World Cup Most Social Sporting Event Ever, Says Adobe

Social buzz about the FIFA World Cup looks to surpass both the Super Bowl and the Olympics, according to analysis from Adobe Social Index, now also known as ADI. But Brazilian sentiment is divided, with close to half of World Cup mentions reflecting sadness, anger, or disgust.


ADI reports that 90 percent of the world has already contributed to the World Cup conversation ahead of the first game, compared to 84 percent for the Olympics and 78 percent for the Super Bowl. That’s based on an analysis of geo-tagged social mentions across 14 social networks. While there are 255 recognized countries or territories, 230 of them generated at least one mention on social media.

Is this uptick in social mentions because of greater global interest in the event or does it show a continuing upward trend in social media usage? It’s a bit of both, according to Joe Martin, senior analyst at Adobe Digital Index. “By its nature, sports is a very social event,” he says. In addition, the World Cup is a global event, but interest in soccer is stronger in some regions than others. Social media is a good way for people living in a country that’s not futbol crazy to connect with others elsewhere who are, he says.

ADI has bulked up its social media inputs available to the Adobe Social listening tool and now accesses 15 global networks, including Dailymotion, VK, Metacafe, and Wordpress.

The majority of World Cup buzz (48 percent) is coming from the Asia-Pacific region (APAC), ADI found. Japan alone is producing 78 percent of the APAC World Cup buzz. Martin attributes the high social media participation among the Japanese partly to its very active Twitter user base, second only to the United States. They also have a couple of star players, Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa, and the Japanese team itself is expected to compete well.

Europe, the Middle East, and Africa came in second, contributing 32 percent of all social media mentions, and the Americas came in third, with 20 percent.


Nevertheless, a different slice of ADI’s social media data found that Germany has the highest social buzz as a percent of total Twitter users in its country, with 17 percent of Twitter users in Germany talking about the World Cup. That compares to 11 percent of Twitter users in Japan, 8 percent in Nigeria, and 5 percent each in France and the U.K. In other words, says Martin, “More of the active Twitter base in Germany is talking about the World Cup, as opposed to a smaller percentage of people in Japan – who are using social media more frequently.”

That 42 percent of negative social mentions from Brazilians coalesced around anger at the billions that the government has spent on the event, money that some say should have gone to public works. Says Martin, “That sentiment may flip on July 13 if they’re in the finals. While a vocal minority is saying negative things so far, I can’t imagine a more passionate country of that size. They will probably have short-term memory on what led to the World Cup if they do make that final.”

Networked Insights analyzed more than 5 billion tweets to find ways for marketers to reach soccer fans in the United States. It found 575,000 World Cup fans on Twitter. The top U.S. cities expressing anticipation via social media were Washington, D.C., Seattle, Norfolk, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City.

Networked Insights also found that World Cup fans are 3.3 times more likely than the average consumer to be interested in documentary movies and 2.1 times more likely to watch talk-format TV programs.

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