After a torrid couple of years due to rolling disruptions it’s great to see that clubland is back in business with social media post publishing outputs on par with Pre-Covid 2019 performance while the all-important audience engagement metric is also now within striking distance.
TL;DR 2022 Social Media Clubland Summary
- The AFL has the largest number of socially active clubs at 1,820 followed by cricket (1,609) and Football (1,330).
- Total Facebook audiences across the sector are up 10% from 2021 to an impressive 24.2M.
- The sport with the highest average audience is Ice Skating (clubs often double-up as facilities) at 6,248 followed by Motorcycling (3,858) and Muay Thai (3,680).
- 2.3M Facebook posts were published in 2022 with AFL clubs accounting for 350,000 (this has doubled since 2015) followed by Football (250,000) and NRL (181,000) clubs.
- 50.5M Facebook reactions, comments and shares were generated in 2022 by clubs with the AFL contributing 11.4M followed by Football (5.6M) and the NRL (4.8M).
- Motorsport clubs averaged 51 engagements per post in 2022 followed by Windsurfing (36) and Motorcycling (33) clubs.
- Social media profiles of 17,500 clubs from 70 sports were analysed by Shunt in compiling this report.
One of the biggest takeaways from Covid is the reliance that clubland has on a regular events calendar in order to generate content. When this was disrupted or in some cases entire seasons cancelled a feedback loop kicked into gear that we’d never seen before that went something like this……
Step 1: In the absence of an events calendar clubs had nothing to talk about,
Step 2: If they have nothing to talk about then audiences have nothing to engage with,
Step 3: If audiences have nothing to engage with then they start to drift with potential knock-on implications for participation…..
Social Media as a Utility
This Covid chain reaction confirmed what we had long suspected – that social media has now become an integral part of the delivery of grassroots sport. So much so that we now view it as a key sector “utility” similar to gas, electricity or telecommunications.
Canary in the Coalmine
Social media is not only useful in better understanding how clubland was impacted by Covid and how it serves as an essential “utility” for the delivery of sport. In fulfilling these roles it also acts as a proxy for the overall health of the sector.
Back on track!
2022 was the first full year since 2019 that Covid lockdowns have not been a disruptive influence on grassroots sports. So what can social media data tell us about how sport has responded?
Regular events calendar = Post publishing recovery