Each Tuesday in 2014 Sport for Business will bring you stories about sport and technology, whether that will be in sports performance or sports media such as today’s story about the dominance of sport in US TV related social media activity.
Where the US leads, Europe inevitably follows quickly and the figures released by ESPN over the holiday period paint a picture that suggests any brand looking to be involved in social media marketing, and who isn’t, needs to be engaged with sport, whether at international or local level.
ESPN is a very big player in US sport. It carried last night’s spectacular conclusion to the BCS College football Championship where Florida State came from behind to score a winning touchdown over one time 500/1 underdogs Auburn with 13 seconds on the clock.
That alone will drive content numbers for January, as anyone who was on Twitter last night will testify. And when it comes to the figures released by ESPN for November 2013, those content numbers are quite staggering.
- The station and its various formats’ digital output accounted for 35% of all sports category usage across computers, smartphones and tablets in November, more than the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 sports properties combined (Yahoo! Sports-NBC Sports Network, NFL Internet Group, and Bleacher Report-Turner Sports Network), according to comScore Multi-Platform data.
- November was a record-setting month for ESPN mobile content, which generated 4.1 billion minutes of usage on mobile devices, an all-time high for any property in the sports category.
To put that in context, 4.1 billion minutes would take us 7,800 years into the future if watched consecutively. And that was just in one month, on one channel, on mobile.
- Across platforms, ESPN reached 68.2 million fans in November.
- 47.3 million of those used ESPN mobile properties. This was the third consecutive month in which more unique people accessed ESPN content on mobile devices than on computers (39.5 million).
- 42% of ESPN’s unique users – 28.6 million people – exclusively accessed content on smartphones and tablets, and 54% of all time spent with ESPN digital content came from mobile device users.
- This stacks up with research from the UK which shows that ‘second screen’ devices are now the first port of call for news and entertainment among the 18-25 category of consumers.
- Fans watched 345.3 million digital video clips on ESPN platforms in November. 75% of clips were viewed on computers, 17% on mobile devices and 6% on connected TVs.
- Viewers spent 711 million minutes with WatchESPN and ESPN3 live and on-demand programming across all platforms, up 91% from last November.
- ESPN networks and ABC sports television content generated 14.2 million tweets in November, 17% of all TV-related activity during the month. ESPN was the fifth most-social TV network, with 1.96 million unique users sending 7.7 million tweets about ESPN content. ESPN2 was the sixth most-social network with 2.1 million tweets from 856,000 unique authors.2 Other key social media metrics:
- ESPN counted 26.5 million unique followers across all ESPN Twitter accounts in November.
- ESPN’s Twitter accounts were retweeted or favorited 7.1 million times during the month, the highest monthly number to date in 2013.3
- 20.2 million people were reached by ESPN page content on Facebook; 18.6 million by SportsCenter page content.
- 2.6 million people engaged with the ESPN Facebook page (liked a post, shared a story, left a comment), and 2.6 million also engaged with the SportsCenter page.
These numbers suggest that twitter is strongly outperforming facebook when it comes to sport and ought to be borne in mind when marketing campaigns around sport are being pulled together.
- ESPN videos were viewed 39.2 million times on YouTube, up 66% from a year ago.
Next week in our Technology Tuesday slot we will look at developments here and overseas in stadium wifi and we will also pick up on stories to emerge from Thursday’s Business of Sports Science Conference at the RDS. For now though, let’s add to those 4.1 billion minutes with a clip from last night’s stunning game in the US, on ESPN of course…