Sport & Social Media

sports social media 

A natural mix, no? Sport by it’s very nature is social. This survey (carried out on behalf of the EU Commission) shows that 4 in 10 of us play sport once a week (‘us’ meaning Europeans). It also says that statistically, you’re more likely to play sports if you don’t live alone… but let’s not take their word for it…

This 2010 fan survey report released by the football league (in the UK) shows that just 8% of fans attend matches by themselves. Most go with at least one family member or friend. It’s the same story in the premier league and i’m guessing for most matches. The overwhelming majority are male. According to this 2011 fan survey by the Premier League, 18% of Adult males fans attend matches, whereas just 5% of females do. To what degree they attend is another thing… are one in four fans inside a stadium female? Perhaps… If we look at the findings from this international press survey we can see that of all articles written about individuals in sport (and this crowd studied over 17,000 articles), 85% of them are about men. Surprised? What if i told you 92% of sporting articles are written by men?

Facebook & Twitter

Anyway, back to social media in sport… FACEBOOK. I have to mention Facebook when talking about social media, it’s an unwritten rule. Let’s go on another stats rampage;

facebook like button
Creative Commons License photo credit: Me

Premier League clubs have a total of over 45m fans on Facebook. Man Utd alone have 20m, but they perform poorly on twitter (that’s a joke which only people who study sports social media will get, because they don’t actually have a twitter account). In total, premier league clubs have over 2.2m followers on twitter. So at a glance, we can see Facebook is king.

What about League of Ireland? Do you really want to know? Ok… League of Ireland clubs (premier division and 1st division) have a total of around 70,000 facebook fans. Shamrock Rovers account for over a quarter of that. Twitter? The same lot have a combined 23,000 following on twitter. Again Shamrock Rovers lead the way.

Back to the superstars now and we all want to know who the most popular athlete in the world is… is it Beckham? No. Is it Messi? No… is it some American Basketball player we’ve never heard of? No, although several of them are pretty popular 🙂 The man blowing every else out of the water in social media is Cristiano Ronaldo. The top 5 most liked athletes on facebook are;

  • Cristiano Ronaldo (35m)
  • Leo Messi (26m)
  • David Beckham (14m)
  • Michael Jordan (13.9m)
  • Ricardo Kaka (11.5m)

Ronaldo has 4.7m followers on twitter but gets pipped to top spot there by the Brazilian Kaka (6.3m).

What have we learned today?

We’ve learned that Ronaldo is more popular on twitter than all premier league clubs combined and he’s more popular than every single individual club on Facebook. Then again so is Messi. So overall, the message is that fans want to know more about athletes and not about clubs. It’s the whole celebrity culture… an inside look in to the life of a sports star.  We’ve also learned that there are a hell of a lot of sports fans using social media but really we’re only just getting started.

Ronaldo has built up a god-like following which is a smart move because we all know footballers are stuck for work once they retire. Ronaldo can fall back on his brand, although i’d hazard a guess that in 10 years time once he reaches retirement age, Facebook will be a thing of the past and he’ll no longer be king of the sports social media world.

What the randomness?

This is stuff i’m studying and working with on a daily basis now so i decided to share some of it. Over the coming weeks / months i’ll be blogging about more of this stuff and hopefully designing some nice info-graphics to accompany the plain old text. Stats always mean more when they’re pretty to look at.

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