How do fans really feel about their favourite team and league?

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As each sport (and league) is unique, ranking by raw results alone is like comparing apples to oranges so we looked to answer this question from a different angle.

How’d we do it?

  • First up, Shunt put all the clubs/teams within a given league together and tallied their Facebook fan engagement scores from 2023.
  • Then Shunt did something a little different to level the playing field by comparing percentage splits for each engagement metric analysed with a given league.
  • IE. As a percentage of total sentiment generated what proportion are “love”, “wow”, “comments” or “shares” etc etc.
  • Looking at it from this angle throws up some really interesting results as this report highlights.

Conversation starters and viral content

Chatty Fans

“NBL clubs led by the Adelaide 36ers and Perth Wildcats have the chattiest fans.”

SportNumber of comments
NBL9.10%
AIHL8.70%
A-League8.43%
ABL8.08%
WNBL7.75%
Super Netball7.40%
AFL7.37%
NRL6.98%
Rugby6.16%
Supercars5.69%
Hockey One5.08%
BBL3.33%
 Comments as a % of ALL Engagement within a given League.

Responding to content via a Facebook Reaction is a simple process taking a few seconds. Content that resonates strongly enough with fans to warrant a comment is less common and requires a substantially greater investment of time to compose a response to a given post.

Due to the content resonating more deeply with fans and the time involved to respond, Shunt values a Comment significantly higher than any Reaction (Like, Love, Wow, Haha, sad or Angry). Nb. Care and Thankful are rarely if every used in sport.

Super Sharers

“ABL fans are the most willing to share their love of baseball with the Melbourne Aces leading the charge.”

SportNumber of Shares
ABL3.74%
NRL3.68%
WNBL3.24%
Hockey One2.95%
AIHL2.81%
Supercars2.62%
Rugby2.59%
NBL2.25%
AFL2.18%
A-League1.98%
BBL1.94%
Super Netball1.81%
Shares as a % of ALL Engagement within a given League.

Shares represents another step-up from a Comment in terms of value. Why? Not only is a fan likely to feel a deep sense of connection with the content, but it needs to be compelling enough that they are prepared to share it with their connections.

The process of sharing typically requires some context so a fan will often include commentary with the share, further amplifying its value.

Alternate Reactions (Sentiment)

Shunt places a higher valuation on alternate Reactions or Sentiment (non-Likes) as they better reflect an “emotion” audiences feel towards content. Characteristics of alternate reactions include;

  • First introduced in 2016, alternate reaction usage continues to grow each year as a share of the total.
  • Less commonly used by fans, alternate reactions (sentiment) account for as little as 10% and upto 30% of all Reactions amongst national league teams/clubs in 2023.
  • Must be “searched” for via a pop-up in-app so a little more effort is required to select a reaction.
  • Reflects an emotional response (unlike a Like), suggesting a deeper audience connection to post content.

Love Action

“Super Netball clubs are feeling a whole lotta love from their fans with the Adelaide Thunderbirds topping 100,000 in ‘23.”

SportNumber of Love
Super Netball26.93%
NRL24.91%
AFL21.59%
WNBL18.69%
NBL18.11%
AIHL16.10%
A-League15.21%
ABL14.65%
Rugby13.45%
BBL11.63%
Hockey One11.26%
Supercars8.92%

Wow Factor

“BBL teams have been Wow-ing their fans with Brisbane in particular seriously turning up the Heat.”

SportNumber of Wow
BBL0.84%
ABL0.54%
AIHL0.49%
NBL0.47%
Supercars0.39%
WNBL0.35%
AFL0.34%
Super Netball0.31%
A-League0.31%
Rugby0.26%
NRL0.22%
Hockey One0.17%

Laugh a LOT

“BBL was the funniest league in the land while the Brisbane Heat gave their fans the giggles.”

SportNumber of Haha
BBL1.66%
Super Netball1.16%
NRL1.01%
Supercars1.00%
AFL0.86%
NBL0.85%
A-League0.78%
Rugby0.48%
AIHL0.44%
ABL0.38%
WNBL0.36%
Hockey One0.19%

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