Friday, the Canberra Raiders are playing the Wests Tigers in one of the playoff games in the NRL Finals. Canberrans are finally beginning to get really excited. A fair amount of this excitement is going on online. This post contains various insights into who Canberra Raiders fans are online and what they are doing. Given the time crunch, I’m only looking at Twitter and Facebook. If I have the time, I will add another post about both teams and their fans on other networks.
There is a lot of discussion about the Canberra Raiders taking place on Twitter. Not all of it is by Raiders fans. (RealBigDell of the Dragons is cheering for the Wests Tigers against the Raiders: twitter.com/RealBigDell/24269333344. ) So where are people Tweeting about the Raiders from? There are two really good tools for trying to figure this out. One is tribalytic.com and the other is Searchtastic.
tribalytic.com is Australian based allows you to search for a term and then can give you a break down by state, by klout and by wordcloud. This is an example of their results for the Canberra Raiders. According to tribalytic.com, in the period between August 14 and September 14, there were 298 tweets by 142 users that mentioned the Canberra Raiders. Of these tweets, 75 were from New South Wales, 32 were from the ACT, 25 were from Queensland and 4 from Victoria. Locals were just not chatting about the Raiders like those pesky New South Wales Rugby League obsessed people.
Searchtastic is a Twitter search engine that allows results to be exported to Excel. The Excel export includes profile information about the person who Tweeted. It sadly doesn’t pull up all search results for every tweet ever made on a subject. My experience is that it tends to pull up the 50 most recent. On the night of September 14 and the morning of September 15, I did a number of Raiders related searches, exported the results to Excel, combined all the tweets and removed the duplicates. I was left with a list of 443 unique tweets. (Some of these 443 were removed after it was determined that content wise, they had nothing to do with the Canberra Raiders. The total was brought down to 438.) (46 of these tweets date from between November 2009 and August 2010. The rest are from September 1, 2010 and after.) After this, using the location field, I figured out where those tweets originated from. 181 of the remaining Tweets were from an identifiable Australian state. 105 were from New South Wales, 53 from the ACT, 18 from Queensland and 5 from Victoria.
The ratio between New South Wales based Raiders Tweets and ACT based Tweets is 2.3 on Tribalytic and 1.9 on Searchtastic. The two are pretty close and suggest that people in the New South Wales are twice as likely to tweet about the Raiders as people in the ACT. We Canberrans just don’t Tweet about our team as much as outsiders do.
As a random point of fact, there were 22 people from the ACT who tweeted about the Raiders. The average person from the ACT who tweeted about the Raiders from the Searchtastic sample? They follow an average of 281 people, median of 91 and mode of 22. They are followed by an average of 222 people, median of 83. They have made an average of 1,346 total tweets, median of 718. The most “popular” person tweeting about the Raiders is @markparton with 1,632 followers. He is followed closely by @abcnewsCanberra who has 1,611 followers. (The contrast between the two is huge. @markparton follows 1,843 people. @abcnewsCanberra follows 0.)
The Tweeting habits of those New South Wales Raiders tweets? There are 58 of them. They are very different than your Canberran tweets. They have on average 1,335 followers, follow an average of 324.7 people and have made an average of 4,440.3 Tweets. Canberrans look much less active and less popular in comparison.
Another way of looking at location on Twitter is to see where people who follow the team are from. I’m interested in finding out if Canberrans support their local side or if, in this particular Finals game, Canberrans actually support the opposition, Wests Tigers. Following is an active way of showing support and sentiment is likely to be positive. Otherwise, why follow the team? The over representation of the NSW based tweets could be explained away as most of the competition in the NRL is based there; fans of other teams are likely to mention the team they are playing against. Added to that, the population base which NSW based teams draw from is much bigger.
To find out ACT based Twitter loyalty to the Raiders and Wests Tigers, I got the profile information for everyone following @RaidersCanberra and @Wests_Tigers. These accounts are the official accounts for the teams. The Raiders have 870 followers compared to the Wests Tigers 2,305 followers.
Of the Wests Tigers followers, only 25 or 1% of their followers are from Canberra. And by Canberra, I mean Canberra. None of the Wests Tigers followers from the ACT put information in their location that could identify what suburb they are from. This contrasts to the Canberra Raiders where 137 or 15.7% are from the ACT. 9 of those 137 list an identifiable suburb: 1 from Belconnen, 1 from Bruce, 1 from Conder, 1 from Fyschwick, 1 from Gungahlin, 1 from Phillip, 1 from Stirling and 2 from Tuggeranong. On Twitter, Canberrans are much more likely to follow the Raiders than the opposition. So while we might not be Tweeting about our team, we are following them.
Sadly, we just don’t appear to be following our team like New South Wales people follow our team. Where there are 137 from the ACT following the Raiders, there are 198 from New South Wales. That accounts for 24.6% of all Raiders followers. Those New South Wales people Tweet more about our team and they follow our team more than we do.
Wests Tigers fans also appear to be more from the state is based than the Raiders: 35.6% of Wests Tigers followers are from New South Wales. Our 24.6% doesn’t appear as impressive.
Focusing on New South Wales is not turning out to be fun. Indicators seem to suggest that they tweet more than Canberrans do and are more likely to follow the home team.
Let’s take a brief look at our Canberran based followers of both the Wests Tigers and the Canberra Raiders. These two groups are not similar in their Twitter usage patterns. Raiders fans have an average of 130.8 followers compared to 48.2 for the Wests Tigers. Canberra Raiders fans from the ACT update more often: 662.7 average updates compared to 104.8 for Canberran based West Tigers followers. Raiders fans have more friends with 199.2 people they follow on average. This compares to ACT based West Tigers followers who have an average of 121.2 people they follow. Canberrans Raiders fans are more likely to appear on lists, appearing on an average of 6.8 lists. ACT based West Tigers fans? On average only 1.2 lists. The indicators are that our Raiders fans are much more engaged with Twitter.
