Derby wants to make it big in Japan

20 March 2019

Derby County
Photo: Getty Images Alex Pearce of Derby County celebrates after scoring a goal against Sheffield Wednesday. Now chief executive, Stephen Pearce, wants to global expanding the knowledge to Derby.

Derby County aims to become one of the top 20 best globally-supported clubs.

Club is targeting Japan as the country to start international expansion of supporter-base.

Nikolaj Babis Nielsen

Derby County are heading for Japan’s Toyota City. The Rams’ chief executive Stephen Pearce recently gave a speech to the Asian city’s business leaders about plans to expand awareness and support of Derby County internationally. 

Pearce is hoping that the club will become one of the top 20 best globally-supported clubs, and with Toyota Motor Manufacturing Ltd located in Derbyshire, he is hoping to use the car firm as a link to boost the club’s global position:

“We have talked about Toyota City in Japan and what we need to do there. It’s not about heading over there with a begging bowl, with our arms out saying please give us your sponsorship, it’s that wider piece,” he said, according to the Derby Telegraph.

What is the wider piece?

Pearce is not looking for sponsorships in the Asian market, but is thinking strategically about the bigger picture of the club’s future, he said in the local paper’s report: 

“It’s not about sponsorships, it is about making Derby a globally-supported football club.”

The club needs to be able to attract talent globally, and one of the ways Pearce sees this happening is by “being out there” on social media. He wants to grow the club’s social media database in order to show partners increased social media engagement.

A long way to top 20

Though Pearce’s plan to reach the top 20 best globally-supported clubs is ambitious, it would take more than just growth in social media engagement to achieve. 

Currently Derby County have around 13,000 followers on Twitter, but the 20th most followed team on the social network, according to, is German team Schalke 04 with 4.1 million followers. At the top of that list is Real Madrid with 31 million followers. 

The 20th most valuable football brand worldwide in 2018 was Leicester City worth around £222 million

It is not known how valuable Derby County’s brand is worldwide, but according to, the 20th most valuable football brand worldwide in 2018 was Leicester City worth around £222 million.

If Derby County had ambitions of getting into the top five on the list, they would need to expand their focus beyond just Japan, as the most valuable brand belongs to Manchester United with an estimated value of £1.4 billion. The fifth most valuable brand is the Red Devils’ neighbour, Manchester City, with an estimated value of £1 billion.