‘Datatainment’ the new trend for #Euro2012 & Sports Social Media

Euro 2012 has been the talk of the town on social media channels and is another major milestone for Football Social Media. Fans have come in their thousands to discuss, criticise and speculate on their international team’s performances. One of the most notable insights from this years tournament (and from sports events throughout 2012) has been the consumption of social data by the fans.

Infographics and web apps that detail how many tweets a player received during a match or even our very own look at how the teams are represented on social, have become incredibly popular. Digital agencies, bloggers and social media monitoring services have been quick to jump on the bandwagon and provide the masses with visually enticing statistics. We just can’t get enough of data as a form of entertainment – or simply, “data-tainment”.

The digital pioneer behind Manchester City’s success – Richard Ayers – coined this term “datatainment” this year. Sports fans love statistics and insights, they love anything that gives them ammunition for  pub debate or “exclusive intelligence” so they can predict the way a match might go in front of their mates.

Social Media works so effectively because we use it to gather “social capital” – it’s the currency we deal in, trade and seek out. This might be a retweet, a mention or a Like for one of our comments – the more you have, the higher your social status is online. It’s the same sociological concept described Pierre Bordieu around why we create an identity around brands, material items and knowledge. So when you put the two together you get a very powerful content concept.

Sports Social Media users want the intelligent data, and they want to consume it in a visually engaging way, hence why infographics are so effective.

Take a look at a few examples from Euro 2012:


The UK based Social Media monitoring company have created a fantastic Euro 2012 Twitter conversations web app (and accompanying infographics so it can be seeded into blogs) that uses their tool to show you the realtime number of tweets around England and Germany players during Euro 2012. The app generated word clouds for each player, ranks them by tweets and even shows the sentiment surrounding a player. So one can see that currently Wayne Rooney is the most talked about player with a staggering 172,000 tweets and this has seen a massive growth in the last couple of days – likely due to the fact he will be starting his first game tonight.

Brandwatch Social Media Community Manager, Joel Windels told Digital-Football.com,

“Football may be well over a hundred years old, but that doesn’t mean it’s stuck in the past. Over the past two years we’ve seen a meteoric rise in not only the application of social media by the clubs themselves, but also in how fans are watching and discussing the game.

The proliferation of sites like Twitter have meant that the conversation has expanded from just the pub, with millions taking to the platform to voice their opinions on the game, even as it happens. We think it’s great that we’re now able to listen to those conversations and understand the ‘wisdom of the crowd’.”

Starcom MediaVest Group

Starcom are another social media company using their tools and services to illustrate the popularity of data and sports social media. In this case, they produced an infographic highlighting the volume of tweets during the England vs. Sweden game.

Again, using data they entertain their readers by highlighting massive Twitter peaks as goals are scored (And missed). For example, Danny Welbeck’s classy winner saw 16,000 tweets per minute in comparison to the 5,000 tweets per minute during halftime (where presumably everyone went for a cup of tea!).

The infographic is simple and easily done – but incredibly effective and insightful.


Yet again, another social media metrics company utilised their services and tools to feed the audience with interesting intelligence and insights. Take a look at our article on their infographic comparing national teams and football associations social media presence.

Meltwater UK

Using their Meltwater Buzz social media measurement tool these data analysts have followed suit by combining data, intelligence and graphics in order to entertain and engage the social media market.

In this instance, they’ve paid special attention to monitoring the negativity around Roy Hodgson’s appointment as England manager. It will be interesting to see if this changes if England progress further than expected in the tournament.


Created by Midlands Digital Agency VIVA Aspire, this is a purpose built microsite that pulls in social media data and presents it in a very easy to read and navigate manner.

VIVA have gone one further than a infographic and combine their data based web-apps with blog content and imagery in order to make the site a hub of datatainment.

This is a great example of how clubs might create a dedicated social media datatainment hub page for their players and activity. Imagine how good the dwell time and engagement levels would be if you could look at players social media stats, performance data (obviously not all of it) or conversation clouds amongst fans on Twitter?

So why is this all important?

As we’ve already talked about before – fans want data and intelligence. Fans want to feel that they know their club and that they have additional insight than the punter in the bar. Now, whilst all of these examples above come from companies who are trying to market their tools and services, this doesn’t mean clubs can’t get involved. Think of the all the exclusive data that clubs have at their disposable, whether it’s performance stats or fan demographics.

Clubs need to learn from Euro 2012 and look at ways of using what may traditionally be “boring data” and turning it into engaging content. Datatainment isn’t just exclusive to football, but sports in general. If you are struggling to come up with new content ideas, assess your assets and find data to make it work. Clubs would be surprised to see what fans are interested in reading about – even topics such as the clubs accounts or matchday merchandise sales are relevant and important to the fans, so use them!

In the next 12 months expect to see more clubs and footballing bodies start to undertake datatainment strategies in order to market not just their brand but the statistical successes attributed to their club. From that, expect to see higher levels of engagement in the form of reshares, RTs, Likes and link building.

Sean Walsh

Founder of Digital-Football.com and leading Football Social Media expert.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *