Leinster and Ulster piling on the fans

Leinster and Ulster are piling on fans on their social media profiles just over one week out from the first ever All Ireland Heineken Cup final.  Between the two sides they now have over 110,000 fans on Facebook, 30,000 more than the capacity of Twickenham Stadium where the final will be held on May 19th.

Before the quarter finals of the tournament we looked at the Province’s social media numbers in Sport for Business Weekly (Issue 11).  At that time Leinster had 69,628 Facebook Fans and 28,756 Twitter followers.  Those numbers have now grown to 76,168 (an increase of 9.4% in just over two months) and 36,143 (an increase of 25.6%).

Ulster’s increase in numbers is even more marked, albeit off a lower base.  They have risen 35% to a figure of 18,721 Twitter followers and 12.8% to 33,671 followers on Facebook.

All four provinces are using social media not only for this season but to promote season tickets for next year as well.

The numbers are modest in comparison to world soccer where Barcelona have 30 million fans on Facebook, but they do provide a solid base and one which can become a revenue generator for them.

AC Milan recently ran a campaign as they neared 10 million fans.  They produced t-shirts in partnership with Adidas which were sold at a cost of €12 and which marked the virtual milestone in a real world, real money way.

At present the greater value for sport in social media is the increased engagement with the fans but those who do it well are also likely to make a profit in time.

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