For Australian professional sport on Twitter, there appears to be a pattern for showing team support or interest in a team by following three hashtag patterns. They are #goTEAMMASCOT, #TEAMNAME, #LEAGUETEAMTEAM. This method of tagging was mostly pushed by AFL teams. The NRL appears to have embraced it less. (This is largely a result of different levels of engagement. On the whole, AFL teams engage more. NRL teams are more likely to use their official Twitter account as a place to export their RSS feeds. The AFL has official game tags. The NRL does not.) Still, some fans have followed the formula to make it worth looking at. For the Canberra Raiders, two standard hashtags appear to be used the most frequently: #canberraraiders and #goraiders. (The still aren’t used all that frequently. Tribalytic’s #NRL data says that for the September 1 to September 14, Canberra was mentioned in 9.42% of all tweets tagged with #nrl. No Raiders related hash tags are on the top 50 list of words used.) The #goraiders tag is problematic during the finals season: This hashtag is shared with fans of the Oakland Raiders. The data on tribalytic suggests it isn’t used period but looking through TwapperKeeper, there are Canberra Raiders references in there made by myself and CountryRL. In any case, this tag isn’t as popular as #canberraraiders. Since September 10, there have been at least 24 Tweets using this tag. The most popular user of this tag since that date is @KayLaYvette, who has used it 13 times. Beyond that, 3 others used it twice. 5 others have used it once. People using this hash tag aren’t using it to post links. Twitter said that 25% of all Tweets contained links. For this hashtag, only 12.5% of tweets contained a url. 67% of Tweets with the #canberraraiders hashtag also included the #NRL hashtag. Raiders fans don’t appear to be using this Tweet when chatting with eachother on Twitter as there aren’t any interactions associated with it. That theme mentioned earlier about how people outside Canberra were dominating as fans? Of the 24 posts using this hashtag, 9 were geotagged. The geotag didn’t originate in Canberra. Rather, the geotags put the tweeter in England. Poor Raiders.
That’s enough of Twitter. (I’m avoiding the temptation to do sentiment analysis.) Let’s move on to Facebook. Facebook has fewer tools than Twitter and some of the data is much harder to access than Twitter data. Thus, the level of analysis is less.
The first question is how many Canberra Raiders are there on Facebook in Australia? Facebook says 7,860. Of these, 1,180 are in the ACT and 4,340 are in New South Wales. In comparison, there are 29,380 Wests Tigers fans on Facebook in Australia. 480 are from the ACT and 19,980 are from New South Wales. Like Twitter, if you’re in Canberra, you’re more likely to support the home team. Also like Twitter, New South Wales Raiders fans outnumber fans in Canberra.
11,780 of the Wests Tigers fans are female. 2,180 of the Raiders fans are female. The Wests Tigers have a lot more female supporters (40.1%) than we Raiders fans do (27.8%). This isn’t bad news. This is good news. At the grounds, Raiders fans should be able to be louder and really bring in that home field advantage. Long term, also great news: The Raiders have a great opportunity to grow their fan base. The Wests Tigers don’t have that as they have a much more gender equal fan base.
1,080 of Canberra Raiders fans on Facebook are college graduates. 2,840 of West Tigers fans are college graduates. Here, Canberra is better, where better is defined by having a college education: 13.7% to 10.7%.
How welcoming are both teams to the GLBT community? 500 Wests Tigers fans identify as women interest in women and 100 Wests Tigers fans identify as men interest in men. The Canberra Raiders have 120 fans who identify as women interested in women and 40 fans who identify as men interested in men. Using this measure, both teams are about equal: 2% of their fanbase are gays, lesbians or bisexuals.
The official Wests Tigers fan page can be found at http://www.facebook.com/WestsTigers.com.au and the Canberra Raiders page can be found at http://www.facebook.com/Canberra-Raiders. The total number of likes and comments were recorded for the 25 most recent official posts on the feed. For the Raiders, that takes posts back to August 21. For the Tigers, this takes them back to July 1. (The Raiders appear to be much better at updating their Facebook page. The Tigers are importing their posts through their RSS feed, which is itself imported through Facebook. The Raiders in contrast post almost nothing through an RSS feed to their Facebook page.) On average, the Canberra Raiders get 22.75 likes per post and 17.04 comments per post. The Tigers in contrast get 30.54 likes per post and 32.16 comments per post. This looks like a win for the passion of West Tigers fans, except for the fact that 23,391 people like the Wests Tigers page and 1,710 people like the Canberra Raiders page. On average, 1.33% of Raiders fans like a post and 1.00% respond to a post. For the Wests Tigers, an average of 0.13% like a post and 0.14% comment on a post. Clearly Raiders fans are much more willing to interact with the club. Go Raiders fans. This is clearly the platform where we’re engaging with the team. (It is probably helped by the fact that the club is engaging back. This isn’t the case for either on Twitter.)
In conclusion, the Raiders fanbase appears to be contain more people from outside the territory than in. The community on Facebook and Twitter is smaller than that of the Wests Tigers. The Raiders do have a larger fanbase in Canberra and the ACT than the Wests Tigers have. While our fan base might be smaller, we are more likely to engage with the team on a percentage basis than Wests Tigers fans are. The reasons for some of the numbers on both fandom sides have to do with how the Raiders and Tigers chose to engage with their fanbase online. If anyone changed their strategy to be even more interactive, their fan base could kick the other one’s butt in terms of expressing their passion for the team.
Most of the raw data referenced in this post can be found at http://csv.ozziesport.com/.