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Manchester City named world’s most innovative sports team

English soccer giants top list created by Sports Innovation Lab.

15 January 2021 Tom Bassam

Getty Images

  • Real Madrid ranked second with Arsenal coming in third
  • Soccer clubs dominate with no NFL or MLB in the top ten

English soccer giants Manchester City have been named as the most innovative sports team in the world by research and market intelligence firm Sports Innovation Lab.

City pip Spanish soccer champions Real Madrid to top spot, with Premier League Arsenal third. La Liga giants Barcelona and German soccer champions Bayern Munich round out the top five.

The top ten is dominated by European soccer clubs, with only the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Golden State Warriors in sixth and the Sacramento Kings in tenth breaking that hegemony. The top-ranked National Football League (NFL) franchise in the 25-strong list is the New England Patriots at 13, followed by the Green Bay Packers at 14. The Chicago Cubs at 20 are the sole inclusion from Major League Baseball (MLB).

Sports Innovation Lab drew the list from the ten most lucrative sports leagues. Eligible teams were assessed across three categories: revenue diversification; organisational agility; and technology alignment. More than 8,000 data sources and in excess of 150,000 market signals were analysed by Sports Innovation Lab’s proprietary technology to determine the ranking.

“The global pandemic hit the sports industry with tremendous force in March and as a result, it changed the entire business landscape as we formally knew it,” said Angela Ruggiero, Sports Innovation Lab co-founder and chief executive.

“In order to continue growing and flourishing in this new reality, organisations must be nimble by embracing the most innovative operations and adapting to the ‘fluid fan’. With this list, we’re celebrating a group of trailblazers who have continued to drive their businesses forward, despite these unprecedented circumstances.”

“Our team of analysts masterfully identified patterns of success among the world’s most nimble and well-prepared sports organisations,” said Josh Walker, Sports Innovation Lab co-founder and president. “Our ongoing daily research and guidance will help the industry in charting the journey ahead.”

Full list:

  1. Manchester City (Premier League)
  2. Real Madrid (La Liga)
  3. Arsenal (Premier League)
  4. Barcelona (La Liga)
  5. Bayern Munich (Bundesliga)
  6. Manchester United (Premier League)
  7. Golden State Warriors (NBA)
  8. Paris Saint-Germain (Ligue 1)
  9. Juventus (Serie A)
  10. Sacramento Kings (NBA)
  11. Liverpool (Premier League)
  12. Philadelphia 76ers (NBA)
  13. New England Patriots (NFL)
  14. Green Bay Packers (NFL)
  15. AS Roma (Serie A)
  16. Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga)
  17. Tottenham Hotspur (Premier League)
  18. Toronto Raptors (NBA)
  19. Seattle Seahawks (NFL)
  20. Chicago Cubs (MLB)
  21. Los Angeles Clippers (NBA)
  22. San Francisco 49ers (NFL)
  23. Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA)
  24. Atlético Madrid (La Liga)
  25. Schalke 04 (Bundesliga)

Manchester City have been named as the most innovative sports team in the world

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