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The Impact of Social Media in Sport

Social media has given audiences a platform to communicate and engage, whether it’s from the comfort of their home whilst watching TV or from their seat at a live performance. One industry that this online connectivity has had a major impact on is sport.

Online sites such as Twitter and Facebook offers sport fans a number of benefits. For starters, they are now able to share conversations and banter with fellow viewers, without being limited to their location. Social media also allows the possibility for individuals to interact directly with famous sports stars and personalities. This not only gives clubs the opportunity to promote their players, but it also means that fans feel a lot closer to the team they support.

Major sporting events have begun to see the benefits of engaging their fans online too, and this has offered loyal followers a richer and more improved experience of the games. Football in particular has seen a massive boom in their fans’ online presence. Arsenal currently has around 3.47 million Twitter followers, with Chelsea FC not far behind with 3.38 million followers.

The ability to create user generated content, communicate with fellow sporting fans and receive updates and information in real time is hugely attractive to viewers. As well as adding an extra level of engagement to fans watching at home, those viewing football matches live in the stadium can also share images and opinions straight from the field to their followers.

Football clubs are encouraging fans in stadiums to share their Tweets from the stands. Back in May of last year, Liverpool FC become the first major sporting event to capitalize on this trend of live tweeting by offering free Wi-Fi to those in the stadium. Many others are set to follow in their example.

Football isn’t the only sport to have benefited from an online and engaged audience. The NFL 2014 Superbowl set a Twitter record, with fans sending 4,064 Tweets per second to #superbowl in the final moments of the game. This figure beat the 3,283 tweets per second sent during Japan’s 3-1 victory over Denmark in last summer’s World Cup, generating the highest number of Tweets per second of any sporting event.

The London 2012 Olympics was hailed as the Olympics of Social Media, due to the mass interaction between fans and athletes that took place throughout the game. Other live sports events are using their social media channels to interact with their fans and make them feel more valued as well, including everything from WWE to the WSOP.  Thanks to this, more and more fans will start discussions online, adding an extra dimension of entertainment and new-found sense of community to the sport industry.

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