Due to the incredible amount of worldwide television coverage, the vast majority of the best supported soccer teams reside in Europe. The likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United all claim to have in excess of 300 million worldwide supporters, a figure that would be difficult for any team outside of Europe to match, and would take some time and a serious world soccer power-shift for anyone to do so.
Supporters and fanbases are rarely created over night, and boil down to a number of things. A highly-populous catchment area in a region with a passion for the support is obviously key, as is success, soccer teams tend to garner far greater levels of support after a prolonged or sustained period of success, one need only look at a club like Chelsea, whose support outside of London would have been a fraction of what it is today before Roman Abromovic's millions and their highly successful last decade.
South America is generally considered as the only powerhouse continent outside of Europe, and it is no surprise too see a number of clubs from the region make this list. There is also the presence of some emerging soccer nations on the list, such as India, China, and arguably the U.S. Worldwide fanbases can be tricky to measure; one ought to take into account things like attendances, social media presence and engagement, shirt sales, and a number of other factors in order to have an accurate gauge. Here are the top 15 best supported soccer teams outside of Europe:
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15 Zamalek SC
Egyptian soccer has been in a state of crisis since the Port Said Stadium riot which took place in 2012, killing at least 72 people and leaving a further 500 badly hurt. The Egyptian league was shut down for two years, inevitably unsettling the game in the country. It may take some time for soccer in Egypt to fully recover, but prior to the incident, Zamalek SC were one of the best supported teams in Egypt, and indeed, in Africa. Playing their home games at the 74,100 capacity Cairo International Stadium, Zamalek regularly filled the majority of the ground prior to the disaster in 2012, and certainly have the potential to do so again in the coming years, as the team continues its on-field success.
14 Raja Casablanca
The best supported soccer team in Morocco, Raja Casablanca play their home games at Stade Mohamed V, which is also the home of the country's national team. With a current capacity of 67,000, Casablanca do not always fill the stadium these days, but still create a superb atmosphere. Raja Casablanca fans were recently voted the third best ultras in world soccer, and their large fanbase are a particularly passionate group.
The second most popular soccer team in Brazil, and the most popular outside of Rio. Corinthians have 15 million supporters in Sao Paulo alone, and a further 10 million in the rest of Brazil. A domestic total of 25 million supporters only really tells half the story, as Corinthians are also considered the best supported Brazilian team outside of Brazil, with large support particularly in Europe and other areas of South America.
12 Al Ittihad
The best supported club in Saudi Arabia, Al Ittihad are known as the club of the people, and have also gained large numbers of support in Japan, South Korea, Australia, Arab League and Africa. One of the region's greatest clubs, Al Ittihad are also the oldest club in Saudi Arabia and have won a total of 47 league and cup championships. They play their home games at the 62,000 capacity King Abdullah Sports City Stadium, and have an average attendance of 42,734, the sixth highest average outside of Europe.
11 Guangzhou Evergrande
At the top of China's attendance figures, Guangzhou average 42,154 supporters at home games, and their support in the world's most populous nation continues to rise. One of the country's big spenders in recent years, former World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro is their manager and have the likes of Brazilian forward Elkeson and fellow Brazilian and record $20 million signing Ricardo Goulart in their squad. Guangzhou have been involved in a match fixing scandal which saw them relegated only a few years ago, but bounced back winning an AFC Champions League in 2013.
10 Kerala Blasters
In its first ever season, the Indian Super League was a huge success story. Despite only being only an eight-team league and as such, very few games, the ISL immediately became the fourth most watched (in person) league in the world, overtaking historically great leagues such as the Serie A. Both the Kerala Blasters and Atletico de Kolkata enjoyed huge support, but it was Kerala who edged it, with an average attendance of 49,111, the second highest outside of Europe, and greater than the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and PSG.
