Posts in Football

Deloitte’s top 20 richest clubs vs. their social media

January 25, 2019 Posted by Sean Walsh Football 1 thought on “Deloitte’s top 20 richest clubs vs. their social media”

The release of the Deloitte top 20 richest clubs always provokes debates, with conversations ranging from ‘well my club has more money and is therefore much bigger!’, to ‘well this proves money just buys you glory supporters’. This year the hot topic in the UK has revolved around why Newcastle currently fighting of relegation from England’s Top 20 and spending little money, are also sitting in Europe’s Top 20 wealthiest clubs?

However, the question the team at fiacuity were most interested to ask was, ‘Is there a correlation between wealth and support online?’ and therefore we have pulled together the social data for these wealthy teams and compared them across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Social Media vs. Revenue Rankings

The table below shows the followings of each club in relation to their revenue:

​Club Revenue € (2017/18) Instagram Followers Twitter Followers Facebook Followers Total Followers
​​Real Madrid 750.9m 68,072,642 53,548,000 109,420,549 231,041,191
​Barcelona 690.4m 64,735,672 52,544,000 102,000,000 219,279,672
​Manchester United 666m 25,912,231 20,921,400 73,000,000 119,833,631
​Bayern Munich ​629.2m 15,148,875 6,499,700 49,000,000 70,648,575
​Manchester City ​568.4m 10,252,440 7,163,700 37,000,000 54,416,140
​Paris Saint-Germain ​541.7m 18,686,901 8,444,000 35,000,000 62,130,901
​Liverpool ​513.7m 12,132,496 12,469,796 32,000,000 56,602,292
​Chelsea ​505.7m 14,728,985 15,430,900 47,000,000 77,159,885
​Arsenal ​439.2m 13,245,155 14,408,900 37,000,000 64,654,055
​Tottenham ​428.3m 3,577,356 3,318,600 10,000,000 16,895,956
​Juventus ​394.9m 21,535,143 8,444,000 36,000,000 65,979,143
​Borussia Dortmund 317.2m 6,724,111 3,334,400 15,000,000 25,058,511
​Atletico Madrid 303.4m 6,221,613 4,628,400 13,800,000 24,650,013
​Internazionale ​280.8m 2,520,355 1,967,928 11,000,000 15,488,283
AS ​Roma ​250m 2,276,342 2,468,546 9,300,000 14,044,888
​Schalke 04 ​243.8m 597,821 897,658 2,800,000 4,295,479
​Everton 212.9m 852,635 1,769,400 3,100,000 5,722,035
​AC Milan 207.7m 5,341,275 6,795,000 24,000,000 36,136,275
​Newcastle United 201.5m 227,136 1,330,000 2,100,000 3,657,136
​West Ham United ​197.9m 719,038 1,442,100 2,300,000 4,461,138

Moreover, the global size of West Ham and Newcastle also marries up with their position on Deloitte’s table which should come as no surprise. That being said, there are more than a few anomalies in the data which are worth exploring:There are some clear insights we can see quite obviously such as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United backing up their riches comfortably, with the most followers worldwide. Whilst Real and Barcelona have been winning trophies consistently in the last 5 years, it appears that the global brand of Manchester United is powerful enough to survive and grow in spite of the on-pitch performances.


Juventus provide us with the most fascinating problem. The club sits 11th in the Richest Ranking, however, they come 7th on Twitter, 8th on Facebook and 4th on Instagram. It can be deduced from this that Juventus’s current form, as well as the monumental signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, has likely skyrocketed their global brand to make them one of the most popular clubs worldwide. 

Man City

Manchester City undoubtedly has one of the most talented teams and managers in world football, and their position of 5th on Deloitte is a testament to their spending power. However, across social media they still have ground to make up on the chasing pack coming 10th on Instagram, the fastest growing global social media platform being the biggest red flag. In fairness, this shouldn’t be a huge worry as Man City have only recently become a major club in the last decade, and as a result by 2020 we would have expected them to continue to grow across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.


Arguably Chelsea have been the club that has most benefited from the timing of their success and the birth of social media and this is reflected in their ranking as:

Chelsea Position
Twitter 4
Facebook 5
Instagram 7
Deloitte 8

Chelsea began winning the Premier League in 2005, which coincided with the rise of Facebook, whilst their sustained success over the last 10 years has allowed them to also take advantage of Twitter & Facebook. Consequently, we can see that they are faring better in the social media game than their Deloitte position.

