Football nowadays is a truly global game. In June Manchester United announced the results of a survey - claiming to have 659 million fans worldwide.
While many have cast their doubts - quite rightly - as to the accuracy of the unverified claims, one thing is true - United's extensive fanbase has helped them become richer than ever, generating millions in income, their problem is their high-leveraged buyout which means the profit is servicing their owner's debt.
It is no surprise to see other clubs attempting, and succeeding, to spread their wings beyond the UK. Just look at the various Premier League clubs about to jet off on pre-season around the world.
One of the most fanatical areas of the world when it comes to football, is Africa. Travel around the continent, and you will invariably spot dozens of Premier League shirts of assorted clubs.
Arsenal have a huge fanbase in Nigeria, and have announced plans to visit the country in early August to play a friendly match against the national team, nicknamed the Super Eagles. It will be the first time the club have visited the continent since making a trip to South Africa in 1993.
The mercurial Nwankwo Kanu helped grow the club's popularity in the country during his extended stay with Arsenal, and the club has an official supporters branch in the country.
Arsenal's marketing director, Angus Kinnear, said in March, "It won’t be out of place to say Nigeria may have more Arsenal fans than anywhere else in the world. I haven’t seen a group of people as passionate as this." - The number of Arsenal fans in Nigeria is easily estimated to be in the millions.
Last Thursday, they also announced a deal with mobile phone operator Airtel to boost the club's merchandising and content rights in five African countries, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Zambia, and Rwanda.
It is a wise move for the club to consolidate their mass of support in the country, and try and become even more dominant.
The oil company behind the organisation hope via the project, others will follow their lead by investing in the continent. Owner Ellis Short said he hopes the deal will help the club's popularity, and encourage a portion of the hundreds of millions of fans in Africa to start following Sunderland.
Manchester United will play two games in South Africa on their pre-season tour, before jetting off to Asia, this year leaving America to one side.
As football's worldwide appeal continues to grow, it makes perfect sense for the clubs commercially to benefit, and in Arsenal's case, they are giving back by taking the club to Abuja for the August friendly.
When the Premier League season kicks off on August 18, all eyes will be on England; but right now - the growing view is that Africa is the place to be, and expect to see others follow in the coming years.
Who do you believe is the most popular club in Africa?
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