When Irish people think of September, there has always been just one thing on their mind, GAA.
It is likely that we will still see some All Ireland Finals played in the first month back after the school holidays, though the changing calendar within the GAA means that the Hurling and Football Finals will be taking place earlier and while next year may still have the Football Final in the month this is the last year in which they will dominate this month to such an extent.
September was a full 30 days of building excitement, watching games seeing Galway end their drought, Cork get back on top in Camogie and Dublin secure a three in a row in Football before doubling up in front of a record attendance and record TV audience in the Ladies Football Final.
However, as ever, there is more to Irish sport than just one single interest.
September was a month that began with the build-up to Mayo vs Dublin after their Semi-Final wins and a hiccup for the Irish national soccer team after dropped points against Serbia and Georgia. Thankfully that was just that, a hiccup, and the month ended with a British Masters win for Paul Dunne, Gold for Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan in Rowing and a Badminton win for Nhat Nguyen and Paul Reynolds in the Polish Open.
So how did all that drama unfold in terms of social media?
Firstly, a quick look at the overall numbers. On average, Irish sporting bodies posted 4.25 posts on Twitter, 2.39 on Facebook and 0.49 on Instagram. The average engagement was 0.028% on Twitter, 0.15% on Facebook, and despite its low use, 2.57% on Instagram.
Photo and video were the most popular post types for engagement with photo the most widely used followed by links and status, despite the latter two’s low engagement rates.
Looking at the post with the highest engagement numbers and rate. Given their audience size, it is no surprise that the FAI, GAA and Irish Rugby dominate in the engagement numbers.
Competitions, votes and a special remembrance saw 16.4k, 9.14k and 8.77k people interact, the totals versus the respective audience being 5.70%, 7.27% and 4.24%.
When you look at the engagement rate versus the audience, then Rowing Ireland dominate as they managed to reach 41.7% of their Instagram audience for their post on the Golds for Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan
The success of the Ireland Rowing team was reflected in online social growth of 2.15%. The most of the National Governing Bodies and an indication that while numbers can be considered a vanity metric, if they are linked to success and the story around it then it still should be monitored.
Irish Rugby leads the way with an audience of 1.45M ahead of Cricket Ireland on 698k, GAA 662k, and the FAI, 562k. There are now 14 Irish sporting bodies with an audience greater than 30,000.
Four of the Governing Bodies saw small drops in their audience on Facebook though Go Racing made the most of its flagship Champions’ Weekend this month showing the biggest growth across all social media.
The FAI saw the biggest growth on Twitter
On the content front, the GAA, as always, leads the way with 878 posts. 63% of these came on Twitter with just 20 (2.5%) on Instagram. Cycling Ireland meanwhile was the next biggest content producer with 474 posts, of which an impressive 23.6% were on Instagram.
Twitter still appears to be the channel of choice for a lot of NGB’s and it will be interesting to see if the potential shift to 280 characters removes the focus on short snappy updates with low engagement.
Despite its low engagement, over 70% of the social posts created by Hockey, Cricket Ireland and Go Racing were on Twitter.
On the amplification front, the FAI led the way with 18.4k retweets and shares, almost 4k more than the GAA and double that of the game-less Irish Rugby. Go Racing and Swim Ireland broke the 2k and 1k mark respectively for sharing to complete the top 5.
Finally, as always we finish up with the mentions on Twitter and who is driving the conversation on behalf of the Sporting bodies. Scott Hogan was a key man for the FAI with a total engagement of 3.79k celebrating his call-up while Once Upon A Time star had 1.58k interactions on his Come on Ireland post.
Looking at audience size, BBC, FIFA and Sky News all mentioned the FAI while the ICC and their 6.43M audience mentioned Cricket Ireland
This report is produced for Sport for Business by Sportego. If you have any questions or would like your organisation added please email Trev@sportego.ie