How the Sports Industry Took Social Media by Storm

There’s nothing like a sports event to bring the world to a standstill. Every year, the entire world awaits the match between Real Madrid and Barcelona, one of the biggest rivalries in soccer. Dubbed as El Clásico, the thrilling spectacle often reap around 400 million viewers. In the US, the Super Bowl garnered a whopping 106 million viewers recently.

But with the advent of social media, the landscape takes a drastic change. It is increasingly apparent how the Internet transformed the way sports is consumed by fans, with 61% of viewers now following sports online.

If it is not incredible enough, there is also the case of major television companies continuously losing subscribers and revenues because of the growing impact of social media on the sports industry. The brilliant infographic below made by our friends at neatly illustrates this trend in numbers.

For example, Sky Sports saw a drop of 19% from their viewers. On the other hand, BT Sport has recognized the power of social media and chose to do a simultaneous broadcast of its UK free-to-air final match for the 2016 Champions League on YouTube. It promoted the event across some of the major social media channels, from Facebook and Snapchat to Twitter.

The Rising Presence of Sports Teams on Social Media

Major news and announcements of league matches and other events travel faster now with many teams and clubs joining and establishing a strong presence on different social media platforms. Some of the leading sports organizations with large and significant following include the Olympics, FIBA, FIFA, NFL, NBA, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Manchester United.

Most of the official sports pages also produce compelling content that fans engage in, especially those in video format showing short match clips, pregame footage, and interviews. It is even possible to follow particular events and matches through minute-by-minute commentaries and live updates.

Sports events, needless to say, can prompt spiking engagements and discussions across many channels. This was evident during the 2014 FIFA World Cup when the month-long competition became the most talked about event on Twitter, accumulating 672 million tweets throughout its duration. The 2015 Super Bowl registered 265 million posts in Facebook.

Social Media’s Most Popular Sports Stars

It’s not only the teams and federations who have insanely large followings. Some of the world’s biggest sports stars top all of them. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, LeBron James, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Ronda Rousey, Serena Williams, and Maria Sharapova are acquiring such a huge influence on different social platforms that they became digital assets for many brands. Now they earn millions just for a single tweet or other social media post.

It is not surprising to associate Cristiano Ronaldo with Nike, Conor McGregor with Reebok, Usain Bolt with Puma, and Roger Federer with Rolex. Some even paved the way for their personal brand through social media, like in the case of David Beckham and his fragrance line, or Rick Mirer’s Mirror Wine company.

The Impact of Social Media on Revenue and Conversion

The already gigantic sports industry found an even bigger market when it completely embraced social media. It is not only about the constant exposure and connection with fans all over the world. The social platforms helped them win the additional revenue too.

The NBA champions, Golden State Warriors, gained 89% bigger ROI by using Facebook alone, while the TCU women’s volleyball team saw a spike of 40% in its revenue thanks to the social media.

As for the soccer clubs, every social media follower returns an average of €10 in revenue. Premier League clubs generated a massive £88 million after creating videos for their kit supplier brands.

Just by looking at the numbers you will get an ample idea of how big the role of social media is in the sports.  The infographic below is a good resource that will give you a clear picture of the ever-growing and mutually beneficial relationship between social media and the sports industry. Check it out:

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