million to 170 million.
The squad battled to 16 victories, 57 goals, and just 58 points in the season, which was their lowest performance in nearly 30 years in the Premier League. This makes the accomplishments all the more impressive.
Although Real Madrid and Barcelona each have 281 million and 267 million followers, respectively, they cannot compete with United for engagement in terms of the overall audience. Barcelona had 1.6 billion engagements last season, while Real had 1.4 billion.
In the meantime, Juventus’ social media presence has been negatively impacted by Ronaldo’s departure, which could cost the team money when it comes to the time to negotiate significant business deals.
According to Forbes, Juve’s profits increased by £50 million when the Portuguese star signed with them in 2018 as a result of merchandise sales, stadium attendance, and various collaborations. Renegotiated sponsorship deals with Jeep and Adidas resulted in a twofold increase in funding for the second season.
According to Conviva, the number of interactions per post has decreased by 53%, and the overall number of interactions has decreased by 43% to 28 million, while the overall number of followers has only marginally increased by 5%.