Manchester United to unveil global social-media network

Manchester United is building its own branded global social network and media outlet, with the aim of targeting its international base of an estimated 350m supporters.

Manchester United: developing its own global social network for fans
Manchester United: developing its own global social network for fans

The Premier League-winning side has appointed SapientNitro as its global digital agency, to handle its digital strategy, digital marketing communications and online experience.

The agency will help to design and build a digital platform that will provide a network for Manchester United fans worldwide, rolling out in stages over the next two years.

The club has identified a target of more than 500m fans, after research agency TNS estimated a potential global audience of 660m with an allegiance to the club. The Manchester United Facebook page has attracted 20m fans in the year since it launched.

The platform will host multimedia content and offer advertising and sponsorship opportunities for brands. It will also sell items such as club merchandise through an ecommerce function.

The aim is to drive engagement with the club’s fans and tap into Asian markets, where Manchester United has a strong following and smartphone use is growing rapidly.

The club will offer fans exclusive content, such as videos featuring star players, and content from TV channel MUTV.

Manchester United won last year’s Premier League title and finished as runner-up in the 2011 Champions League, losing to Barcelona in the final at Wembley.

Both Manchester United and SapientNitro declined to comment.

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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).