Manchester United is a household name, with even most non-football fans having heard of this world-renowned football club. They have become a staple of the English game, with an impressive 66 trophies to their name. This haul includes 12 FA cups, 3 Champions Leagues and a record 20 top-flight championships, 13 of have come in the Premier League era (since 1992).

As part of International Translation Day – and with Cristiano Ronaldo now returning to Old Trafford 12 years – we thought this would be the perfect time to evaluate how Manchester United engages with its global audience.

More than just Manchester

As one of the world’s most successful clubs, Manchester United has its fair share of fans. With over 160,000,000 followers on their social media channels and a projected 1.1 billion fans across the globe, Manchester United has become one of the most popular football clubs in the world.

To engage with an international following as big as Manchester United’s, there are major challenges, especially surrounding connecting with followers in many countries around the globe. To give an example, Manchester United have 262 officially recognised supporters’ clubs, spanning 89 different countries. Premier League games are broadcasted in 188 of the 193 countries recognised by the United Nations.

Beyond the fans

All these factors highlight the need for Manchester United’s content to be translated into many different languages, not just for its fans worldwide, but even for players at the club. Manchester United’s current Premier League squad has 12 different nationalities amongst its 33 registered players, with countries like Uruguay, Tunisia and the Ivory Coast in the mix.

Manchester United’s 6th highest paid player, Edinson Cavani, signed for the club in October 2020 and renewed his contract in May 2021 until June 2022. He struggles with the English language and opts to speak in his native Spanish. In a recent video answering fans questions, he spoke in Spanish and the video was subtitled for viewers. Cavani also uses his teammates to help translate when he is struggling. Paul Pogba and Juan Mata have been seen helping Cavani translate from Spanish to English, so thankfully Cavani’s skills on the pitch can do the real talking.

Going global

Manchester United’s website is also available in multiple languages, catering to their different audiences around the world. Their website is available in English, French, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic.

The company also has multiple global partners and deals with international brand icons such as Adidas (kit manufacturer) Chevrolet (global partner) and DHL (logistics partner) to name a few. The brand also has some more niche partners – some of which are based in Asia. These partners include a company called Mlily, which is the Official Global Mattress and Pillow Partner. Mlily’s factory is located in Jiangsu, China. Another partner is Tokyo-based entertainment company Konami – famous for their eFootball PES (Pro Evolution Soccer) video game. Konami are Manchester United’s Official Gaming Partner.

Manchester United has a substantial fanbase in China, making it one of the most popular European football clubs in the country. In May 2021, the brand opened its first ‘Theatre of Dreams’ experience and entertainment centre near Tian’anmen Square in Beijing. This interactive experience takes fans through Manchester United’s 142-year history, as well as giving them a unique Manchester United footballing gaming experience. This Theatre of Dreams also sells the largest selection of official and exclusive Manchester United merchandise in China, as well as offering authentic British and Chinese dining specialties.

How Albion can get the ball rolling… into the net

Your business might not yet have the brand recognition of Manchester United, but Albion can still help you expand onto the international scene. Albion offers more than just translation. We aim to guide your business through what can be a complicated and fraught process, offering tailored support to help you get a better sense for the culture and behaviour of the market you are entering. To find out more, please contact our experts