Social Media in Sports: Who are the Winners and Losers?
Sports and social media make a great team. Whilst fans follow the action, they can share the moment with their friends and fellow supporters. But who is making the most of this relationship? And who would be best advised to keep clear of Twitter altogether? This new infographic from Eventility, a platform that helps clubs and groups promote their activities online, identifies some of the biggest ‘winners and losers’.
Perhaps the key takeaway is the lack of US dominated sports in the lists of most followed teams and athletes on Twitter and Facebook. With football (soccer) accounting for over half of these and basketball and tennis making up the rest, there is no room for baseball, American football or ice hockey.
Having said that, the US fares significantly better when it comes to the ‘most tweeted sporting moments’. Last year’s Super Bowl produced 13.7 million tweets and over 1 million of those came in the final 5 minutes of the game. American football also produced the most retweeted sports tweet of all time when the Green Bay Packers’ T.J Lang tweeted “F*** it NFL. Fine me and use the money to pay for regular refs”.
This resulted in an impressive 100,000 retweets, significantly more than his actual number of followers. Looking at the losers, there are just too many to choose from. In the world of football, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Carlton Cole, Joey Barton, Jack Wilshere and Ryan Babel have all landed themselves in trouble through their tweets.
But the problem is by no means exclusive to footballers, some other notable fails include:
- Lewis Hamilton tweeted a photo of confidential team data and falsely accused his teammate, Jenson Button, of unfollowing him.
- Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou was sent home from the Olympics for posting a racist remark to Twitter.
- NFL star Rashard Mendenhall lost a sponsorship deal after tweeting a controversial theory about the 9/11 attacks.
- Welsh rugby player Jonathan Thomas was forced to apologise after making a homophobic comment on Twitter.
Of course, social media is not only for the world-renowned. Local sports clubs and teams can also reap the benefits and are increasingly doing so. According to Eventility, 76% of sports organisers use social media to promote their events, though this figure is only 50% for smaller events. Given the opportunities now available, I would expect this figure to greatly increase in the future.