In December 2019, the 29 organisations analysed as part of the monthly Sport for Business / Olytico analysis, all members of Sport for Business, published over 5,400 social media posts across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, a decrease of 31 per cent on November but not unexpected given the quieter end to the month.

The 5,460 posts analysed generated almost 1.4 million engagements in the form of likes, shares, comments, and retweets.

The seasonal drop mirrors the decrease during the same period in 2018, but year on year, there has been a significant increase in activity – with double-figure increases on a like for like basis across the community of Irish sport.

Instagram continues to be the main driver of engagement, with over 1 million likes and comments generated – representing 71 per cent of the total engagement across all three platforms.  This relative figure is unchanged since November.

While the big three of Irish Rugby, the FAI, and the GAA all feature prominently in the rankings in December, the trend of smaller sporting organisations punching above their weight continued.

Most notable was Athletics Ireland following the medal success of Irish Athletes at the European Cross Country Championships.  The most engaged with post on Twitter during the month was theirs celebrating the U20 bronze medallist, Efrem Gidey.

Elsewhere, Leinster Rugby, Ulster Rugby, and Team Ireland Equestrian all featured prominently through the month.

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.


December 2019 Highlights on Twitter

For the second month running, the FAI generated the highest engagement per post on Twitter, but like Irish Hockey in November, the major move for December came from a challenger sport in the shape of Athletics Ireland.

They claimed the second spot in the rankings last month.  Central to their success was the performance of the Irish team at the European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon on December 8th.

The haul of four medals represented Ireland’s best-ever performance at the Championships, and the work of their social media team – keeping fans updated on the success, sharing great photos, videos, and interviews – was very well received by their followers on Twitter. It also resulted in their biggest single-day increase in followers.

The video interview with an elated (and exhausted) Efrem Gidey following his bronze medal-winning run was the most engaged with post published by any of the 29 organisations on Twitter in December – with over 200 retweets, 2,900 likes and 91,000 video views.

A busy month of Guinness PRO14 and Heineken Champions Cup action, including provincial head to heads and an incredible second hat trick of the season for Gary Ringrose gave Leinster Rugby plenty to tweet about, so it was little surprise to see them top the list of most active organisations on Twitter, followed closely by Basketball Ireland for the second month running.

Another notable mover in December was Swim Ireland, who jumped to 6th position in the most active list. They were helped in no small part by the success of the Irish Team at the European Short Course Swimming Championships in Glasgow.

An incredible week in the pool saw the team claim two bronze medals, feature in nine finals, and record a staggering 16 new Irish Senior Records.

Read the thoughts of the LGFA’s Social Media Maven Jackie Cahill in our new series


December 2019 Highlights on Facebook

Ulster Rugby topped the engagement per post rankings for the first time in December. Their 81 posts generated over 40,000 engagements in the form of likes, shares, and comments.
These included the single most engaged with post on Facebook in December – a ticket giveaway for the interprovincial derby with Munster at Kingspan Stadium on January 3rd.
Rugby organisations dominated engagement in December, occupying the top three spots. For Irish Rugby, the announcement of the Lions Tour itinerary for South Africa in 2021 was the most engaged-with content for their fans, while Connacht Rugby’s thrilling comeback against Gloucester in the Heineken Champions Cup was their top post of the month, with over 2,800 engagements.
Leinster Rugby swapped places with The GAA as the two most active organisations on Facebook in December, with Team Ireland Equestrian breaking into the Top Three, helped by a steady stream of success for Ireland at Olympia in London.
Read the thoughts of AIB’s Social Media Maven Rob O’Leary in our new series

December 2019 Highlights on Instagram

The GAA opted for quality over quantity on Instagram in December. Despite only posting six times throughout the month, they maintained their position at the top of the engagement rankings, and for the second month in a row, generated over 5,000 engagements per post.

These included great content from the 2019 PwC All-Stars Tour Game hosted by Abu Dhabi Na Fianna GAA Club. A strong appetite exists from their fans for more content on the platform in 2020.

Irish rugby and the FAI ranked second and third (a reversal from November), and the four Irish provincial rugby teams once again followed them.

Next up was Irish Hockey, who, like the GAA, were not overly active in December with just eight posts but who had plenty to celebrate including two Irish clubs winning the European Hockey Federation Club of the Year, and Olympic qualification being named the “Magic Moment” of the year at the Irish Independent Sportstar Awards.

The four Irish provincial rugby teams, led by Leinster with 70 posts, were the most active accounts on Instagram in December, but it was Irish Rugby who published the single most engaged with post on the network.

It highlighted their work with Focus Ireland, as players took to the streets of Dublin in December to help raise funds for the charity.

Read the thoughts of the GAA’s Social Media Maven Lisa Hayden in our new series

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 have also started a short series highlighting the work of some of our Social Media Mavens across our sports and business membership.  
Those that we feature will come together for a springtime Members Round Table looking to encourage even greater excellence in what we do.
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