As Live Sports Return, Twitter Activity Heats Up

The social network detailed surges in related tweets

Even sports that have not yet resumed action are seeing heavy Twitter activity - Credit by Twitter
Headshot of David Cohen

As live sports began to return from their pandemic-spurred suspensions, the action on Twitter started to heat up, as well.

The social network said in a blog post that tweets about the National Women’s Soccer League skyrocketed by 244% in June compared with May as players returned to the pitch.

Similar surges were experienced by Nascar (a 254% acceleration over the same time period) and UFC (tweets up 272% in May versus April) as they returned to the track and the octagon, respectively.

Even sports that have not yet resumed action are seeing heavy Twitter activity.

The National Basketball Association is gearing up for a return to play later this month, but 10-episode documentary The Last Dance—which aired on ESPN and chronicled the Chicago Bulls during the 1997-98 season, the last championship of the dynasty led by superstar Michael Jordan and head coach Phil Jackson—generated 5.9 million video view per day on Twitter, according to Tubular Labs, 4 million more than the next-highest platform.

And while the National Football League schedule has not yet been altered by the pandemic, the NFL Draft went virtual by necessity, with Tubular Labs saying that there were 171 million video views on Twitter for related content in April, more than any other platform.

Even exhibition contests performed well on the social network, as golf event The March: Champions for Charity in May—featuring Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods—generated 12 times more conversation than the last PGA Tour event before play was suspended in March.

Twitter said in its blog post, “It’s no surprise that communities across the country are welcoming sports back with open arms (and lots of tweets). For many, the return of sports brings a sense of normalcy—67% of U.S. fans see sports as a way to engage in something familiar (according to the ESPN Coronavirus Lockdown Fan Study) … Sports are already one of the biggest opportunities to build cultural relevance—and with its historic relaunch, the opportunity is greater than ever. And believe us, cultural relevance matters … So, while stadiums might be quiet this opening day, Twitter certainly won’t be.”


david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.
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