EXCLUSIVE – The Olympic Social Media Effect

August 23, 2016

For International Federations the Olympic Games is a vital two weeks to showcase their sport. Usually up against sport from every corner of the globe, at the Olympics they have the world’s attention, where fans engage with their sport in huge numbers, often for the first time.

Social media is a vital weapon for IFs, it’s a direct link to fans, and potential sponsors are looking for IFs talking to as many people as possible.

The Olympics is a huge chance to boost those numbers – with their sports in the global spotlight for 2 weeks.

iSportconnect have broken down the pre and post-Rio Numbers – with the average IF increasing their Facebook following by 6%, and their Twitter following by 4%.

Golf gets the Gold

With golf making its first Olympic appearance in 112 years, “Olympic Golf” saw an obvious increase in social media followers, with a 144% increase in Facebook likes and 91% increase in Twitter followers. This was always likely to happen given the federation are a recent addition, and many would start to follow as the tournament in Rio got underway. Golf is also well supported around the world, its large fan base have now started to join the Olympic movement.

Archery hits the Silver

The second placed IF in terms of overall growth was World Archery, who increased their Facebook likes by 41%. They started on 150,922 and by the closing ceremony they were up to 213,270. World Archery also got a respectable return on their Twitter following, gaining 2000 new followers – a rise of 8%.

Shooting fires for bronze

The third biggest success saw the International Shooting Sport Federation jump 11% on their Facebook likes and 9% on their Twitter following. That 11% Facebook increase amounts to a new audience of 41,150, which adds up to 360,883 in total. The Twitter following has gone from 12,000 to 13,100 – so not too shabby either.

And the rest

FIFA and FIBA were the two big IFs in terms of social following heading into Rio and that was unlikely to change. FIBA performed well with 146,462 new Facebook likes, with a slightly lesser impact on Twitter following, with 8000 new followers. However given the existing size of their following, they only saw a 5% and 3% increases on their platforms.

FIFA had less success for the Olympics, although the World Cup is FIFA’s flagship property, rather than the Games. As a result they had fairly small growth with 4,125 new Facebook likes and 7000 new Twitter followers. Which is barely noticeable considering their audience is 3 million on both platforms.

Another IF they did well was FIE (Fencing), who saw a strong increase of followers on Twitter with a 13% rise: which saw the numbers go from 8,788 to 9,919, they can also be happy with their Facebook numbers as an 8% rise saw them sitting on 92,756 likes.


Wooden Spoon

In terms of growth, Hockey’s Facebook increase was the lowest of the IFs with a tiny 0.05% increase. Although with 975,644 overall followers their numbers aren’t too bad – they also saw a 5% Twitter increase which sees them with over 77,000 followers.

In terms of Twitter growth, Triathlon gained a 1% increase of likes, with FIFA also only gaining a 1% increase on the platform.


The average IF has increaed their Twitter following by around 4% and seen a 6% increase in their Facebook likes. That’s around 2000 new Twitter followers, and 2,952 Facebook likes per Federation.

For the bigger IFs, that’s not particularly significant. But for the smaller ones who performed well, they will be delighted with their two weeks work.