Irish Sport on Social Media Report – March 2020

As the world of sport learns to adapt to the COVID-19 era, March’s analysis shows an unsurprising fall in the level of activity and engagements across social media.

Much as in sport we learn more from defeat than from victory, that makes the analysis of this months data particularly interesting.

With no live sport to showcase, rights holders have though become increasingly creative to continue their engagement with fans, and many are doing so to great effect.

In March 2020, the 29 organisations analysed as part of the monthly Sport for Business / Olytico analysis, all members of Sport for Business, published over 6,400 social media posts across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, a decrease of 15% on February.

In addition, the 6,461 posts analysed generated close to 1.4 million engagements in the form of likes, shares, comments, and retweets, representing a 39% decrease month on month.

Instagram continues to be the main driver of engagement with just under 990,000 likes and comments generated – representing 71 per cent of the total engagement across all three platforms.

Despite the postponement of the final rounds of the Guinness 6 Nations, it was another excellent month for Irish Rugby topping the charts for engagement across all three platforms, with their St. Patrick’s Day post proving to be particularly popular.

In the infographics below, we have ranked each of the organisations across a range of metrics on each network, including the most active, the most engaged, and the most engaging content.

It’s important to note that this analysis is based on publicly available data. It doesn’t include any analysis or insight on paid or promoted content.

 March 2020 Highlights on Twitter


There was no change at the Top of the Most Active rankings on Twitter in March, with the GAA, Ladies Football and Basketball Ireland occupying the top three positions respectively.

For context, although the volume of Tweets was down month on month for all three, the drop for the GAA was less than 10% – with the GAANOW Rewind series proving very popular.

Their tribute to legendary Offaly footballer Matt Connor racked up 91,000 views and over 700 likes, retweet and replies.

The most engaged rankings were also unchanged, with the Top five maintaining their position from February.

However, the standout insight was that for each of the top five, their engagement per post increased relative to February, despite the lack of live sporting action.

It suggests an increased demand from fans for content on the platform, and that each organisation is working hard to continue providing quality content to their supporters.


March 2020 Highlights on Facebook

As they did on Twitter, the GAA maintained their position as the most active sporting organisation in Ireland on Facebook in March.

There was some live action early in March, along with the AIB GAA Club Player of the Year Awards, but the most engaging content was published later in the month with GAANOW Rewind and GAA Glory Days.

A video of the 1989 All Ireland Hurling Semi-Final win for Antrim over Offaly was viewed over 90,000 times and generated almost 2,000 likes, shares and comments.

Basketball Ireland bucked the trend by increasing their volume of content posted on Facebook compared to February. This included a 28 Day challenge, the first video watched over 13,000 times by fans and generating over 400 engagements.

There was no change at the top of the engagement rankings, with Irish Rugby, Ulster Rugby and the FAI making up the top three. For Irish Rugby, this included the most engaged with content of the month, the same positive patriotic Saint Patrick’s Day post – on Facebook, it generated almost 7,000 engagements.

Cricket Ireland were another organisation to increase both their volume of content compared to February, and the level of engagement per post, suggesting a strong appetite amongst their 588,000 Facebook fans for content.

In addition to their Rewind Series of classic cricket moments, a free downloadable colouring book called Colouring Cricket generated a very positive response from fans.


March 2020 Highlights on Instagram

For the second month in a row, Athletics Ireland were the most active account on Instagram, publishing 76 posts.

This included a celebration of Sonia O’Sullivan’s 4km and 8km double at the World Cross Country Championships in 1998 – their most popular content of the month with over 900 likes.

Instagram continues to be a strong engagement platform for rugby in Ireland, with the IRFU and all four provinces in the top ten. They were joined by the FAI, the Ladies Gaelic Football Association, Horse Racing Ireland and Athletics Ireland.

It was a clean sweep for the IRFU in the engagement stakes, with their St Patrick’s Day content and a post commemorating Brian O’Driscoll’s Parisian hat-trick in 2000 sitting in first and second place, both having generated close to 17,000 likes or comments.

If you would like to be part of the Sport for Business community and be added to the list, email us today and let’s see what is possible.

If you would like a more detailed analysis of your social media activity, contact

Sport for Business, Olytico and Twitter hosted the best part of 150 professionals from across the Sport for Business network in October 2019 at our first Irish Sport on Social Media Conference.  The feedback was great and we are certainly looking at making this into an annual event.  

We are also looking at hosting an online session with the Olytico team to discuss Irish Sport on Social Media in the context of a world without sport.  Watch out in the Daily Digest for further details.

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