When we produced our first report on Elite League speedway teams’ use of social media in September 2011, half the teams in the 10-team Elite League failed to make our chart because they did not link to their Twitter or Facebook accounts from their website.
One year on, how much has changed? Well, as you’d expect, Facebook “likes” and especially Twitter followers have grown significantly. But some still fail to get to the tapes: Eastbourne Eagles still have no social links from their website (so don’t make it on to the chart), while Wolverhampton Wolves link only to their Facebook page and Poole Pirates only to their Twitter account – though that has so many followers, it tops our table!
Here’s the chart, showing the increase on 2011 in brackets where applicable:
Why are speedway clubs so slow to learn? Don’t they listen? Well, no, they don’t actually.
Although we haven’t included the numbers in our chart, we also looked at how many users the clubs follow on Twitter – and it’s very few.
Belle Vue and Coventry follow nobody, and Lakeside follows just one account – that of late rider Lee Richardson. So these clubs are simply using Twitter to broadcast, rather than for any two-way communication.
Other clubs in our chart aren’t much better. Only Swindon gets beyond double figures – following a still modest total of 149 users when we took our sample.
Certainly, there has been progress since our 2011 survey, but speedway clubs aren’t getting maximum value from their social media efforts, and the sport lags behind a comparable minority sport in ice hockey, as our latest survey of that sport’s Elite League shows.
Our guest blog on Canadian football argued the importance of social media in small leagues without big media revenues, which is why we expressed such concern about UK ice hockey’s latest policy, banning players from engaging with fans immediately before and after games.
UK speedway teams could benefit much more from social media – but at least it’s moving in the right direction.
Thanks again to our US design partner Jamie Pfeifer Graphics for creating the Twitter speedway bird especially for us.
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