Business Technology

The winners and losers of the Rugby World Cup 2015 – based on social media scores

4 min read

14 September 2015

Former deputy editor

The Rugby World Cup 2015 is set to be a big boon for British businesses, but in a world where sport and entrepreneurship are increasingly aligned, which teams are the winners and losers when it comes to social media activity?

The sports industry is a powerful business sector in its own right – just look at the Premier League, which has generated revenue of more than £3bn for the first time.

Elsewhere, teams including Manchester United, Chelsea and Crystal Palace have been seen partnering third party companies to generate more engagement among fans and team members alike.

The next big global sporting event to take place will be the Rugby World Cup, which kicks off in England on 18 September. With some 466,000 rugby lovers expected to visit from overseas, the UK economy is set to secure £2.2bn from tourism.

Of course, while sports have an impact on business, each sporting team is, ultimately, a business.

And we all know that a social presence is increasingly important to companies of all shapes and sizes – regardless of sector.

With that in mind, if we calculated the respective social media presences of the teams competing in the Rugby World Cup, it’d be interesting to see where they would be placed – wouldn’t it?

Charging into the Rugby World Cup could make a champion of your business

It just so happens that marketing technology provider RadiumOne has tracked exactly that, generating a score based on total audience across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Google+, so we’ve highlighted the winners and losers below.

It turns out that New Zealand was victorious, charging to glory with an army of 4.51m followers – almost double that of second-placed England, which is supported by 2.26m followers. Meanwhile South Africa completed the top three on 1.38m, followed by Ireland with under one million on 890,000.

Reviewing the aforementioned teams in terms of actual world ranking, however, and New Zealand is still dominant, while England falls to fourth, South Africa drops to fifth and Ireland climbs to second.

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Rupert Staines, RadiumOne’s European MD, said: “Former England coach, Sir Clive Woodward recently said social media was the teams’ “new enemy” in terms of squad harmony, but engaging the fan community socially is a hugely powerful ‘sixteenth man’ for any team and the brands supporting them.”

“The Social Score shows the relative reach of each nation’s team and reflects the potential audience it can unlock for the official bodies, teams, sponsors and commercial partners.”

Back to the social ranking and Australia is in fifth on 835,000 followers, Wales is in sixth with 744,000 followers and USA, which has no YouTube presence, is in seventh with 620,000 – a stark contrast from its actual world ranking of 16.

“Every tournament has a dark horse and this time it’s the USA – the home of social media – who’ve been making strong use of social platforms to engage with fans” added Staines.

France, Italy and Scotland completed the top ten in eighth, ninth and tenth spots, with 495,000, 422,500 and 298,000 followers respectively. Comparably, world rankings are seven, 14 and 12.

The rankings of the social networks, meanwhile, are Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and YouTube, with a respective rugby follower share of 8.5m, 2.5m, 1.4m, 797,000 and 182,000.