Australian Open the only starter in million plus Twitter game


Tennis Grand Slam’s Australian Open is currently the only Twitter Account of over 450 tracked within the national sport industry by 50Mil that exceeds 1 million followers while Football has the most entries in the top ten.


  • 457 accounts
  • Total Twitter follower count of 10,350,255
  • The Australian open is the only sports rights holder to have more than 1 million followers
  • 60% of Twitter accounts (SSA’s) contribute just 25% of the total number of Twitter followers

Football has Twitter on-side

Twitter is a real strength for football in Australia with four separate accounts making the top ten. At number five with 290,000 followers is the Socceroos, eighth spot is held by the A-League (143,000), the sport’s governing body Football Federation Australia is ninth (135,000) and tenth is A-League club Western Sydney Wanderers (125,000).

Across all social channels cricket performs well with the Big Bash League at number six (290,000) and Cricket Australia seventh (147,000).

Ratios and Hot-spots

For every Twitter follower of an Australian sport there’s more than four on Facebook. This 4.5:1 ratio broadly reflects monthly active usage rates in Australia (17 million on Facebook and three million on Twitter or 5.6:1).

Digging a little deeper to reveal where these Twitter fans are concentrated, around 45% of the 10 million plus followers count are fans of the 110 nationally franchised teams monitored by 50Mil. A further 30% follow national sporting organisations or championships (66 accounts). This leaves just 25% spread across all states and territories (285 accounts).

NSO’s all move up one as Australian Open ‘moves’ to Victoria

Unsurprisingly, most of the sports industry top-10 are repeated with the NSO’s as these organisations have the profile and resources to more effectively scale audiences when compared to their state counterparts. With the Australian Open having moved across to the Victorian report, now claims top spot. In-step with this is the AFL, NRL, Socceroos, BBL, A-League and FFA who all move up a place.

In at number eight is V8 Supercars (106,000), followed by the AOC (94,000) and Tennis Australia (59,000).

  • Quarterly growth rate; 2.81%
  • Last surveyed; May 2017

Wanderers on top in New South Wales

The Western Sydney Wanderers made the top ten of the 50Mil Twitter industry-wide analysis and transition to the top of the New South Wales rankings with their 125,000 followers. Cross-town A-League rival Sydney FC, also make an appearance at number nine (63,600).

Half of the top ten from New South Wales are rugby league based with the South Sydney Rabbitohs at number two then the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (5), NSWRL (6) as the sole entry from a state sporting organisation, the West Tigers (8) and Sydney Roosters (10).

Both Sydney based BBL squads have a strong twitter following, the Sixes with 85,500 are ranked fourth and the Thunder at 70,400 at seventh. AFL club Sydney Swans are ranked third at 88,500.

SSA’s (Top 200)

NSWRL (29), Cricket NSW (96), Surf Lifesaving NSW (135), Football NSW (144), Surfing NSW (166), AFL [ACT/NSW] (171), Bicycle NSW (180), Golf NW (185), Netball NSW (186), Cycling NSW (187), Athletics NSW (193)

  • Quarterly growth rate; 4.98%
  • Last surveyed; April 2017

Huge gap between the Open and the rest in Victoria

Victoria is home to the only sports rights holder in the country with a Twitter following in excess of 1 million (1,180,000) – the Australian Tennis Open. There’s a considerable gap then to number two held by Essendon who have 121,000 followers. Completing the top three and one of four AFL clubs in the top ten is Collingwood at 110,000. The others are fifth placed Carlton (97,000) and Hawthorn (82,500).

NRL side the Melbourne Storm have made quite an impression in Victoria if their social media following is anything to go by having amassed just short of 100,000 followers. The two Melbourne based BBL sides make the cut with the Stars at six and Renegades tenth.

Shunt’s 50Mil project recently started tracking venues that host sporting events and none come bigger or have more history and heritage than the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). The venerable grounds’ Facebook account is the ninth largest in Victoria and on Twitter it has the seventh largest account at over 90,000.

SSA’s (Top 200)

Cricket Victoria (103), VFL (105), Bicycle Network (121), Cycling Victoria (126), FFV (127), Victorian Institute of Sport (142), Athletics Victoria (148), Netball Victoria (151), Golf Victoria (172), Basketball Victoria (200)

  • Quarterly growth rate; 8.44%
  • Last surveyed; March 2017

Guilt free options in Queensland

In the battle for Queensland NRL fans hearts and minds it’s the perfect outcome for the Brisbane Bronco’s and Maroons State of Origin team because you can follow both and not feel guilty about it. On Facebook the Maroons have the upper hand, but on Twitter it’s the Bronco’s by a decent 37,000 margin.

NRL sides make another two appearances in the Queensland Twitter top ten. The North Queensland Cowboys at number five (63,600) while the Gold Coast Titans (57,000) are sixth.

