The rising popularity of social media is one of the most significant phenomena of the 21st century. Almost every official organization has social media accounts of some sorts, and the same goes for sports leagues and star athletes.
You can say that social media is slowly taking the throne of television when it comes to sports coverage. The leagues, players, and reporters can now announce important information through websites like Twitter and Facebook almost instantly.
Some leagues have embraced the popularity of social media and started offering live streams of their events, and sites like WBN use social media to promote boxing and have thousands of followers.
Not only that but dedicated YouTube channels gather millions of views for showing match highlights and post-game analysis. According to the infographic below provided by BettingSites, this is the reason why some of the leading sports television networks have seen a significant decrease in viewership over the past several years.
Athletes themselves can use social media to showcase their brand, announce plans, and communicate easily with millions of fans. Famous sports figures like Cristiano Ronaldo and LeBron James have over 100 million Twitter followers combined. They also share moments from their personal life, which a lot of people find interesting.
Some experts expect this trend to grow over the next period, as more than 60% of sports fans follow sports through online platforms today. From 2013 to 2016, there was an 18% increase in the number of people who watch sports content on mobile devices.
The leagues and organizations benefit from this as well. Among the most popular ones on social media are NBA, NFL, IOC, FIBA, and FIFA.
Brands use the popularity of athletes to advertise products. Cristiano Ronaldo booked $500 million from Nike in 2016 alone for being the face of its social media campaign.
LeBron James is another great example. It is estimated that he gets a return of about $150 million per tweet.
If you want to learn more about the numbers surrounding the impact of social media on sports, check out the detailed infographics below.