Irish Sport Social Report

Irish Sport Social Report
5, December 2016 Trevor Keane

American novelist Norman Mailer once said “It’s not the sentiments of men which make history but their actions.” As a business that track sentiments, we have to agree. Good content becomes great content when the actions behind it is historic.

This month we include Horse Sport Ireland, Sport Ireland and Tennis Ireland, taking the number of sporting bodies we now track to 20.


November 2016 will go down in history for a number of reasons, it was a month when Donald Trump defied the odds to become US President, when Conor McGregor showed that the Irish really were taking over as he become a two-weight champion in UFC and it was also the month when Irish rugby ended their 111 year wait to beat the All-Blacks.

Their stunning success in Chicago was an historic occasion. One for folklore; a real ‘I was there’ moment in Irish Sport, up there with the Ray Houghton goal in Stuggart, when Paul McGrath turned into 11 men and when Katie Taylor won gold in London. The result on the field deserves its place in folklore but there are some online stats that won’t make tales by a fire in the future but need to be told.

In November, Irish Rugby became the first Irish sporting body to achieve social engagement over 1 million. They had growth of over 247% on the previous month; they became a global phenomenon. Their most influencing mentions came from JK Rowling, Piers Morgan, Vice President Biden and the Gazzetta in Italy. Harry Potter author Rowling’s congratulatory tweet to Ireland led to 1.59k retweets and 6.71k likes


It made for an impression’s reach, or eyeballs on Irish rugby, of almost 94m. Hugely impressive and 10 times more than that of their nearest rivals, the FAI.


Surprisingly, given the content around the game, the emotional Foley 8 pre-game, stands filled with Irish support and superb scores from Jordi Murphy, CJ Stander, Simon Zebo, Robbie Henshaw or Conor Murray, the most engaging posts from November was the Liam Neeson voiced world cup bid promo.

The post managed 17% engagement on Facebook, the same amount as what Basketball Ireland achieved for their Instagram announcement that Ireland had won the bid to host the 2017 FIBA Women’s U18 European Championship.


While larger governing bodies catch the headlines; smaller can sometimes struggle for space without major international tournaments. That is why it was fantastic to see both Irish Badminton and Gymnastic Ireland enjoy superb Novembers. Gymnastic Ireland increased their social activity by 183% in November and had an average engagement rate of 0.90 per post, the highest of them all, while Badminton Ireland saw social engagement increase by almost 25%, despite a drop in the number of posts.



So what type of content works well for Irish sport? Irish sporting bodies favour photos above all else with on average 3.20 posts per day. The average engagement rate for pictures across all the sporting bodies is 0.33%, just under half the 0.62% engagement rate video achieves.

As you would expect links and status updates struggle to make an impact on their audiences; showing the importance of visuals. Links had the lowest engagement with 0.037%, marginally ahead of status updates at 0.039%.


With December now upon us, the time for sporting bodies to reflect is here. Pats on the back are due but the plans put into action for next year will ensure that the continued social growth of Irish sport.

This report and the data included is produced by and first appeared exclusively on


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