Today, Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid Ul-Adha. The worldwide holiday is one of the two most important celebrations in the Muslim calendar. It follows the first 10 days of Islam’s holiest month, Dhul Hijjah. So far it has attracted over 274,000 tweets.
Never usually shy about holidays — whether its World Milk Day or Leap Day — U.K. brands have been mostly silent today. That is, oddly, with the exception of the football clubs.
This morning Manchester United shared a picture of its empty stadium alongside the message “Eid Mubarak”, which translates from Arabic as “blessed celebration.” It also shared the message on its Facebook page, where the post attracted 26,000 likes.
For those celebrating, “big Eid” is a time for prayer and sharing food with friends, family and those in need. Eid ul-Fitr, known as “little Eid”, is a separate celebration that marks the end of fasting during the month of Ramadan.
Liverpool FC shared a similar post to Manchester United from its grounds this morning. That has attracted over 4,300 retweets. The club’s Facebook post showing the exterior of its stadium attracted 11,000 likes.
Others scored, but on a smaller scale. Everton got 150 likes for a tweet which featured an emoji of the sacred Kaaba, while West Ham’s picture of several players, including midfielder Gökhan Töre, had quadruple that. Some, like Chelsea, chose to retweet messages from high-profile players, including Yaya Touré and Paul Pogba.
While 4.5 percent of the U.K. population are Muslim, Islam is the fastest-growing religion worldwide. It is estimated to increase 35 percent by 2050.
It’s a time of growth for the U.K.’s football clubs too, as they attract foreign investment and wider audiences beyond Britain’s turf.
Investors from the Middle East have poured $1.5 billion into football clubs in Europe. For example, Emirates Airline’s various sponsorships and Sheikh Mansour’s ownership of Manchester City.
Twitter’s analysis from 2015 shows that Football fandoms are as diverse as ever, with geography no barrier to loyal supporters.
Meanwhile, overseas visitors to U.K. games topped 800,000 in 2014. And with growing interest from Asia, it’s no wonder Manchester United has a Twitter account for Indonesia, Malaysia and also one in Spanish.