If there’s one thing we could learn from the cur­rent online firestorm with the NFL, the media, and sports fans, it’s the impact of social media on the sports indus­try. Nielsen reports that through the first six weeks of the NFL sea­son, view­er­ship of games is down 7.5% year over year. I have lit­tle doubt that this is large­ly due to the reac­tions and sub­se­quent con­ver­sa­tions ampli­fy­ing the issue on social media.

Open Face­book or Twit­ter on game day and the threads are full of pas­sion­ate sports enthu­si­asts dis­cussing the game, the play­ers, and their excite­ment or dis­ap­point­ment. In fact, 61% of sports view­ers fol­low sports accounts and 80% inter­act on social media.

Today, sports events and social media go hand in hand. We’re wit­ness­ing an era where every team, league, or sports asso­ci­a­tion has at least one social media pro­file where they announce all impor­tant infor­ma­tion. More­over, it became impos­si­ble to scroll down your Face­book, Twit­ter, or Insta­gram account dur­ing a major sports event and not have your news feed over­whelmed with infor­ma­tion, real-time gifs, vines, or memes about it. Also, almost every sports event or show has a relat­ed hash­tag which cre­ates a rela­tion­ship with the audi­ence and brings a fast response. Ath­letes use social media to estab­lish their name, com­mu­ni­cate with their fans, announce their activ­i­ties, and even pro­mote brands and make mon­ey, as they have mil­lions of followers. 

Social media activ­i­ty isn’t lim­it­ed to con­ver­sa­tion, either. It’s hav­ing a direct impact on the Return on Invest­ment for tick­et and mer­chan­dise sales. In fact:

  • The NBA Cham­pi­on Gold­en State War­riors increased ROI by 89x using Facebook
  • Rev­enue per social media fol­low­er for soc­cer clubs is 10 EUR on average
  • TCU women’s vol­ley­ball team had a 40% increase in rev­enue direct­ly from social media
  • TCU women’s vol­ley­ball game atten­dance increased 24% with­in 7 weeks using social media
  • Pre­mier League clubs’ social media videos gen­er­at­ed £88 for their kit sup­pli­er brands

This is an incred­i­bly detailed info­graph­ic with a ton of cur­rent sta­tis­tics on social media in the sports indus­try from Bet­ting Sites, The Grow­ing Impact of Social Media on Sports.

Infographic sport social media statistics