Turns out team and individual sports have very different social seasons


When we went looking for a connection between social media activity levels (post publishing) and the seasonality of sport what we didn’t expect to find was evidence of very different social rhythms between team and individual sports.

    Post High/Low Range

    In analysing the Facebook data of 19,000 grassroots clubs some significant low to high post publishing ranges were evident, particularly for the bigger sports. Comfortably the biggest was the close to 2,000 monitored AFL clubs with a December low of 11,005 posts set against an August high (NB. Interestingly this wasn’t during the September finals month) of 47,009 to give a massive spread of 36,004.

    The AFL was followed by four other major Australian codes, with Football (1,350 clubs analysed) second, then the NRL (900 clubs), Cricket (1,650) and Netball (1,150).

    Note all of these are team based.    

    2022 Top-5


    Percentage High/Low Range

    Another way to look at high/low seasonality ranges is to calculate the percentage swing from the monthly low to the high. This equalises results across all sports, regardless of clubs monitored or posts published.  

    Number one for this metric will surprise many, with Lacrosse showing a 470% increase from its low of 103 posts in December to a peak of 584 in September. When clubs in this sport are on it, they’re publishing around a 150 times per week, while just a few months later the run rate drops to just 25 per week from the 36 clubs monitored. Also making our top five were Cricket, Hockey, the AFL and Rugby.

    Note once again all of these are team sports.

    2022 Top-5

    RankSportMinMaxMin/Max (%) Swing

    Cricket the most seasonal

    If we break-out the number of posts published on Facebook by grassroots clubs per month in percentage terms we can see what resources have been allocated by a sport, when.

    The biggest percentage spread was seen by cricket clubs nationally at 10.48% with a low of just 3.03% of all posts published in June against a high of 13.51% in November as the season gets into full swing.

    Notes: 160,000 posts by grassroots cricket clubs during 2022 expressed in percentage terms by the month they were published.

    Golf the least seasonal

    In contrast to cricket, golf clubs according to their post publishing rate don’t really have a “peak” season other than possibly March and October at a little over 9% followed by a “trough” in January of 7% with a high/low spread of only 2.2%.  

    Notes: 120,000 posts by grassroots golf clubs during 2022 expressed in percentage terms by the month they were published.

    Team sports have a social season, individual pursuits don’t?

    Shunt has long argued that social media is now an essential function of the delivery of sport. IE. When a sport season peaks so does its social activity, likewise when there is very little happening within a sport this is reflected in a low number of posts published and fans engaging.

    This helps explains why the team-based sports have the widest social media high/low activity spreads.

    2022 Top-10 Biggest High/Low Spreads

    RankSportMinMaxMin/Max (%) Spread
    7Little Athletics3.20%12.86%9.66%

    Almost all of the Top-10 sports are team-based, even with Little Athletics there is a strong team component to it via regular Centre competitions between clubs leaving Windsurfing as the only anomaly (this could be due in part to the small club sample size of 20 and relatively small sample of annual posts published at 2,900?).

    2022 Top-10 Lowest High/Low Spreads

    RankSportMinMaxMin/Max (%) Spread
    3Muay Thai7.26%9.70%2.44%

    For sports with the lowest seasonal high-low spreads the results are even clearer with all 10 classifiable as an individual pursuit.

    What gives with individual pursuits?

    Factors that may contribute to a sports low seasonal post publishing spread include;

    1. No season; You can freely participate in most of these sports year-round, there is no defined season as such.
    2. Active Recreation; Cycling and MTB are great examples of active recreation type sports where you can get on your bike in the garage, roll out the gate and you’re participating!
    3. Lesson based; Interesting to note that there are three martial arts in the Top-10 (Muay Thai, Taekwondo and Karate), these tend to be lesson based where again participation is accessible year-round
    4. Commercial Orientation; Several of these sports have a proportion of clubs that are commercial operators. For them having an ongoing, year-round conversation with potential customers is a business imperative.


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