Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Fan engagement is complex and rewarding

By Brad Rees, Mediacells CEO

Engaging fans does not always equate with a positive perception but, when clubs get it right, it can be hugely rewarding.

Mediacells analysed 80,000 fan-centred tweets attracting 275 million engagements across the 20 English Premier League clubs in the 2020/21 season. We then applied an engagements-per-post* benchmark to produce a definitive Top 50 ranking.

Highlights

• A step change in fan engagement started immediately upon the official announcement of a European Super League [ESL].

• 79% of British football fans oppose the ESL, according to a snap YouGov poll shortly after the announcement was made on April 18.

• The direction of fan sentiment in #ESL related official EPL club posts chime with the above poll insights.

• Manchester United have the most entries [12] in the Top 50 while Liverpool attract more fan engagement [1.8m] from fewer tweets. [See engagement league table on page 21].

• Donald Trump may be permanently suspended from Twitter but it was his protest tweet ‘STOP THE COUNT’ which provided Southampton Football Club with the inspiration for the most engaging tweet of the season, using the Saints’ fleeting top-of-the-table dominance.

• The same kind of admin banter was deployed by Wolves during the white heat of the ESL debacle, imagining the 2018/19 Premier League season without the Big Six and realising they would have been ‘champions’.

• Emotions ran high right up until the last fortnight of the season when bereaved Liverpool goalkeeper, Alisson, headed the winner in the fifth minute of added time. Celebrations on the official Liverpool Twitter account were received by many fans as dedication to the Brazilian’s father, Jose, who drowned in a lake near his house earlier in the season.

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