What does this mean?

Whilst data can’t tell the whole story, and none of this dictates who has the ‘best fans’ or even the most innovative social media (@ASRoma would take some beating), it does show us global support across a medium that has become startlingly important in the last decade. We use social media as a way to make the world smaller as well as give our opinions on everything from food to politics. In terms of football, the table above shows that, unsurprisingly, wealth does equate to global profile. For many of these clubs, if not all, social media is not just a brand marketing platform, but a lucrative channel for sponsorship activation, crisis management and additional revenue generation.

The most successful clubs have already been looking at how they can best utilise their wealth of data to improve fan engagement, drive ticket sales and leverage technologies such as display retargeting. The role of retargeting pixels, CRM systems and data APIs are only likely to become more valuable in the coming years.

Ronaldo generates 24 million Instagram Likes for Juventus in 1 week

July 17, 2018 Posted by Sean Walsh Football 0 thoughts on “Ronaldo generates 24 million Instagram Likes for Juventus in 1 week”

Juventus have completed one of the biggest signings in their history, and in world football, by capturing the global superstar Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid. The transfer has sent Juventus fans into raptures, with many claiming this is just what the club need to capture another Champions League having gone close in the last few seasons. Ronaldo not only guarantees goals and super human performances on the pitch, but will also generate revenue for the Old Lady as shown by 520,000 shirts being sold in the first 24 hours after the signing was announced.

Therefore, we would also expect this to have an impact on the club’s social media accounts and contribute to some sudden explosion of follows and engagements.

How was Ronaldo boosted Juventus’s Twitter following?

Signing, arguably the greatest player of all time, was always expected to contribute to growth in followers for Juventus and it’s no surprise that Ronaldo’s signing has contributed to a growth rate of 3.58% since July 1st.

This growth equates to an additional 269,210 Twitter followers since July 1st, with 87,380 people following since just Friday which is more than the followers Juventus acquired throughout the whole of June across their Italian and foreign language accounts.

What is Ronaldo’s influence like on Instagram?

Arguably the ‘CR7 Effect’ has been felt most potently across Instagram, where the signing generated a huge amount of buzz and led to Juventus’s follower number increasing massively. The club set up their account in August 2012 and, approximately six years later on July 3rd, they announced that they had reached 10 million followers on the social network, thus becoming only the eighth club in the world to reach double figures.

The club celebrated the fact that in the 2017-18 domestic season they had added 2.5 million new followers to their account, which undoubtedly is a huge success and yet Ronaldo’s signing dwarves these numbers.

Since the start of July, Juventus have increased their Instagram following by 2.5m, with Ronaldo being the source of this upward turn and even between the 13th – 17th July, the account grew by +1,030,000. Despite the huge success Juventus have seen on the pitch over the last few seasons and the global stars in their squad, they have never experienced such a rise in online popularity, as exemplified by matching their season’s growth in just one week.

Moreover, fans aren’t just following the account because of Ronaldo, they are actively engaging in content and the results are stupendous. Prior to the transfer, the most liked posts were the signing of Emre Can and a goodbye to club legend Gianluigi Buffon, who had spent over 20 years with the club and is revered as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time. This received 601k likes.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo’s announcement on Instagram achieved 3 million likes, and just like that a legend was replaced. A closer look at the engagement on Instagram following the CR7 signing showcase just how influential the Portuguese player is, with the player generating over 23 million likes on posts relating to him alone.

The below infographic explains just how powerful he is. In spite of the club’s massive on field success and their farewell to one of the 21st century’s most iconic players, Ronaldo’s signing is still the biggest thing that has ever happened in the history of the club’s social media. In fact, upon reaching 10m followers Juventus released a list of their ‘10 most liked photos’, and if that list was re-published today all ten would be about CR7.

Finally, in June, the club registered over 14 million likes across all their content on Instagram and saw this increase by a staggering 159% to 36 million likes in July meaning without even kicking a ball, the striker is already dominating the headlines in Turin.

How has YouTube been affected?