Both AFL sides are also in the hunt with the more ‘youthful’ Gold Coast Suns at seventh now one spot ahead of the ‘more mature’ Brisbane Lions. Other teams with large Twitter followings include BBL side the Brisbane Heat at number three, the Queensland Red’s Super Rugby side (4) and A-League team the Brisbane Roar.

There is a single entry by a state sporting Association with Cricket Queensland currently ranked 80thnationally and with its 32,700 twitter fans it comfortably made the top ten ahead of Super Netball side the Firebirds.

SSA’s (Top 200)

Queensland Cricket (81), Super Cup [QRL] (138)

  • Quarterly growth rate; 5.57%
  • Last surveyed; May 2017

Shark alerts popular in Western Australia

There is little to split the two Western Australian based AFL sides at the top of the Twitter table. The West Coast Eagles (66,200) currently have the upper-hand by virtue of a 700 lead over the Fremantle Dockers (65,700).

At number three is a somewhat unusual entry, Surf Lifesaving WA who have amassed an impressive 46,400 followers placing them 65th nationally thanks in part to their coastal shark alert notifications via the platform.

At number four is the very successful local BBL side the Scorchers followed by the Perth Arena that hosts regular sporting events through the year. At number six is another State Sporting Association, this time the Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA).

Four nationally franchised teams fill the remaining spots in the 50Mil top ten. A-League side the Perth Glory (29,600) are just ahead of the Western Force (29,400) Super Rugby side, followed by the hugely successful Perth Wildcats (NBL) then the West Coast Fever (Super Netball) completes the top ten.

SSA’s (Top 200)

Surf Lifesaving WA (66), WACA (88), Football West (150), Department of Sport & Recreation (155), Netball WA (174), WAFL (195)

  • Quarterly growth rate; 5.79%
  • Last surveyed; April 2017

Crows soar in South Australia

The two South Australian AFL teams are head and shoulders clear of their nearest Twitter rivals with the Adelaide Crows (124,000) in turn 33,000 fans ahead of Port Adelaide. Completing the top three is BBL side the Adelaide Strikers who have accumulated 69,100 followers.

At number four is A-League side Adelaide United and at five is the Tour Downunder that attracts some of the best cyclists from around the world. At number six is the Adelaide Oval followed by NBL side the 36ers.

At number eight is the first of the State Sporting Associations (SSA) in South Australia with the SANFL also achieving a national rank of 129. Super Netball side the Adelaide Thunderbirds split another SSA – The South Australian Cricket Association.

SSA’s (Top 200)

SANFL (130), SACA (134), Equestrian SA (162), Athletics SA (194)

  • Quarterly growth rate; 4.48%
  • Last surveyed; March 2017

Cricket the big-fish in Tasmania

Shunt’s 50Mil project tracks just 18 Twitter accounts in Tasmania with the top two cricket accounts capturing over 90% of the total following on the platform. At number one is the Hobart Hurricanes with 65,000 followers while the governing body for the sport, Cricket Tasmania sits at number two with 31,900 fans.

The remaining top ten are in the main state sporting associations with Targa Tasmania making an appearance at number five with 1,100 followers and the Bellerive Oval at number ten with closer to 300.

SSA’s (Top 200)

Cricket Tasmania (82)

  • Quarterly growth rate; 2.36%
  • Last surveyed; May 2017

Super result for Brumbies in Australian Capital Territory

Rugby is big in the Australian capital, regardless of the code. In the Twitter popularity stakes Super Rugby wins on Twitter at least with the Brumbies attracting just short of 50,000 followers while NRL Canberra Raiders remains in the hunt for top spot with 46,000.

Third and fourth spots are held by another two national sides. Australian Baseball League team the Canberra Cavalry having a very respectable following of 15,800 while W-League side Canberra United have attracted 4,500 Twitter fans. At fifth is Cricket ACT and at sixth are women’s NBL side the Capitals.

SSA’s (Top 200)

Cricket ACT (180)

  • Quarterly growth rate; 4.47%
  • Last surveyed; April 2017

Top ten the sum of it in Northern Territory

The top ten says it all in the Northern Territory with 50Mil monitoring only ten Twitter accounts in total for the top-end. At number one is state representative AFL side the NT Thunder, closely followed by the AFL NT. Netball NT makes up the top three with a total footprint for the platform of 8,800.

  • Quarterly growth rate; 6.30%
  • Last surveyed; March 2017


  • Survey period March – May 2017
  • States and territories include representative franchised teams from the following national championships; A-League, AFL, BBL, NRL, Super Netball, Super Rugby, V8 Supercars
  • NSO national championships; A-League, ABL, BBL, NBL, Super Netball, V8 Supercars, W-BBL, W-NBL and Women’s A-League
  • NSO national Teams; AOC, Australian Cricket Team, Australian Kangaroos, Diamonds, Hockeyroos, Kookaburras, Matildas, Socceroos and Southern Stars
  • Sporting venues are listed where they are located
  • Motorsport teams and championships are listed separately (with the exception of V8 Supercars)


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