In the past we’ve examined the UK’s top ice hockey teams to see which are the most social, and have discussed the importance of social media to clubs in lower-profile leagues.
Now speedway comes under our spotlight. Like ice hockey, speedway has been a part of the British sporting scene for many decades, and has similarly enjoyed ups and downs of popularity.
In the late 1940s, it was said to be the second biggest spectator sport behind soccer, but today it lies much further down the hierarchy of sports in the eyes of the mainstream media and the British public outside of speedway towns, despite live TV coverage.
We looked at the websites of each of the 10 clubs in the Elite League in late September 2011 and visited the official Facebook and Twitter pages linked from them. We noted the total number of Facebook page ‘likes’ and Twitter followers from these official pages to produce the chart below.
Why only five teams? Simple – the other five don’t have social media links on their websites, so they don’t make the starting grid.
On the positive side, every club can be found on the main social networks, but it’s often in multiple small groups of a handful of supporters. We believe it’s vital that speedway clubs engage with their fans, including the latent support which rarely goes to a meeting. Having a clear official presence on the main networks, linked from their home page is a simple way to help that happen.
It’s a disappointing performance when compared with ice hockey (a sport similarly off the mainstream media’s radar), but we take our hats off to the five who make our chart – especially to Peterborough Panthers for topping the overall table, and to Belle Vue Aces for being the most popular on Twitter.
As we acknowledged in our post on ice hockey clubs‘ use of social media, this is a crude measure; but it does illustrate a failure on the part of some clubs to take advantage of the opportunities which social media offers.
In difficult economic times especially, clubs need all the support they can get. Making better use of Twitter and Facebook would be a step in the right direction.
Many thanks to our talented US design partner Jamie Pfeifer Graphics for producing the Twitter speedway artwork for us.
We would love to hear from speedway clubs or other sports organisations seeking help with social media or communications in general.