How to connect to the sports conversation on Twitter

Hayley Dorney
By Hayley Dorney
Best practices
A black man holds a football while looking down at it, a sport stadium filled with crowds is in the background, edited with a blue duotone color

Twitter is the home of real-time, global conversations about sports and all the passion, excitement, heartache, and joy that comes with it. 

Sport is synonymous with culture, and our audience has their finger on the pulse when it comes to cultural moments. 

Our research with Kantar has found a 73% correlation between a brand’s cultural relevance and its revenue.1 And when compared to our leading competitors, Twitter influences culture +278% vs other platforms.2

A survey we ran in January 2022 about events on Twitter discovered 67% of people agree that they like to see brands aligning with current events on Twitter3 – so the time is right to connect with sports on Twitter.

Let’s take a look at the sports audience and conversation on Twitter and how your brand can connect to both.

Why sports fans come to Twitter

Twitter is the place to catch up on events such as sport competitions via highlights, with our data finding 72% of people on Twitter agree that Twitter has the most up-to-date commentary and highlights for events that are happening.4

Sports fans come to Twitter to learn about sport events early, to supplement their TV viewing experience, and to feel closer to the environment of the game – through highlights, player interviews and hot takes, and real-time news updates. 

Various sports players placed about the following stats: when looking back at 2021, American football saw a 48% increase in Twitter conversations, basketball a 42% increase, baseball a 30%, and golf a 19% increase

In 2022, there’s been a +45% increase in average monthly soccer/European football conversation.6 This kind of growth isn’t surprising, when 70% of people agree that they use Twitter to keep themselves connected to the events they are passionate about.Take big competitions like the World Cup...

Two soccer players, one about to take a shot. The following stats are overlaid on the image: 75% of Twitter users are fans of the World Cup vs 49% of non-Twitter users.

And, 64% of these fans say they can find content on Twitter that they can’t find on any other platform.Here are five ways your brand can connect to FIFA World Cup fans

Interest in women’s soccer is growing too, with 3.3 million global Tweets about women’s international football in 2021.10 In the UK, since the start of the Women’s Euros (#WEURO2022), there has been 1.4 million Tweets, and 604K Tweets on the day of the final alone.11

Take a look at our Women’s EUROs 2022 blog for more insights and tips about connecting to women’s professional football. 

When it comes to the NBA, there were 154 million Tweets related to the ‘21-’22 season,12 and 63% of NBA fans use Twitter more while watching NBA on TV.13

In 2021, there were over 96 million Tweets about cricket in India alone.14 Have a look at our #CricketTwitter in India 101 guide for inspiration and ideas to connect to the sport.

How to connect with sports fans on Twitter

In a survey we ran in January 2022, we found...

A sports fan cheers while looking at a game on his phone. The following stat is overlaid on the image: we found 64% of people agreed that following the conversation around big events on Twitter is more immersive than just watching it.

There are various ways you can connect with sports fans on Twitter, either organically or through paid ads. 

Using a mix of Twitter Ads formats can drive better results  – using three or more ad formats has shown to increase campaign awareness by 20% and purchase intent by 7%, compared to using one format alone.16

Take a look at these tips on how to connect with major events on Twitter, as told by one of our account managers, for more inspiration and guidance.

Organic Tweets
Carousels

Carousels are an engaging format on Twitter that support up to six swipeable, edge-to-edge images or videos in a single Tweet, all serving as clickable space for websites or app download pages of your choice. You can use a mix of both image and video in your Carousel Ad, and you can customize headlines and landing pages to drive your audience to multiple destinations within one Tweet. 

To Tweet your Carousel organically, just un-check the “Promoted-only” box at the bottom of the Tweet composer when creating your Carousel. 

Learn more about Carousels and how they can amplify your campaign here.

Twitter Live

This is a livestream format that enables brands to broadcast their biggest moments, allows audiences to join in real-time, and drives conversation. 

Learn more about Twitter Live.

Twitter Ads
Twitter Amplify

Twitter Amplify pairs brands with premium, timely publisher videos and the audiences coming to Twitter to watch them. You can customize a partnership with a publisher for brand alignment with premium sport news, highlights, interviews, and analysis.

Our research found that ads paired with in-feed premium video deliver 2.2X brand favorability and 1.7X purchase intent in comparison to the same ads in a non-feed environment.17

To learn more, speak to your dedicated client partner at Twitter. If you don’t yet have a client partner or account manager at Twitter, contact our Twitter Ads specialists.

Twitter Takeover

Timeline Takeover puts your brand at the top of the conversation as the first ad that will appear when someone opens Twitter for the first time that day.

Trend Takeover and Trend Takeover+ put your ad alongside what’s trending and where conversations start – the Explore Tab. Trend Takeovers allows brands to connect with what’s happening by maximizing discovery, building relevance, and securing a place next to what will be trending that day.

