How is social media affected by the big sporting events?

In 2014 we’ve already seen the success of the Winter Olympics in Sochi and we still have many sporting events to come including the World Cup in Brazil and the Commonwealth Games in sunny Scotland.

These sporting events are also big social events. We plan to book tickets using instant messengers and we brag about our good seats to friends – or we moan about that missed opportunity through posts or tweets before keeping up with the news on other events that we can’t attend.

Sporting events mean big business for social media! So let’s take a look at their influence in a bit more detail.

Sport and Sponsorship

Sports teams have long been commercially sponsored by major companies. For instance, we have the Barclay’s Premier League, the Heineken Cup and of course the Npower Test Series. And with increased digital influence on our lives this sponsorship is becoming more profitable than ever for both the sponsor and the performer who can launch specialised campaigns alongside the big events. But what does that mean for social media users?

Well, it shouldn’t affect our newsfeeds too much. There will still be the heavy flow of conversation on the current hot sporting topic except now the posts or tweets will be branded with the sponsors’ name or logo.

Increased Followers

As well as marketing the sponsors, popular sporting events will often encourage supporters to follow their favourite teams on social media. These teams will have dedicated social media teams who will live tweet from events and keep you up to date with any breaking news. At the beginning of a season the number of these likes or followers of a page will grow enormously.

Football and the members of the Barclay’s Premier League see the biggest growth. We’re coming to the end of the season now and the social media presence of these teams has grown hugely over the last few weeks. Currently the big 5 teams on social media are:


1. Arsenal - 3.73 million followers
2. Chelsea - 3.68 million followers
3. Liverpool - 2.61 million followers
4. Manchester United - 2.31 million followers
5. Manchester City - 1.66 million followers


1. Manchester United - 46.3 million likes
2. Chelsea - 28 million likes
3. Arsenal - 23.4 million likes
4. Liverpool - 18.4 million likes
5. Manchester City - 11.6 million likes

David Moyes’ sacking from Manchester United has seen social interaction rise to huge levels recently. In fact, Manchester United’s Instagram post announcing Ryan Giggs’ appointment as manager achieved the club’s highest ever amount of likes:

We bet you tweeted about it, didn’t you?


Increased Interaction

If the number of people following or liking pages increases then surely interaction should grow too?

A great way of testing this on Twitter is looking at the number of tweets per minute (tpm). During London 2012 the tpm hit a record-breaking 74,000 when Usain Bolt won the 100m final. And across the pond in the US the 2013 Super Bowl saw the record tpm reach 185,000 during play. In a year the number of tweets jumped hugely, so what figure do you think the World Cup will produce this summer?

The World Cup 2014 and Social Media

The FIFA World Cup is set to be held in Brazil this June and July. At the last World Cup in South Africa, the tpm reached a relatively 3,051 tpm when Andres Iniesta scored the winner for Spain, but we expect those stats to be smashed out of the park. 80% of internet-savvy Brazilians usesocial media accounts, and when you combine these feverish South Americans with FIFA’s anticipated global audience of 1 billion people, it’s fair to say that this World Cup will be big on social media. 

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