How Social Media Impacted Football in the Last Decade

Authored by Mike Page
Posted: Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - 17:15

The first televised football match in the UK was way back in 1937, with a specially arranged match between Arsenal and Arsenal Reserves. As football became televised more, football clubs started to perceive televised matches as a threat. They were concerned that fans would no longer come to games if they were able to watch them from the comfort of their homes. Obviously, their fears did not come true.

Just like television, 10 or 20 years ago, clubs saw social media as a threat to the game; fearing social media platforms could create scandals, gaffes and hacker attacks. But only a short while later, it now seems hard to remember a time before football was not entwined with the internet and social media. Read on to discover how social media has impacted football over the last decade.

Statistics You Would Not Know If It Were Not for Social Media

Social media has allowed companies to find data that could never have been discovered in the pre-internet age. For instance, according to a study by ESPN, football fans now know that the most tweeted players in 2019 were Neymar, Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo. In those cases, it is safe to assume most tweets were positive. However, social media statistics do not only reflect the world’s most favourite but also the most stressful footballers. They can also tell fans more worrying details. For example, according to research by Casumo and TensiStrength, Pedro Obiang was the most stressful player for fans to watch in 2019 during the Premier League’s local rivalries.

Just how big is football on social media?

Football is huge on social media. For instance, when Germany crushed Brazil in 2014, it was the biggest match ever to be documented on Twitter, with 35.6 million tweets sent during the game. During the 2018 World Cup, Facebook announced 88 million people had generated over 280 million posts, comments and likes throughout the tournament. That beat its previous record for sports interactions, which was set by the 2013 Super Bowl. Football does, of course, get more global attention than any other sport, so it is no surprise to see it getting so much focus on social media platforms. The 2018 World Cup generated more online searches than the Super Bowl, the Tour de France and the Olympics combined!

Footballers Are Stars of Social Media

Football fans the world over engage with social media on a massive scale. But it is not only the fans that are posting and liking. Many footballers now also use social media platforms to great effect. Ronaldo is the prime example. Several years back, Facebook executives urged Cristiano Ronaldo’s management team to start a Facebook page for the star footballer. The executives believed Ronaldo had the potential to gain as many as 10 million followers. Ronaldo created his profile in 2009. Since then, he has gained a whopping 122.46 million followers. That means he is not only the most followed footballer on Facebook. He is the number-one most-followed person on the social media site.

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