NRL Versus AFL: Who Rules In The Social Media Footy War?

NRL Versus AFL: Who Rules In The Social Media Footy War?

According the the latest from BrandData, right now, it’s the AFL who can claim supremacy in the online arena, with 10 clubs ranking among the 20 most-followed Australian sporting teams on social media, compared to seven for the NRL.

The number one AFL team is Collingwood, with a combined social audience of 491,000 across all social channels, according to research by social intelligence provider BrandData. ‘The Pies’ are followed closely by close rivals Essendon; just behind them are Carlton, Hawthorn and Adelaide. Perhaps surprisingly, the Sydney Swans sit in only 13th place.

BrandData shows that Collingwood’s social feeds have an insider-y and newsy feel, helped this week by stories like coach Nathan Buckley having his contract extended, and tributes to “an absolute bloody legend of the club”, Lou Richards, turning 93.

Someone over at Collingwood also knows how to take photos – their Instagram is absolutely killing it, being full of moody, atmospheric and behind-the-scenes shots. On Instagram Collingwood  rank second behind only the Wallabies in terms of Australian sporting teams.

The leading NRL team is the Brisbane Broncos, with just under 600,000 online fans according to BrandData, followed by the Rabbits and the Storm. No surprise here. The Broncos have the largest membership of any NRL club, and it makes sense that their supporters would want to follow the club online as well as on the pitch. And what do they see, when they log on? Well, alongside the obligatory photos of unfeasibly buff men, they will actually see some quite insightful analysis, with recent posts including a debate around “Are players coming back from injury too quickly?” and an assessment that star player James Roberts’ key strength may be “worrying the opposition into mistakes.”

If the Broncos wanted to grow their online footprint, they should look to YouTube, which is their weak link at the moment, with only four videos posted. Surely there’s an opportunity to provide some player interviews, and behind-the-scenes chit-chat?

The bottom club in Australia? Greater Western Sydney Giants. Well, they are newbies. But they may not be cellar-dwellers much longer, with innovative recent activity including a Periscope broadcast of players phoning fans to encourage them to buy memberships. Though this did cause one unintended consequence, with a Twitter user claiming: “Today we are cancelling our @GWSGIANTS membership so that we can get a call from a player asking us to renew.”

Love everything sports? Make sure you come along to our Ministry of Sports Marketing conference! 

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