As a rabid Kentucky basketball fan, I couldn’t help but chuckle when I saw the results of a new study revealing that among thousands of sports enthusiasts, basketball fans are the most engaged in social media.
According to the 2011 Catalyst Fan Engagement Study, NCAA basketball fans, in particular, are the most plugged-in of all, followed by fans of the NBA. The survey also showed that basketball fans are most likely to use Twitter, YouTube and mobile solutions.
This new research investigated the social media attitudes and usage habits of more than 2,000 fans of the NFL, NBA, MLB, and college football and basketball, and the findings may well be worth a few minutes of your time.
For instance, the study also found that sports fans who follow their favorite athletes on Facebook or Twitter are 55 percent more likely to purchase a brand if an athlete mentions it on one of those channels. This is especially true for 18- to 34-year-olds, non-white fans and for fans with children at home. (These results echo an earlier study which concluded that when done right, endorsed social media messages can deliver monumental performance lifts.)
In addition, the data from Catalyst indicates that young, non-white fans interact with their favorite athletes, teams, sports and other fans, through mobile devices and social media channels more than any other group. These fans are also more likely to use social media to meet like-minded people and to share information and pictures with other fans.
Among the other highlights:
- Facebook is the dominant social media source, but it isn’t necessarily the most influential. (Eighty percent of fans use Facebook, 30 percent use YouTube, and 23 percent use Twitter.)
- Fans who use location-based services are more likely to participate in fantasy leagues, purchase brands mentioned by athletes, and claim they’ve become bigger fans since they started following their favorite sports teams on social media channels.
“Social media is an increasingly powerful tool for marketers to reach sports fans in a very authentic way,” said Bret Werner, Managing Partner, Catalyst Public Relations. “Fans who use social media are more passionate and engaged with their favorite sports, teams and especially athletes. The strategic alignment of attributes between brands and athletes – ensuring relevancy and authenticity – will have a greater impact on driving purchase.”