Intro

The Sport Social Media Index is an annual league table of all 148 British professional football, rugby and cricket teams, ranked according to the best use of social media by their official club channels. Launched in 2013, the annual Index is compiled by measuring the social media performance of each team based, not just on an algorithm, but research from a team of seven people who looked at eight social networks. The data was analysed by a panel of three judges who presided over the final results.

The Index, produced by PR and social media agency Umpf – and partnered once again by William Hill – includes an overall table of all 148 teams ranked top to bottom, plus nine additional tables showing rankings based on each sporting league based on each sporting league.

Last year, Premier League Leicester City topped the overall 2014 Sport Social Media Index, but this year Ipswich Town from the Championship improved on last year’s third spot by topping the 148-team league (see case study, below).

Other notable inclusions in this year’s top ten included Leeds Rhinos, who climbed an impressive 46 places on last year and Wycombe Wanderers FC, who continue to impress with their strong social media presence, finishing second this year.

Congratulations to Ipswich (Championship), Harlequins (Premiership Rugby), Walsall (League One), Wycombe (League Two), Heart of Midlothian (SPFL), Leeds Rhinos (Super League), Leicester (Premier League), Hampshire (CC Div One) and Gloucestershire (CC Div Two) who topped the table for best social media performance in their respective leagues.

There was an overall 4.3% improvement in the average team score across the 148 teams, from 55.6 last year to 59.9 this year. The average score of the top ten clubs improved by 6.9% from 68.7 to 75.6 this year from a possible maximum score of 100.

Tables

Click the purple button for the full Sport Social Media Index ranking of all 148 clubs.
  The green buttons represent the rankings league by league. 
The documents will open into a printable PDF.

Overall league table

Methodology

There are three elements to our methodology – with a maximum score of 100 being attainable. The first element (which accounted for 70% of the total score) was a full analysis of each team’s social channels. The analysis uses data from the 1st August 2015 to the 1st September 2015.

Scores given at this stage took into account the breadth of official social channels including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. The scores also took into account community growth and engagement on Twitter and Facebook, weighted fairly to reflect the number of fans or followers the accounts already had.

Other considerations at this stage included a score for the breadth of multimedia content posted on Twitter and Facebook, including video, images, audio, official apps and external links.

The second element to our methodology was the judges’ scoring. Judges marked each team and the combined total from the judges were added together and averaged to give a final additional score for each team. This element accounted for a maximum 30% of the total scoring.

The final element to our methodology was the implementation of ‘Red Card’ penalties: 2.5% was deducted from the final score for each social media malpractice, including duplicate content, failure to use hashtags, idle periods of four or more days as well as repeated spelling and grammar mistakes.

This grand total was used to rank the teams in the final 2015 Sport Social Media Index.

Case Studies

Ipswich

Climbing two places on last year to take the top spot, Ipswich scored an impressive 79.5 out of a possible 100 – the highest score the Index has seen in the three years it has run.

Judges praised the club’s breadth of social channels and impressive community growth over the course of the year. The panel were also impressed with the variety of media used and the use of watermarks to cross-promote the club’s social channels.

Judges acknowledged the club’s excellent use of behind-the-scenes video content and high community engagement rates, which is one of the primary reasons Ipswich scored so highly this year.

Leeds Rhinos

Leeds Rhinos are the highest-ranking non-football team in this year’s table, after climbing an impressive 46 places to take third place in this year’s Index.

The judges praised the variety of content on the club’s social pages and breadth of channels whilst noting the club’s significant audience growth over the course of the year.

The club impressed the panel with its blend of conversational and commercial messaging – a difficult balance to strike.

Wycombe

Wycombe Wanderers FC once again impressed the judges with their strong social media presence this year, finally securing a coveted place in the top ten after placing 19th last year.

Although the club has a relatively modest social media fanbase compared with the likes of the Premiership and Championship football teams, the content it produces consistently drives a very high level of audience engagement - one of the main reasons for their high score of 78.6.

Judges

  • Amy Byard

    SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT MANAGER, UMPF

    Amy is a PR and Social Media Account Manager at Umpf, with a keen interest in data analysis. She has proven experience compiling indices and league tables based on qualitative and quantitative data. Amy ranked #14 in The Drum’s 30 Women in Digital Under 30 2013.

  • Michael Sheehan

    Social Media Customer Experience Manager at William Hill Online

    Michael is the Social Media Customer Experience Manager at William Hill Online, currently based in their Gibraltar office he is involved in defining the policies and practices that enable William Hill employees to engage with customers through Social Media.

  • ADRIAN JOHNSON

    MD, PR and social media agency, Umpf

    Adrian Johnson is MD and founder of PR and social media agency, Umpf. He has over 17 years’ experience in the sector.