Sports fans are core social media fans as well, using it to talk to other fans. A study by IMG sports marketing consultancy Catalyst finds that the top social channel for fans is Facebook, with 75% of people saying they use the social site to talk sports. Following that is YouTube at 52%; Twitter at 37%; Google+ at 33% and Instagram at 17%. But the study also found that Google+ and Tumblr game day usage has increased since 2013.
First conducted in 2010, the Fan Engagement Study polled 2,195 "avid" sport fans ages 16-64 who used social media to talk about sports and connect with brands around sports in August. It found that on game day fans use Facebook nearly six times as often as the average; 5.6 times as often for Twitter; 4.4 times for Instagram; 4.1 times for Vine, 2.7 for pinterest and 2.5 for youtube.
On a sports-related basis (versus the average fan) NCAA football fans are 1.9 times more likely to engage with Pinterest. NCAA basketball fans are 1.4 more times likely to use Vine, and NFL fans are 1.3 times more likely to use Facebook.
The survey cohort breaks into more or less even numbers of NFL, NCAA Football, NCAA Basketball, MLB, NBA, Soccer and NHL fans. The study, on its fifth year, found that non-white fans are more likely than the average sports fan to use Twitter, Instagram and Vine; soccer fans rely on social for talking with others about the sport. The study finds that the importance of social media as a primary source for sports information has increased but isn't as trusted as traditional sources of sports news.
They are also more likely to engage a brand that says it supports a team. Over half of respondents said they would "like" a sports team-oriented brand; 44% said they would support a charity or cause supported by the team; 43% said they would support a brand offering a contest where they can win a sport-related prize.
Eighty percent of fans said they are willing to take action after following or "liking" a brand. Beyond the "like," 46% of fans talked about the brand; 38% shared brand content; and 35% bought the brand's products.
When it comes to content, fans are interested in more than just the numbers. The study finds significant engagement with pre-game excitement, historic video, bloopers, and debates with fans. Sixty-five percent said they engage with photos and videos; 68% with photos and videos of bloopers; 73% pre-game excitement and 77% post-game excitement.