High hopes for Basketball Victoria rebound following record engagement levels

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Having posted a record 1.2 million Facebook engagements across grassroots clubs and associations through 2019 another bumper year was on the card’s for Basketball in Victoria until Covid came along. With the indoor orientated sport bearing the brunt of a series of lockdowns through much of the year there are now high hopes for a strong rebound in 2021.

A five-year Shunt analysis (2015-19) of Basketball clubs, tournaments and associations in Victoria has highlighted just how much momentum has been lost with posts published up 87%, while audience engagement climbed an impressive 159% as the performance of posts (an engagement to productivity ratio) also improved by 38%.

Down but definitely not out

Strong, year-on-year increases in the number of posts published had been the order of the day for Victorian Basketball clubs, tournaments and associations as productivity improved by 14% in 2016 then 21% (2017) and 11% (2018). Breaking through the 50,000 post barrier in 2019, the sport was on-track for even bigger things in 2020.  

Victorian grassroots clubs and leagues made the most of a particularly challenging situation with content down 36% on 2019 results. Considering the industry average across 8,000 clubs analysed by Shunt fell 21%, Basketball has more work to do than many in getting this core social media output back to its historical highs for 2021.

2021 represents a rebound opportunity

While the internal productivity systems and processes across Victorian Basketball steadily improved resulting in consistent output increases, the outlook for audience engagement (total Facebook reactions, comments and shares) was even better.

2016 engagement levels were up 31% on the previous year, with 2017 returning a 28% boost and 2018 showing another 16% uplift.

As with every other sport Shunt has assessed to date these results couldn’t be sustained through 2020 with total reactions, comments and shares falling from a 2019 high of 1.2 million to 620,000 last year representing a 48% drop. This result is lower than the industry trend of -35% identified by Shunt’s latest analysis.

Performance levels takes a beating

The real test of how healthy and robust a sports social media presence is the performance of posts published. This simple ratio that divides total engagement by the number of posts is a key indicator of how efficient and effective they are.

When engagement growth far exceeds increasing productivity levels the net result is a steady improvement in Victorian Basketball club, tournament and association post performance from 2015 to ‘19.

With the average number of engagements per post increasing from 14.92 (2015) to 20.63 (2019) it suggests the sports clubland have progressively become more efficient in how they manage their time on social media.

A sure sign of a sport that has a handle on its social media and the delicate interplay between informing and engaging audiences.

Then along came Covid…..

Shunt has recently published industry-wide research examining the impact Covid-19 and associated lockdowns have had on the sector.

The 2020 Q1 productivity and engagement profiles indicate that Basketball in Victoria was on track for another bumper year. As lockdowns came into effect both productivity and engagement crashed as it has done for most of the 30 other sports analysed to date.

Testament to the resilience of Victorian Basketball clubs, tournaments and associations they rolled with multiple punches, reorganised themselves and then came out fighting with core Facebook social media metrics highlighting a spirited recovery once lockdowns were eventually lifted.

Club comeback in challenging year

As per other sports Shunt has analysed to date, the productivity profile of Basketball clubs, tournaments and associations across Victoria was building steadily from 3,416 published posts in January to 4,807 by March just as the first round of national Covid lockdowns were announced.

After an initial drop to 2,859 in April content levels actually hung in there for several months before a second round of lockdowns kicked-in through July. This saw productivity levels falls further to a year-low of 1,909 (August) before gradually climbing back upto a November high of 3,795.  

Despite everything Basketball Victoria achieved in the face of rolling disruptions, productivity outputs suffered substantially compared to previous years with the final tally standing at 37,268. This meant the sport marginally bettered 2016 totals (35,188/+5.91%) but fell well short of 2019 outcomes (57,957/-35.70%).  

Defiant engagement just kept ticking-over

One of the constants of social media is that if you don’t publish you don’t get an audience response. As can be seen here there was an actually an inverse engagement reaction to rising post-levels from January through to March which is unusual.

From April onwards though engagement levels closely matched productivity outputs through to the end of the year. This suggests grassroots basketball fans for the most part were both receptive and highly responsive to content that clubs and associations posted even as the quantity faded through the year due to an absence of games to report on.

The takeaway here is that perhaps the best way for Basketball in Victoria to get back within striking distance of its 1.2 million tally of 2019 is to complete a full season while using every opportunity available to post more often.   

The huge effort by Basketball clubs, tournaments and associations coupled with loyal support from fans through a disastrous 2020 wasn’t enough to get close to the exceptional results of 2019 with total reactions, comments and shares at the end of the year falling to 620,000. While this must be disappointing it also represents a massive achievement considering just how many factors went against the sport last year. For 2021 the only way is up!   

Country basketball audience all-stars

Closing-out 2020, Basketball Victoria Country were Shunt’s audience all-stars with a Facebook following now approaching 16,000. An impressive runner-up was Big V Basketball (14,350) with Kilsyth Basketball rapidly approaching the 10,000 follower mark.

Bulleen-Templestowe and Jets challenge Country

Shunt’s productivity Top-10 roll-call from 2020 would rival most state sporting organisations and some national bodies when it comes to their ability to generate content even under extended lockdown restrictions.

Basketball Victoria Country published a whopping 2.37 posts per day through last year. Getting close to this huge tally was the Bulleen-Templestowe Basketball Club at 2.15 closely followed by the Aberfeldie Jets Basketball Club (2.10 posts per day).

In fact, all of the Shunt Top-10 clubs and associations posted at least once a day in what is a powerful illustration of the level of resources available to the sport across the state’s regions.

Kilsyth Basketball crack 20K milestone

Basketball Victoria Country were the most successful at picking-up Facebook reactions, comments and shares through 2020 with a total approaching 30,000.

Kilsyth Basketball leveraged its large audience to good effect as the only other organisation to crack the 20,000 engagements milestone for the year. Not far behind though was Bulleen-Templestowe Basketball Club who converted their high productivity levels into plenty of audience reactions, comments and shares.

Power-play from Eltham Dandenong Juniors

Shunt’s performance metric is all about striking the right balance between content quality and quantity with the Eltham Dandenong Junior Tournament blitzing the field with average engagements per post almost cracking the 100 mark. This is a truly exceptional result and one of the highest seen yet by Shunt in its analysis of 30 sports and 8,000 grassroots clubs.

While Kilsyth Basketball comfortably took the runner-up performance slot (61.29) the battle for third was intense with two clubs very evenly matched. In the end, the Warrnambool Seahawks & Mermaids (42.29), just had the goods over Dandenong Basketball (42.03).  

Research notes;

337 Basketball clubs, tournaments and associations from across Victoria with a Facebook page were analysed as part of this report. Results are for Facebook only. Annual data from January 2015 to December 2020 inclusive. 2020 results from January 1st to December 31st inclusive.

Uncertain as to what 2021 has in store?
You’re not the only one! Throughout 2020, Shunt doubled-down on its work with our state and national sports clients to proactively expand their situational awareness. If you also want your ‘socials’ to deliver actionable insights that ensure you don’t just survive, but thrive then let’s chat. Get in touch at info@shunt.com.au

 

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