Cricket dominates Facebook in sports ranking lock-out


Cricket dominates Facebook in sports ranking lock-out

Cricket dominates the upper echelons of Australian sports Facebook follower counts, with, the Australian men’s cricket team and Big Bash League accounting for 11.5M of a 45 million national total according to a report by Shunt’s 50Mil project.

Facebook Snapshot

  • 727 accounts
  • 45,216,068 follower count
  • Six sports rights holders with 1Million+ likes
  • Cricket has four and the V8 Supercar series two of the 10 biggest accounts in sport
  • Cricket NSW is the highest ranked State Sporting Association at number 32 with 305,000 followers

So who’s left?

Well it’s an eclectic group with one of the most progressive sports digital marketers in the country, the tennis grand slam Australian Open at number four (1.9 million) followed by the NRL with 1.38 million Facebook fans. At number six is Holden Racing, one of two top-10 entries from V8 Supercars with the series website edging out another cricket account (Cricket Australia) for tenth. Nestled between these are the Queensland Maroons (NRL State of Origin), the AFL and Big Bash League side the Sydney Sixes.

NSO (National Sporting Organisation)

With many of the all-time top 10 also NSO’s there’s little change when looking at this group. Of note two football accounts appear in this list, the Socceroos at number eight as the only national representative side to make the grade followed by the A-League. Rounding out the top ten is an organisation that’s had a lot of media coverage of late – the Australian Olympic Committee.

Gap now unlikely to be closed

What is striking when looking at the top-10 is the concentration of massive follower counts in the hands of a select few. At number one, has 6 million fans while the AOC has ‘just’ 285,000. The smallest gap between teams and organisations is over 100,000 with the largest at over 4.5 million when you consider the first ‘non-cricket’ account is the Australian Open at number four. This suggests that the pecking order of this elite group is unlikely to change anytime soon.

  • Quarterly growth rate; 2.49%
  • Last surveyed; May 2017

NRL rules in New South Wales

In New South Wales its all about rugby league and cricket. The Sydney sixes has an impressive 890,000 followers with the NSW Blues state or origin team at 750,000 demonstrating just how important this series is to the states sports fans. Completing the top three is BBL franchise the Sydney Thunder.

Five NRL teams fill the remaining top-10 slots, with the Rabbitohs at number four, then the Parramatta Eels (5), Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (7), West Tigers (9) and Sydney Roosters (10). There is one stand-out in the countries NRL heartland – the Sydney Swans AFL team who hold down eighth position with 270,000 followers.

Perhaps the most impressive feat amongst this group is from an SSA (State Sporting Association). Cricket NSW is more than capable of rubbing-shoulders with high-profile nationally franchised teams thanks to more than 300,000 followers at number six.

SSA’s (Top 200)

Cricket NSW (31), NSWRL (137), Football NSW (154), Surf Lifesaving NSW (157), Netball NSW (184), Surfing NSW (191)

  • Quarterly growth rate; 3.51%
  • Last surveyed; April 2017

Events perform in Victoria

The Australian Open aces the Victorian sports market on Facebook with 1.9 million followers. Next best is BBL side the Melbourne Stars at just over half a million with an interloper into AFL territory, the Melbourne Storm (NRL) at number three.

Four AFL teams make the Victorian top ten – Collingwood (5), Hawthorn (6), Essendon (8) and Carlton (10). Another high profile international event, the F1 Australian Grand Prix also makes an appearance splitting Hawthorn and Essendon with just a 1,000 fans separating the three.

SSA’s (Top 200)

Victorian Bushrangers (57), VFL (138), Bicycle Network (156), Netball Victoria (161), Badminton Victoria (163), FFV (168), Athletics Victoria (172), Basketball Victoria (177), Cycling Victoria (178), Golf Victoria (183), Cricket Victoria (199), Motorcycling Victoria (200)

  • Quarterly growth rate; 3.87%
  • Last surveyed; March 2017

State of Origin reigns in Queensland

State of Origin is everything in Queensland and they don’t come any bigger than the Maroons with a Facebook following in excess of 900,000. NRL teams in fact hold down four of the top five spots – Brisbane Broncos (2), North Queensland Cowboys (4) and Gold Coast Titans (5). The only team to spoil the party is the Brisbane Heat (BBL) with the third largest following at 578,000.