With over 40 million supporters in Brazil alone, Flamengo are the most popular club in the great soccer nation of Brazil. Whilst support is more evenly spread in Brazil than a number of other countries featured on this list, due to the fact that there are a number of historic and successful clubs, Flamengo still reign supreme. With supporter groups in Europe, the Middle East, Japan, China, the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Africa, it is probably safe to assume that Flamego have at least 50 million supporters worldwide. Flamengo are one of four Rio-based top flight clubs, and therefore face stern competition for fans, but appear to be having no trouble in garnering huge support. They play most of their games at the national stadium, the 78,883 capacity Maracana.
8 Seattle Sounders
MLS attendances have been steady yet not spectacular since the league formed in 1996, but one club has experienced support on a whole different scale to that of their peers, and that is the Seattle Sounders. The Sounders have the highest attendances in the MLS by some distance, averaging 43,743 fans a game, although Orlando City and New York City may be hoping to run them close in the not too distant future. They play their home games at the colossal CenturyLink Field Stadium, and are currently the only MLS team who could play at an NFL stadium without there being more empty seats than occupied ones.
7 Beijing Guoan FC
In a country of 1.35 billion and a capital city of 11.5 million, one would expect Beijing Guoan to rack up a decent amount of support. Soccer is still an emerging support in China although its popularity is already considerable, if the number of people who watched Premier League games in the country started watching local games, the attendances would skyrocket. Beijing Guoan average just under 40,000, although they have not been particularly successful in recent years, and although they have respectable levels of support, there is certainly room for improvement.
6 River Plate
One of the world's great soccer teams, River Plate's contribution to the game is enormous. With an average attendance of 54,000, River Plate have the highest attendances in the world outside of Europe, and would come eighth behind only Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Schalke and Arsenal, if you were to look at attendances over the whole world. Along with Boca Juniors, River are the most successful team in Argentina and despite their first ever relegation just a few years back, the team have bounced back.
5 Urawa Red Diamonds
Japan's best supported soccer team, Urawa Red Diamonds are one of the real success stories of Japan and South Korea's joint hosting of the 2002 World Cup. The magnificent Saitama Stadium was built for the competition and has since become the Red Diamonds' home and their support has flourished ever since. Urawa Red Diamonds have had the highest average attendance in the J-League for 14 of the last 20 seasons and have also drawn support from other areas of Asia.
4 Persepolis FC
Iran is not known for its illustrious soccer history, but the country certainly has a huge passion for the sport and the country's national team is one of the fastest improving teams in the world. Persepolis FC are the countries best supported club, by some distance, and also the best supported team in Asia, again, by some distance. Outside of Asia, Persepolis are not particularly well-known and they have experienced very little on the pitch due to horrific management off it, but they are a true Asian powerhouse with incredible support. In their three Asian Champions League Games, over 250,000 people watched the team. They play in the 95,000 capacity Azadi Stadium and it is not unusual for the club to fill it.
3 Boca Juniors
One of the world's great soccer institutions, so many superstars of the sport have spent some time with the Boca Juniors. Argentina's most successful and best supported club, narrowly ahead of River Plate on both accounts, Boca have won 63 titles in their history and are recognized by FIFA as the joint second most successful team in the world. Boca have huge support both inside and outside Argentina, and average over 41,000 at home games.
Having won 130 official trophies, Al-Ahly are recognized by FIFA as the most successful soccer team in the world. Their enormous success, twinned with the fact that they're based in a city of almost 8 million people and a country of over 80 million, has made Al-Ahly one of the best supported clubs in world soccer. Their support in the entire continent of Africa is considerable, and the club is estimated to have in excess of 50 million supporters. Like Zamalek and all Egyptian clubs, Al-Ahly have been shocked and stalled by the Port Said disaster, but their support is unwavering.
1 Club America
Club America are estimated to have almost half of the population of Mexico supporting them, giving them a domestic support in excess of 50 million. Reports also suggest that Club America are the third most popular soccer team in Asia, giving them vast domestic and foreign support. Mexico's most successful club, America play their home games at the historic 104,000 capacity Azteca Stadium. As well as being by far the best supported club in Mexico, they are also by far the most hated club in the country, with almost all those who do not support them harboring considerable dislike for the club.
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