Ministry of Sport

Australian Sports Fans Turn To Social Media

As the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) global pandemic continues to leave the world without most of its live sport, Australian sports fans are engaging with social media more than ever to get their sporting fix.

According to a report by global measurement and data analytics company, Nielsen, video views of sports content on social platforms is thriving without live sporting events, with views exceeding 12 million in the first week without live sport (March 26 – April 1).

This figure is over 1.2 million more than the week prior (March 19 – March 25) that featured the AFL Premiership 2020 season kicking off and the NRL entering the second week of its 2020 season.

Nielsen’s Social Content Ratings report found the total amount of owned video content published by leagues, teams and athletes was down 18 percent, while views per video increased by 35 percent.

Nielsen’s managing director of media and sports, Monique Perry, said the report proves the passion Australian’s have for sport, even throughout a global pandemic that has altered almost every facet of daily life for most Australians.

“COVID-19 might have affected sports events worldwide, but our passion and thirst for sports content remains strong among Australians,” Perry said.

“Despite no on-field action, the increase of video views of sport content on social platforms is clear proof we are still avid sports fans.

“Embracing social and digital platforms will be essential for leagues, teams and athletes to retain valuable connections with fans, helping to drive positive engagement through these unparalleled and uncertain times.

“Measuring the performance of social and digital initiatives to gain an understanding of these new ways to connect will be critical to achieve this,” she said.

With the lack of live content to publish on social platforms, Australia’s major leagues are turning to reliving some of their most famous moments to help drive the increase in social engagement.

In the final week of March, the AFL managed over 2.1 million total interactions on social media, with 4.7 million views across their platforms, followed by Cricket Australia with 655 500 total interactions and 3.4 million views, the NRL, A-League and Supercars to round out the top five.

With regards to Australia’s top teams, Collingwood F.C. led the way with 202 800 interactions across their social platforms and 222 700 video views, followed by Geelong F.C., the Socceroos, Essendon F.C. and the Australian Men’s Cricket Team.

While all sporting organisations in Australia remain in a tight battle to navigate the loss of income and competition caused by the Coronavirus, the focus and effort they are placing into their digital world is proving effective.

As Australia further continues social distancing measures, self-isolation and even working from home, it is difficult to see social media engagement diminishing, unless leagues, clubs and athletes suddenly stopped publishing content.

Joshua Hodson

Joshua Hodson