Ronaldo’s presence has also contributed to an upward trend on the club’s YouTube account, with the number of subscribers growing by +40% since the start of July and gaining 292k new users.

Metric June 1st July 1st   July 17th
YouTube Subscribers 713,850 737,870 1,030,000
YouTube Views 175,150,000 178,670,000 196,080,000

Ronaldo’s press conference and official signing had a huge role to play in the surge in subscribers and views on YouTube. The club’s account increased by 141k alone with 10.5m people watching content on the channel on 15/7 as the club prepared to introduce Ronaldo to the world.

To conclude, these sort of figures and growth is spectacular and have invigorated Juventus’s social media account with millions of fans interacting with their content in one way or another. This positions the club well to build upon their current status as one of Europe’s strongest clubs both on the pitch as they vie for the Champions League. On social media they have now overtaken Chelsea to become the 5th most followed club on Instagram in Europe. With the Goliath that is CR7 in your team, the sky’s the limit of The Old Lady.

Want to know more about growth rates in sport?

fiacuity specialises in analysing the digital activity for a brand to assist with identifying opportunities and threats as well as advising on ROI strategies.

How has La Liga’s ‘Saudi Arabian Experiment’ impacted Twitter Growth

July 2, 2018 Posted by Sean Walsh Football 0 thoughts on “How has La Liga’s ‘Saudi Arabian Experiment’ impacted Twitter Growth”

La Liga has a number of strings to its bow with some of the most passionate fans on the planet, two of the world’s biggest clubs and perhaps the greatest duo in history. Consequently, La Liga sees a huge number of fans follow their clubs’ official Twitter accounts, eagerly consuming any news about their favourite players or upcoming matches. With such an enthralling league you would expect to see this reflected in a fervent Twitter fan-base that is constantly growing and immersing themselves in their club’s social media.

Therefore fiacuity’s analysts have studied La Liga’s growth across Twitter, between January 1st & June 1st to discover exactly who grew as expected in the first half of the year and who saw above-average growth, which for La Liga was 1.73%. However, before we get onto the fascinating results it is worth bearing in mind that the makeup of La Liga’s overall followers is starkly different to the EPL. Real Madrid & Barcelona for example make up 89.99% of the overall followers of La Liga clubs with their closest rival Atletico Madrid having 3.89%. Comparably, Man United & Arsenal make up just 43% of all Twitter followers in the EPL, despite having the most followers. Moreover, as you will discover this average benchmark is influenced by a certain anomaly that has impacted the league’s, and more importantly certain clubs growth rate massively..

What does La Liga’s Growth Rate look like?

As you can see between January & February there was a huge spike in follows for La Liga clubs, which boosted the overall growth rate of the league to 4.76%. It’s not uncommon to see a spike in January, due to a proliferation of matches or transfers being announced and this is reflected throughout Europe. However, 4.76% is the highest growth rate for a single month across all of Europe’s top 4 leagues, as well as Portugal & France, and there is a very good reason for this.

On January 25th, Villarreal, Leganes & Levante all announced that they had agreed a deal for three Saudi Arabian internationals who would be heading to Russia for the World Cup: Fahad al-Mulwallad, Salem al-Dawsari & Yahya al-Shehri. Six others arrived in La Liga as well, but it’s these signing which had the biggest influence on La Liga’s growth rate that month, with Villarreal posting a growth rate of 27.60%, Leganes was 9.91% and Levante 24.60%.

Club JAN – FEB
Alaves 2.27%
Athletic Bilbao 1.20%
Atletico Madrid 1.89%
Barcelona 2.42%
Celta 1.63%
Deportivo 1.59%
Eibar 2.31%
Espanyol 1.77%
Getafe 4.76%
Girona 3.24%
Las Palmas 1.64%
Leganes 9.91%
Levante 24.60%
Malaga 0.77%
Real Betis 2.76%
Real Madrid 1.70%
Real Sociedad 1.05%
Sevilla 1.05%
Valencia 1.14%
Villarreal 27.60%

The table above gives a full breakdown of the clubs during this period and categorical shows that the acquisition of Middle Eastern players had a huge impact on the league’s following. This course of action was received negatively in some quarters, as a cynical attempt by La Liga to expand their influence into a previously untapped market (the contracts and salaries were paid for by Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority). Whilst these loan moves didn’t particularly work-out with the only appearance being a ten minute cameo by Fahad Al Muwallad playing in La Liga, it’s clear that they had the desired effect on the club’s social following. Levante took full advantage of this by promoting the player on Twitter and then expressing their delight at the huge effect it had had on their follower count.