See how Canadian Tire used Takeover to connect with the Olympics

Sports fans are ready for your brand to join the roar of the crowd on Twitter. Download the Twitter Connect Playbook for more tips and insights on how to connect with what’s happening.



Get in touch if you’d like to run a large scale campaign.

1. Source: Kantar & Twitter Brand Cultural Relevance Research, commissioned by Twitter, US, Nationally representative sample, 100 US brands tested, Dec 2019. Methodology: Twitter ran a correlation analysis to look at the relationship between the relative movement of spend on Twitter and cultural relevance (as scored by our survey). The model included the 100 brands tested. The output of that model was the correlation coefficient (which is a measure of strength of the relationship between the two sets of variables) of .73 (or 73%) and .88 (or 88%), respectively. The possible value ranges for a correlation coefficient are between -1.0 and 1.0.
2. Source: Trendkite Digital PR. Top Tier article mentions. Data shown is the number of press articles where each social media company is the only social media company mentioned in that article. Data is global (EN keywords). Comparison vs. competitor avg. Competitors were Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Youtube. Data pulled Feb 2021 for previous iteration of each event. Timeframes are inclusive of one day before and after the event.
3. Source: Twitter internal data survey, January 2022. Data was collected from 8,000 Twitter Users (1,000 per market) – defined as those who have used the platform at least monthly. This document outlines the Global findings, taking an average across all markets (Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, India, Japan, Indonesia, KSA). Question agreed to was ‘I like to see brands aligning to current events on Twitter.’
4. Source: Twitter internal data survey, January 2022. Data was collected from 8,000 Twitter Users (1,000 per market) – defined as those who have used the platform at least monthly. This document outlines the Global findings, taking an average across all markets (Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, India, Japan, Indonesia, KSA). Question agreed to was ‘Twitter has the most up-to-date commentary and highlights for events that are happening’.
5. [Graph number one] Source: Twitter Internal Data. Daily av. Comparing Tweets from Jan 1, 2020 - Dec 21, 2020 to Jan 1, 2021 - May 15, 2021. US Only.
6. Source: Twitter Internal Data, Percentage increase in the average number of football related tweets per month, last 12 months vs 12 months prior (1 Apr 2020 - 31 March 2021 vs 1 Apr 2021 - 31 March 2022) Global.
7. Source: Twitter internal data survey, January 2022. Data was collected from 8,000 Twitter Users (1,000 per market) – defined as those who have used the platform at least monthly. This document outlines the Global findings, taking an average across all markets (Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, India, Japan, Indonesia, KSA). Question agreed to was ‘Twitter keeps me connected to the events I’m passionate about’.
8. [Graph number two] Source:Twitter + GWI World Cup Study, Global, Q1 2022. Please indicate your relationship with the sports events listed below. Casual, Midcore, or Hardcore fan of the FIFA World Cup n=13700.
9. Source: Twitter + GWI World Cup Study, Global, Q1 2022. To what extent do you agree with the following statements about Twitter? I can find content on Twitter that isn’t available on other platforms. n=4720.
10. Source: Twitter Internal Data, women’s international football, 1 Jan - 31 Dec 2021.
11. Sources: Twitter internal data (Semantic Core), 1 June 2022 – 27 July 2022, UK only. Retrieved 28 July 2022 2. Twitter Internal Data, Percentage increase in the average number of football related tweets per month, last 12 months vs 12 months prior (1 Apr 2020 - 31 March 2021 vs 1 Apr 2021 - 31 March 2022) Global.
12. Source: Twitter Internal Data (Semantic Core). 9/15/20-9/15-21. US. Retrieved September 2021.
13. Source - Sparkler, commissioned by Twitter, Twitter as a Stadium Survey, August 2020, USA. Base: NBA Fans on Twitter (n=319.
14. Source: Semantic Core, BigQuery, Jan 1 2021 - Jan 1, 2022.
15. [Graph number three] Source: Twitter internal data survey, January 2022. Data was collected from 8,000 Twitter Users (1,000 per market) – defined as those who have used the platform at least monthly. This document outlines the Global findings, taking an average across all markets (Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, India, Japan, Indonesia, KSA). Question agreed to was ‘Following the conversation about these events on  Twitter feels more immersive than just watching.’
16. Source: Nielsen Brand Effect (US/UK/JP/CA), Q3 2015 - Q3 2018 Connect campaigns. Note: Model is a Fixed-Effect Multi-level logistic regression Outcome variable: Whether the respondent correctly answered the relevant survey question (Yes/No). Unique Formats included GIF, Polls (Text, Video, Image), Website cards (Photo, Video) In-stream video, Promoted Video, Conversation Card (Video).
17. Source: Magna & Twitter, 'The Value of Premium' Study, 2020.





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