Social Media has impacted every industry and it hasn’t left the sports industry untouched either. The focus on Social Media in the Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) industry has been growing rapidly in recent years. Social Media is deeply woven in our social culture and Social Media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have enabled Professional teams and athletes bridge the gap between fans and themselves.
Almost every major team now has a social media account where relevant announcements are made directly to all the fans. Social Media is actively being used by athletes as well to interact and engage with fans, endorse brands and announce their activities. More than 60% of sports fans follow their favorite game and athletes online now. In 2016, there was a 40% rise in sharing of sports clips online. Sports has truly embraced social media with both hands, many teams actively involving social media agencies to manage their social accounts with worldwide following. This has not just helped in better engagements with the fans but has also led to new job opportunities. In Germany, almost 85% of Bundesliga stars have an online presence.
Modern day sporting events and social media go hand-in-hand. Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Manchester United have 104 million, 103 million and 74 million following respectively, roughly 12% of the entire world’s population. FIFA and the Olympics have a following of 4 and 15 million respectively on Facebook.
A lot of other athletes like M. S. Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, LeBron James, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams garner a huge fan following across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram handles. Social media is changing the way sports stars, clubs and fans are interacting with each other. From live-tweeting games, creating snarky memes and cheerleading from the internet, spectators are no longer simply watching sport, and fans can often get news, insights and commentary straight from the source. While fans have taken to social media to share their love of sport, some sporting clubs and athletes are finding it more challenging. While social media is making it possible for fans to be more engaged, it’s also making it possible for sporting professionals to be more accountable for their public comments and the way in which they, in return, engage with their fans and wider community.