At LWOS, we have previously covered which countries have the most registered players. This got us thinking about other aspects of rugby’s popularity. At the very least, it can indicate how and where rugby flourishes. Using social media statistics, this list ranks the world’s most popular rugby clubs. Of course, social media won’t tell the whole story. However, the list does give an indication of club rugby’s biggest brands. A few names may surprise you…
15.Leicester Tigers- 496k Followers
198k FB / 136k Insta /156k Twitter/ 6k Tik Tok Leicester Tigers far exceed their English counterparts such as Saracens and Harlequins.The only Gallagher Premiership club included on the list,
14.Blue Bulls- 531k Followers
254k FB / 87k Insta / 138k Twitter / 52k Tik TokThe South African franchise achieved plenty of success throughout the late 2000s, winning Super Rugby titles in 2007, 2009, and 2010. Their sizeable presence on Tik Tok- a social media platform with a younger average following- is a positive step toward engaging South Africa’s youth.
@blue_bulls_official Every morning looks like this 🩹 #TrueToTheBlue ♬ Buga (Lo Lo Lo) – Kizz Daniel & Tekno
13.Munster- 542k Followers
122k* FB (unofficial) / 155k Insta / 261k Twitter /4k Tik TokThe Irish side is known to have a passionate fanbase. Watch the Red Army in a Heineken Cup home game, and their place in this list won’t surprise you.
12.Bordeaux Bègles- 583k Followers
154k FB / 117k Insta / 268k Twitter / 44k Tik TokThe first of various French clubs on the list, showing the popularity of the Top 14. What’s notable about Bordeaux’s inclusion is that they certainly aren’t bolstered by glory-hunters, having not won a Top 14 title or Heineken Cup for decades.
11.Stade Francais- 601k Followers
187k FB / 92k Insta / 316k Twitter / 6k Tik Tok
Arguably, they could have gained fans from their amazing kits alone, the Parisian club possesses a strong following despite a lack of success in recent years.
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10. Hurricanes- 632k Followers
297k FB / 263k Insta / 70k Twitter / 2k Tik Tok* (unofficial)
Unsurprisingly, New Zealand’s franchises are scattered across this list. The Hurricanes regularly contain exciting All Blacks in their squad, currently including the likes of Ardie Savea, Dane Coles, and Jordie Barrett.
9.Blues- 643k Followers
265k FB / 236k Insta / 80k Twitter / 62k Tik TokThe Blues’ have possessed classic squads throughout the years, including the likes of Carlos Spencer and Joe Rokocoko. The Auckland side currently tops the Super Rugby Pacific table.
8.ASM Clermont Auvergne- 652k Followers
263k FB / 136k Insta / 253k Twitter / N/A Tik Tok
Clermont’s presence on the list seems obvious if you ever see one of their home fixtures on TV. The crowd always generates a boisterous atmosphere at the Stade Marcel Michelin.
7.Leinster- 655k Followers
193k FB / 171k Insta / 277k Twitter / 14k Tik Tok
The URC leaders are clearly the most followed franchise of all the Celtic teams. The Irish side have had incredible success over the last decade, so it’s no wonder why they have such a strong following.
6.Chiefs- 664k Followers
333k FB / 226k Insta / 94k Twitter / 11k Tik Tok
Again illustrating how rugby-mad New Zealand really are, the Chiefs are the third Kiwi franchise to feature on the list. They won Super Rugby titles in 2012 and 2013 with players such as Brodie Retallick, Liam Messam, and Aaron Cruden.
5.Stormers- 702k Followers
325k FB / 109k Insta / 260k Twitter / 8k Tik Tok
The Stormers once had the highest average attendance of any club in the world, regularly attracting over 30,000 fans. This has sadly dipped, with the Cape Town side struggling to hit half those numbers now. However, their online fanbase continues to impress. Additionally, the influence of South African franchises has been a huge success for the URC in terms of television viewership.
4. Toulon- 768k Followers
401k FB / 140k Insta / 203k Twitter / 24k Tik Tok
One would expect their following exploded following the ‘Galacticos’ team of 2013-2015. The club remains the only side to win three successive Heineken Cups, and create electric atmospheres at the Stade Mayol with their ‘Pilou Pilou’ chants.
3. Sharks- 824k Followers
468k FB / 135k Insta / 211k Twitter / 10k Tik Tok
The Durban side still has an impressive social media following, even if crowd numbers aren’t what they once were. They did, however, achieve a crowd of over 20,000 for their clash against Leinster last month.
2. Crusaders- 832k Followers
421k FB / 257k Insta / 110k Twitter / 44k Tik Tok
The Christchurch franchise is the most successful club in the Southern Hemisphere, racking up 12 titles since 1998. They continue to boast a world-class squad, currently including the likes of Richie Mo’unga, Pablo Matera, and Will Jordan.
1. Toulouse- 1,189k Followers
523k FB / 314k Insta / 337k Twitter / 15k Tik Tok* (unofficial)
The European champions top the list, and it isn’t even close. The club often gets attendances of over 20,000, so their online presence clearly filters into the stands. With arguably the world’s best player Antoine Dupont in their ranks, their following looks likely to grow further.
Parting thoughts on the ‘Most Popular Rugby Clubs’ listThe major takeaway is the popularity of clubs in France, South Africa, and New Zealand. Irish clubs hit decent numbers too, with Ulster not being too far away from the list. It’s interesting to see a lack of Gallagher Premiership clubs, showing their fan bases are not as large as people think. Another concern globally was the lack of presence on Tik Tok, with various clubs not even having a Tik Tok account. You would be hard-pressed to find football clubs making this mistake. If we want our sport to really grow, we need to take advantage of these platforms to entice younger audiences.
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