AFL Grand Final Fever Feeds Social Media Buzz

Digital Marketing

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.



Digital Marketing

Posted on 09-29-2014

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