The tweet received thousands of engagement, however it did also provoke debate on the thread with arguments arising between fans, some of whom argued the club were more interested in signing players for commercial potential rather than their ability. 

How does this affect La Liga’s Growth Rate?

The only issue with these transfers and spikes, is that they inflate the club’s overall yearly growth rate and based on the January-June period, appear to be the exceptions rather than the rule. This results in some clubs appearing to have better results than they may actually have in terms of ‘consistent growth’. Villarreal increased their rate to 27.60% after signing Salem al-Dawsari however, they then saw negative growth from March to June. The argument should be made, that ‘growth is growth’ Villarreal have more followers than in 2017, but it should be argued it skewers the overall league benchmark for other teams and as a result, in this case it has led to only six teams achieving above benchmark results in La Liga, in spite of many of them being more consistent than the clubs who signed Saudi players.

Club Jan – Feb Feb – Mar Mar – Apr Apr – May May – June Overall
Levante 24.60% 1.03% -1.27% -0.26% 0.00% 4.82%
Eibar 2.31% 2.26% 1.10% 1.09% 0.54% 1.46%

Arguably one could dispute the long term success of the ‘Saudi Deal’, with overall follower count on Villarreal’s Arabic account already decreasing from 43k in February to 35k by June. That being said some of these clubs prefer a short term approach to their growth and it’s indisputable that it has worked in acquiring new followers, however a more prudent approach may be to develop and gain fans in a more organic manner as this could result in more sustainable fan loyalty.

So what can football clubs do to improve their Twitter growth?

Our platform and team specialises in analysing brand’s entire digital activity to help identify opportunities, threats and return-on-investment.

Get in touch with us to find out more about how fiacuity can be used to provide strategic recommendations to actively improve your growth rates as well as learn from what competitors are doing to achieve higher rates and success. Our platform can help you review your entire season’s digital marketing activity (social, email, content, paid advertising) and help you make smarter decisions on where to allocate more time and investment.

Twitter Growth Rates for Premier League Clubs for the Last 6 Months

July 2, 2018 Posted by Sean Walsh Football 0 thoughts on “Twitter Growth Rates for Premier League Clubs for the Last 6 Months”

The English Premier League is the pinnacle of European league football, with the highest attendances, astounding transfer fees, revered managers such as Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho as well as TV deals which net the EPL nearly €2bn more than any other European league. This has given the clubs in the league the opportunity to expand their profile and therefore one would expect this to be reflected in a growth in their followers on social media and in this case Twitter. social media growth.

Therefore the analyst team here at fiacuity, decided to do a little digging and take a look at the growth for these hugely lucrative clubs on Twitter and determine who was seeing exceptional growth rates versus those who below the league benchmark. Understandably, growth rates aren’t the only metric for measuring the success of a club’s social media as engagement is also a key method of assessing success. However, audience numbers and growth reveal an interesting story about a brand’s ‘reach’ which can play a pivotal role in galvanising content in sponsorship.

Who has seen the best Twitter Growth over the last 6 months?

As you can see the growth rate for the Premier League in 2018 so far has been 1.74%, the highest of Europe’s top four leagues, with nine clubs achieving growth which was above this benchmark:

The Top 4 in the league this season all performed above benchmark, suggesting that positive league performance correlates to strong growth, whilst Arsenal & Chelsea fell short. However, it’s worth noting that all four of these clubs were also incredibly inventive with the Twitter strategy this year with content ranging from updates on Tottenham’s stadium to City’s moving piece charting Gabriel Jesus’ journey from struggle to the World Cup. Success can breed growth, but it’s imperative that clubs also take advantage of it.

Which club has maintained consistently great growth?

Clubs managing to sustain above league benchmark growth continuously is a telltale sign of an excellent social strategy, however it is difficult to achieve. Growth consistency, is challenge for a club and our analysts used Everton as an example of this. The club signed striker Cenk Tosun in January and produced some reactive, high quality content to announce this which led to their growth rate jumping to 5.63%. 

