Yesterday I came across the interesting website Sports Fan Graph, which basically is a chart of how many fans uses their prospective team's social media. It's a beauty contest to see which teams have the most fans on the internet, using both twitter and facebook.
The first thing I noticed is that the soccer team FC Barcelona is the most popular team in the world, with over 20.3 million fans either liking them on facebook or following the team on twitter. That probably is a surprise to Americans, but it really didn't come as too big of a shock to me. I follow soccer somewhat, and realize how popular the sport is amongst the rest of the world. However it was a bit surprising to notice eight of the 10 most popular teams in the world according to Sports Fan Graph are soccer teams. The only non-soccer teams were the Los Angeles Lakers (4th) and Boston Celtics (9th). I was also surprised that the two non-soccer teams to make the top 10 list are NBA teams. I would have figured the New York Yankees or Dallas Cowboys would have ranked higher.
But how did the local teams match up in their perspective leagues? The Sports Fan Graph has nearly any and every league that a team may be in.
The Kansas City Royals came in at 26th place out of 30 teams for most facebook/twitter fans, with roughly 265,000 fans. 26th doesn't surprise this writer, as we know Kansas City is a small market and the team has struggled mightily for the better part of 15 years. The range goes from the Yankees with 4.5 million fans all the way down to the Washington Nationals, with just under 100,000 fans. Ironically the LSU baseball team has more fans on social networks than the bottom three major league baseball teams.
Though the Chiefs faired better, I was surprised to see Kansas City finish just 21st out of 32 NFL teams for most amount of fans. Kansas City has around 460,000 fans between the two social media giants, predominately all of them via facebook. Dallas leads the way with 3.1 million fans, while the St. Louis Rams pull up the rear with just 106,000 fans.
The other professional team in Kansas City, Sporting Kansas City has about 51,000 fans accoring to Sports Fan Graph, which makes them 11th amongst Major League Soccer (MLS) teams. The Seattle Sounders trump every other U.S. soccer team with nearly 230,000 fans.
Kansas paves the way for college basketball fans with 100,225 on facebook alone, that nearly doubles second place Illinois. Kansas State and Missouri basketball fans are nearly non-existant using either social media tool. College basketball as a whole doesn't seem to use social media to the extent of other sports.
Switching over to college football, Michigan sets the tone with over 626,000 fans, while KU is a very respectable eighth overall with over 51,000 fans. Missouri sits 18th in the college football standings, while Kansas State is 44th. Neither the Tigers or Wildcats football teams seem to have much of a following on Twitter.
What I take from all of this is how schools utilize social media much better than others when it comes to getting information out to excite fans. Some schools (and teams) embrace twitter and facebook, while others are not so quick to jump on the bandwagon. Obviously those numbers are probably fluid as they can change daily, but it's still interesting to see how teams stack up against the competition with the use of technology. It's not going anyway any time soon, and the sooner teams realize that, the more it will help them in the long term.