Manchester United says it has seen an increase in engagement on the club’s media channels following the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as its caretaker manager.
The Norwegian stepped into the interim role at the Premier League club on December 19, the day after the previous manager José Mourinho was sacked. Solskjaer has subsequently won his first four games in charge.
Between December 18-31, the Manchester United Official app ranked number one in the App Store sports category download charts in 43 markets around the world and has also ranked in the top ten within the sports category in a further 55 markets [Source: AppAnnie]. In the same period, the app achieved its highest number of weekly downloads outside of its launch period.
The club said that weekly reach of the Manutd.com website in the week of Solksjaer’s appointment was up three times compared to the average week in the season to date. Social follower growth was up 120 per cent compared with the seasonal average, while the club says it achieved the highest growth in followers of any football club on Twitter in the first two weeks after the Mourinho sacking. It added that the 55.7 million interactions it achieved during this period on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter were higher than any sports team across these channels.
The release of the figures appears to be an attempt by Manchester United to counter the notion that its commercial aspirations have begun to take precedence over the success of the team on the pitch.
A club source said: “Clearly what happens on the pitch comes first at Manchester United and everyone at the club understands that. Ole’s arrival provided a massive surge of interest in the club’s own media channels globally, showing the importance of platforms such as the MU app, the website, and social media in reaching our fans around the world.”