This weekend provided one of the greatest upsets in Rugby union history. Japan beat the 2 time world cup winners, the Springboks. The odds were heavily stacked against Japan and many of the people who bet on Japan to win did so out of insanity or defiance. A great game none-the-less and many will say that Japan rightly outplayed the mighty Boks and deserved the win. Such is the proverbial “bounce of the ball.”
What was of staggering interest to us was the reactions of individuals on social media. The rugby world cup 2015 Facebook page has surpassed 3 million followers and immediately after the final whistle, the meme’s started flying in and twitter was ablaze. #RWC2015 trended all day. Naturally there was some very upset die hard Bok supporters and there was the opposite spectrum of staunch Bok backers.
Most sporting franchises now rely heavily on social media to keep in touch with their supporters and followers. News, team updates and sponsorship deals are all published on these platforms, more often than on conventional channels these days. To date the 2015 rugby world cup has engaged 15 million people on Facebook, 300 000 on Instagram and added a mind bending total of 181 million page impressions in 4 different languages. The implications stretch much further than just the franchise though. Poor Mr Meyer (Springbok coach) has taken a serious beating on social media. A lot of people have been calling for his scalp and he might not make it past the World Cup and of course, it’s stretched to the players too. Many of the player’s credentials and talents are being questioned and even their characters unfortunately.
There were some scathing attacks on individuals and it proves the ugliness that can sometimes populate but there was also some heartfelt condolences and support from all over the world for the Boks, even from Japanese supporters.
That is the most impressive part of the sporting outcome, the unison, good or bad, of the conversation. A global voice on the outcome of a singular event. The reach no longer just pertains to a single sporting code. It now stretches globally and even to “non-rugby followers.” To date the official RWC 2015 app has been downloaded by 1.5 million people and provides geo-rich content to it’s users, all with the help of social media metrics.
It is proving to also be a powerful psychological tool for coaching staff and players, teams can draw inspiration from well wishes and messages from the public. There are many applications that can and are being used to bolster the ever increasing competiveness of professional sports franchises and athletes.
As always social media is still a doubled edged sword and there is some bad to come out of it but again the good always outweighs the bad.
The power of social media is ever increasing and it’s no longer just about “conversations.” It has so many other applications and it truly is empowering people to stay better connected, even if it is just with your favourite sports team.
We’d love to hear if you get involved in sporting conversations on social media platforms, you can contact us here or on our various social media platforms.