It’s a well-rounded bunch that complete the top-10 with the Reds (Super Rugby) at sixth, then the Brisbane Lions (7) and Brisbane Roar (A-League) at number eight. Of note, is Willowbank Raceway at number nine, this venue follows a trend in many states where huge numbers of drag-racing fans engage on social media through a destination rather than a team or championship. At number 10 is the Gold Coast Suns (100,000).

SSA’s (Top 200)

Super Cup [QRL] (115), Queensland Rugby League (159), Queensland Cricket (179), Football Queensland (182), Bicycle Queensland (184), Life Saving Queensland (193), Netball Queensland (197)

  • Quarterly growth rate; 0.46%
  • Last surveyed; May 2017

Western Australia favours diversity

There’s a diverse mix of sporting teams, venues and associations within the ten largest Facebook accounts in Western Australia. At number 1 is powerhouse BBL side the Scorchers followed by the two AFL franchise teams the West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers. The next two are venues, Perth Motorplex now managed by Venues West that is home to drag-racing and speedway in the state followed by the Perth Arena that hosts the Perth Wildcats (NBL), West Coast Fever (Super Netball) and Hopman Cup (tennis).

The highly successful NBL side the Perth Wildcats is sixth then the Force Super Rugby team and A-League side Glory. There are two very different entries at nine and ten who are both State Sporting Associations – Surfing WA and the Sporting Shooters Association Australia (WA).

SSA’s (Top 200)

Surfing WA (124), Sporting Shooters Association Australia [WA] (153), WACA (166), Recfishwest (181)

  • Quarterly growth rate; 2.51%
  • Last surveyed; April 2017

Strikers top score in South Australia

There are no huge surprises in the top three Facebook accounts in South Australia with the Adelaide Strikers (BBL) at number one with 350,000 Facebook fans, followed by the states two representative AFL teams – the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide Power. From here on though things get interesting with A-League side United at number four then two events, the Tour Downunder (cycling) and Adelaide 500 (V8 Supercars).

The sole appearance by an SSA in the top 10 is the SANFL at number six with 45,000 followers. Close behind are the Adelaide Thunderbirds (Super Netball), the Adelaide Oval and completing the top ten is NBL side the Adelaide 36ers.

SSA’s (Top 200)

SANFL (115)

  • Quarterly growth rate; 2.88%
  • Last surveyed; March 2017

Hurricanes take the strike in Tasmania

One team accounts for more than 75% of all the Apple Isles Facebook followers – BBL side the Hurricanes. They are also the states sole representative team on the national stage, accounting for the huge number of fans. At number two is Cricket Tasmania then AFL Tasmania completes the top three as the last entity to have a five-digit fanbase on Facebook.

At number five is a high-profile motorsport event both at a national and international level, Targa Tasmania. Positions 6 to 10 are filled by State Sporting Associations – Basketball (6,000), Surfing (4,500), Hockey (3,800), Netball (3,200) and Athletics (3,100).

SSA’s (Top 200)

Cricket Tasmania (165)

  • Quarterly growth rate; 0.06%
  • Last surveyed; May 2017

Archery takes aim in Australian Capital Territory

Australia’s Capital Territory has several national representative teams with the largest following on Facebook (160,000) claimed by Super Rugby team the Brumbies. At number two is another rugby team – League side the Canberra Raiders (146,000). A fairly distant third but still well ahead of the chasing pack is the Canberra Cavalry (Australian Baseball League).

Cricket ACT has the fourth largest Facebook fanbase followed by GIO Stadium, Capital Football, Canberra United (W-League), Tennis ACT and NRL ACT. Its great to see Archery ACT, a sport that doesn’t get the coverage of more mainstream sports sneak into the top ten.

Plenty of motorsport fans in Northern Territory

There are plenty of motorsport fans in the top-end with Hidden Valley Dragstrip (17,000) well ahead of AFL NT (11,800) its nearest Facebook follower rival. At number three is the Northern Territory Football Club (AFL), otherwise known as the NT Thunder. Established in 2009, it plays a vital community role in the top-end tackling anti-social behaviour, delivering educational outcomes and providing employment opportunities for those most in need.

  • Quarterly growth rate; 5.02%
  • 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, see above)


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