Soccer is hitting new heights in Canada. Not only does the nation boast a national team capable of making it to the FIFA World Cup, but it also boasts one of the most popular MLS teams. 

Commanding an army of at least 1.2 million social media followers, Toronto FC ranks as the ninth most popular MLS team around, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for affection towards overseas teams. 

When it comes to foreign domestic leagues, of course, the absurdly competitive and talent-packed English Premier League takes precedence, with clubs having laid fandom foundations in North America for decades.

With three new teams entering the division each year, Canadian fans have plenty to choose from. So, which Premier League team is the most popular in Canada?

One Club Reigns Supreme

Given the turmoil at the club since the departure of a certain legendary manager, Manchester United, perhaps, wouldn’t be among the first few teams cited as having a strong following in Canada. 

After all, this season, the Red Devils are at +350 just to make it into the top four and qualify for the UEFA Champions League, per the sports betting Ontario residents use.

Still, the success over the years and commercial efforts of the owners and board have allowed the Manchester United brand to hold strong while the team, stadium, and local fan relations have fallen into disrepair. 

Back in 2012, while Sir Alex Ferguson was still running the soccer side of things, the club announced that it was the most popular in the world, with a whopping 659 million followers across the globe. 

In the summer of 2022, while Manchester United’s dominance per nation had seemingly slipped, the Old Trafford residents remained the top team in both Canada and the United States separately. 

At the time of writing (late February 2024), Manchester United were by far the most searched of all Premier League clubs in Canada, per Google Trends. 

With a 22-point average, United ranked clear of Liverpool (17), Arsenal (16), Manchester City (12), Chelsea (11), and Tottenham Hotspur (8) for searches this season. 

Over the last five years, the ranking has remained the same, with United clearly out in front, followed by Liverpool, Arsenal, and then Manchester City. In this metric, United’s average (30) was more than triple that of Toronto FC (9).

Are United Losing Ground?

In a very telling and candid response, the former vice chairman of United, Ed Woodward, said that the team’s performances don’t have a meaningful impact on the commercial side. 

For revenues, this was undoubtedly true, but revenues from sponsorships, advertising, rights sales, branding, and the like will be reliant on the strength of the following, and eventually, poor play will cut that following. 

The 2012/13 season was the last time the Red Devils hoisted the league title, making way for Manchester City and Chelsea – clubs injected with cash that use it to bolster team performances – and Liverpool to rise to the fore. 

Naturally, this has enabled those clubs and the resurgent Arsenal to collect more fans around the world. Watching enjoyable soccer and winning teams encourages more team and brand engagement, increasing their values.

Let’s face it: if Liverpool, City, or Arsenal are behind at halftime, punters are bound to have a look at the live betting to back them for a comeback win. When United are behind, that’s probably not the case.

In a look at team popularity around the world by, Manchester United stood clear atop the rest during the 2010s decade. However, narrowing the scope to 2019 showed Liverpool conquering United in every region.

For now, Manchester United stand as the most popular Premier League team among Canadian soccer fans, but if their trajectory doesn’t change, City, Arsenal, and Liverpool are perfectly poised to take over.

*Credit for all images in this article belongs to Alamy*

Ben is very much a sports nerd, being obsessed with statistical deep dives and the numbers behind the results and performances.

Top of the agenda are hockey, soccer, and boxing, but there's always time for the NFL, cricket, Formula One, and a bit of mixed martial arts.