While sports stadiums around Australia continue to gather dust due to the COVID-19 lockdown, sports fans are still finding a way to get their sporting fix.
In fact, video views of sports content on social platforms is actually up, despite the lack of actual live sporting events.
In the final week of March, when no live sports events were played, there were more views of sports-related video content on social platforms than a week prior when the AFL Premiership was kicking off and the NRL was entering week two of its season.
In the absence of televised sports, fans have turned to social media to stay connected with their favourite leagues, teams and athletes.
According to Nielsen’s Social Content Ratings, engagement of sports-related videos across social media exceeded 12 million views in the first week without live sporting content (March 26-April 1), which is over 1.2 million more than the prior week (March 19-March 25).
While the total amount of owned video content published by leagues, teams and athletes was down (-18 per cent), views per video increased by 35 per cent , demonstrating fans’ eagerness to stay connected with their favourite teams and athletes.
Football Australia’s decision to stream a replay of the Socceroos famous victory over Uruguay in the 2006 World Cup Qualifier on Facebook, proved a masterstroke and saw the Socceroos jump to the top of Nielsen’s Social Content Ratings ladder.
Measuring social engagement across more than 150 teams, the Socceroos were the number one ranked team with the most social interactions on the day of broadcast (March 31). For the weekly period (March 26-April 1), the Socceroos managed to retain an overall ranking of third off the back of this initiative, wedged between AFL club leaders.
Nielsen’s Managing Director of Media and Sports, Monique Perry said: “COVID-19 might have affected sports events worldwide, but our passion and thirst for sports content remains strong among Australians. Despite no on-field action, the increase of video views of sport content on social platforms is clear proof we are still avid sports fans”.
Rival sports leagues have also turned a little nostalgic of late and published content reliving some of their most famous moments to help drive stronger social engagement trends during this challenging period. In the final week of March, the AFL still had over 2.1 million total interactions on social media despite no matches being played, with 76 per cent of their engagement coming on Instagram.
Cricket Australia edged out the NRL in second spot, while the A-League and Supercars rounded out the top five.
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