Adobe Digital Dialogue

September 29, 2014 /Digital Marketing /

AFL Grand Final Fever Feeds Social Media Buzz

There was a lot of social buzz in Aus­tralia over the week­end as the Aus­tralian Rules Foot­ball League (AFL) Grand Final between Hawthorn Hawks and the Syd­ney Swans took place with the Hawks com­ing out on top with a con­vinc­ing win.

The pas­sion for Aussie Rules had spilled over into the ongo­ing inter-city rival­ry between Mel­bourne and Syd­ney. In the lead up to the clash the inter­net was full of buzz. In the 30 days ahead of the Grand Final fans of both clubs from around the globe took to the inter­net to show their sup­port, but the Hawks had already won the psy­cho­log­i­cal social media bat­tle, edg­ing out the Swans in the num­ber of men­tions.

Fan reac­tions ranged from joy their team had made it to the biggest game of the year, to sur­prise they had done so. 14% of Hawthorn’s social media men­tions expressed sur­prise the defend­ing cham­pi­ons had made it to the Grand Final for the third year in a row, while just 7% of Swans men­tions were sur­prised the 2012 cham­pi­ons were back again.

The Adobe Dig­i­tal Index tracked thou­sands upon thou­sands of social men­tions across mul­ti­ple plat­forms from both teams as they made their way through the finals series, cap­tur­ing the num­ber of men­tions of “AFL Grand Final” and the sen­ti­ment peo­ple were express­ing. The analy­sis of more than 500,000 social men­tions relat­ing to the Grand Final also showed that the Aus­tralian foot­ball code is punch­ing above its weight on a glob­al scale, gain­ing almost as much social media trac­tion out­side its home coun­try as the Nation­al Foot­ball League in the Unit­ed States. Geo-tag­ging social media men­tions revealed that 19% of the social media buzz is com­ing from out­side Aus­tralia, com­pared to 21% of the social media buzz sur­round­ing the Amer­i­can Nation­al Foot­ball League (NFL) which comes from out­side the US. The AFL may not be a glob­al sport in terms of par­tic­i­pa­tion, but like the NFL, this fig­ure clear­ly shows it has a huge fol­low­ing beyond Aus­tralian shores.

Key Find­ings

  • The bat­tle for the Grand Final social buzz champ is dead even; Hawthorn has a slight edge over Syd­ney over the last 30 days. The state of Vic­to­ria is pro­duc­ing 32% of the buzz from with­in Aus­tralia, with New South Wales a close 2nd.


  • The state of Vic­to­ria is pro­duc­ing 32% of the buzz from with­in Aus­tralia, with New South Wales a close 2nd.


  • Bud­dy Franklin leads the play­er buzz going into the final against his for­mer team, but not all of the buzz is pos­i­tive; Bud­dy has two-and-a-half-times more men­tions than Hawthorn buzz leader, Luke Hodge.


  • Social buzz is mixed with 54% relat­ing to joy or admi­ra­tion and 46% of social buzz relat­ing to sad­ness or sur­prise.


  • Some 81% of all men­tions came from Aus­tralia, with 6% from the UK, 5% from the US and 3% from Ger­many, reflect­ing the glob­al appeal that the AFL has man­aged to gen­er­ate. The AFL has only slight­ly less inter­na­tion­al appeal than the NFL; AFL (19%) and NFL (21%) pro­duce sim­i­lar per­cent of buzz from out­side their home coun­try.



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