Clearly this was well above the monthly benchmark for January of 2.66%, however this was a short term spike, rather than a long term increase and the following month saw a drop to 1.33%.  Arguably, a new signing energises unknown fans and can create short term results but organic growth is more preferable as it is more likely to result in longevity.

Period Everton Growth League Benchmark
Jan – Feb 5.63% 2.66%
Feb – Jan 1.33% 1.81%
Mar – Apr 1.33% 1.53%

Importantly, there is nothing wrong with boosting growth in the short term, however Tottenham’s Twitter strategy has been exemplary in achieving constantly high growth.  It’s currently a very exciting time to be a Spurs fan, with a radical young manager, an entertaining youthful team made up of world class English player such as Harry Kane, establishment in the Champions League as well as new stadium due for completion early in the 2018-19 season. Consequently, the club would expect to naturally see their profile rise, and yet they haven’t taken any chances and have produced excellent content for social media, which has supported their exceptionally consistent growth on Twitter:

Arguably there’s been a few methods by which Spurs have taken advantage of their on the field success to leverage it on Twitter. Primarily fans will follow an account to show their support, get updates on matches and transfer activity as well as interviews. Therefore it’s important to engage with fans regularly to maintain relevancy and ensure the club run account, is the hub for knowledge. Tottenham do this extremely well by tweeting daily and posting ‘Twitter-friendly’ video content, usually between 1-2 minutes’, such as Mauricio’s Minute. Furthermore, even during the World Cup, the  account is still informing their fans about their players’ exploits in Russia which keeps them invested in the postseason, in spite of the natural decline during this period hence the club’s ability to remain above the benchmark between May & June.

Moreover, producing behind the scenes material is a powerful tool in maintaining consistent growth and creating a sense of trust with the supporters, with the stadium updates offering a level of transparency that connects with fans and invites them to join the club on this exciting journey.

Finally, Spurs also have a Twitter account that is infused with personality rather than just being a outlet for data. They do this by posting about matters outside of football, ranging from Mother’s Day well wishes to a ‘Jokes Battle’ between Moussa Dembele and WWE wrestler Finn Balor. Additionally, humour is derived from  posting GIFs to liven up the feed, for example replacing the football in Wanyama’s goal against Liverpool with a fireball. Fans and casual viewers alike, want to be entertain when they are on social media and therefore providing alternative content is an easy way to engage a wider audience and entice more followers.

So how do clubs improve their Twitter growth? How do they beat the benchmark?

The fiacuity platform specialises in analysing a brand’s digital footprint to help identify threats, ROI and opportunities.

Twitter Growth Rates for Europe’s Big 4 Leagues For the Last 6 Months

June 29, 2018 Posted by Sean Walsh Football 0 thoughts on “Twitter Growth Rates for Europe’s Big 4 Leagues For the Last 6 Months”

Boasting the most watched leagues in world football, it’s never a surprise to see consistent and aggressive growth rates throughout the football season. Televised match coverage, competitions like the UEFA Champions League, record transfer signings and a wealth of sponsorship agreements ensure that clubs of the Big 4 leagues – the English Premier League, the Spanish La Liga, the Italian Serie A and the German Bundesliga – should see constant growth across theis social media channels.

Our analyst team wanted to get a better understanding of what constitutes “great” growth versus just normal, so with this in mind we monitored all of the clubs in these 4 leagues for the last six months (1/1/18 – 1/6/18) and calculated their growth percentages. Of course, we recognise that Twitter followers isn’t the only metric worth tracking and in an increasingly paid advertising focused marketplace, engagement is the real challenge. However, audience size brings with it ‘reach’ which can prove to be a valuable metric to clubs when it comes to incentivising their social media content to sponsors.

Here are a few insights we’ve unearthed from our research:

Who has the most Twitter followers?

There are very few surprises at who tops the Twitter social leagues for each country:

Bayern Munich 6,180,000 Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund 3,222,830 Bundesliga
Schalke 893,700 Bundesliga
Manchester United 18,280,000 Premier League
Arsenal 13,780,000 Premier League
Chelsea 12,120,000 Premier League
Barcelona 46,841,000 La Liga
Real Madrid 46,467,000 La Liga
Atletico Madrid 4,122,000 La Liga
Juventus 7,499,570 Serie A
Milan 6,750,000 Serie A
Roma 2,067,600 Serie A

Arguably there’s no huge surprises here with arguably each of the countries most successful teams topping the charts, and Real Madrid & Barcelona being incredibly close. Moreover it could be a shock to see Manchester United so far behind the Spanish top two in terms of worldwide followers. However, it’s worth remembering that this would be expected as they only joined Twitter in 2012 becoming one of the last major European football clubs to have an official Twitter presence, some three years after Barcelona.

How does their growth compare?

As you can see from the table below the English Premier League & Spanish Premier League are the best performing leagues for growth on Twitter.

The EPLs average growth rate over the last six months has been 1.73%, whilst La Liga sits on 1.73%. Conversely the rate is much lower for Serie A (1.34%) and Bundesliga in particular (0.99%).

A continuing trend across the four leagues, is that January consistently appears to be the best performing period of the year for growth whilst most clubs tend to see their rates reduce considerably by the end of the season. This is perhaps no surprise when you consider the weight that Christmas/New Year period holds with often more football on television and the start of the January transfer window. Recent years have seen football clubs look to adopt innovative and creative ways of announcing their players including Manchester United’s Alexis Sanchez “Piano” viral video through to AS Roma’s enormously creative, humorous and subversive player announcement videos.

Key Takeaways for each league

The Premier League on average saw the best average growth over the period, with Liverpool & Tottenham (needs the percentage stats) in particular being the only teams in the league to see above benchmark results month on month.

La Liga saw a huge spike in January 2018, with clubs such as Leganes & Villarreal acquiring Saudi Arabian players on loan. Consequently the average growth for the league between 01/01 and 01/02 was 4.76%, the highest monthly growth for any club in these premier leagues, which just goes to show how tapping into new lucrative marketplaces with transfers and content could help grow club’s international audience overnight.

Bundesliga, conversely saw the single biggest drop of any league during these months, with a negative growth rate of -0.50% between May & June. The most extreme was Koln who saw their followers decrease by over 9k, highlighting perhaps that German fan feeling towards their clubs is far more reactive than other nations – Koln being relegated in this instance.

Serie A bucked the trend from the other leagues by seeing their best growth between March & April.

The Best and Worth Twitter Growth Rates

The fiacuity team has also looked into the overall ‘European Growth Benchmark’ for these leagues which comes out as 1.47%. The below chart illustrates the top & bottom ten sides in terms of growth against this figure:

The Top 10

League Club Growth Rate
Serie A Benevento 6.48%
La Liga Villarreal 5.24%
La Liga Levante 4.82%
Serie A SPAL 4.55%
La Liga Getafe 2.43%
La Liga Leganes 2.41%
Serie A Roma 2.40%
EPL Manchester City 2.33%
Bundesliga Leipzig 2.30%
EPL Tottenham 2.27%

The Bottom 10

League Club Growth Rate
Serie A Lazio 0.25%
Bundesliga Bayer Lev 0.38%
Serie A Hellas Verona 0.40%
Serie A Udinese 0.48%
Bundesliga Ausburg 0.52%
Serie A Sassuolo 0.54%
Serie A Chievo 0.58%
Serie A Sampdoria 0.58%
Bundesliga Borussia Monch 0.58%
La Liga Malaga 0.61%

La Liga saw an inflation in their figures as a result of the Saudi deal, whilst Benevento & SPAL have a smaller number of followers but their growth was helped by their promotion to Serie A. Roma’s success in Europe coupled with their powerful and engaging Twitter strategy has heightened their performance with Man City being the most impressive of Europe’s elite clubs, which is no surprise considering their reputation as one of the world’s most effective and innovative clubs on Social Media.

What is more interesting here, is that only 33% of the clubs achieved higher than the average benchmark over the course of the study, with 13 of the 25 being from the Premier League, 7 from Spain, 4 in Italy and Leipzig being Germany’s only representative.

Whilst growth rate is clearly not the only metric for success, it does give a good impression of a club’s reach and how fans react in the moment to their Twitter behaviour.

So what can football clubs do to improve their Twitter growth?

Our platform and team specialises in analysing brand’s entire digital activity to help identify opportunities, threats and return-on-investment.

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