Posts Tagged AFL

AFL fan community sentiment: Are fans happy or sad?

Posted by Laura on Sunday, 25 July, 2010

I generally don’t believe in sentiment analysis.  I tend to think it is junk because so much of automated sentiment analysis misses contextual clues, relying too heavily on keywords.  Sentiment analysis also tends to give sentiment to bot generated posts and to posts that are neutral.  Despite this, I thought it might be a bit interesting to try to do a sentiment analysis of the AFL fan community on Twitter.  Are they happy or are they sad?  And later, where are the happy fans and where are the sad fans?

The first step in doing that was to collect a whole bunch of AFL related tweets using searchtastic.  I’m currently up around 3,400 tweets. (When/If I do the geolocation version, I’ll provide the raw data set.)  The second step was to develop a list of AFL specific sentiment related words.  In my case, I’m just going with the characteristic of happy and sad to make this easier.  My sentiment keyword list is as follows:

Happy Sad
Best Worst
Win Spoon
happy lose
excited sucks
smile awful
star sackermanis
brownlo fired
medal suspended
victory fouled
club song sad
pride upset
won fail
congrats heartbreak
Purchased lost
lucky Sold
success Desperate
champions blow it
Fit blew it
Riewolt damn
glad avoid
legend unlucky
star failed
brilliant Akermanis
cruised slammed
hope injured

The next step was to give a happy or sad label for tweets that included these terms. The last step was to count up how many Tweets were labeled Happy, Happy / Sad, Sad, No Sentiment.  I generated the following table:

Tweets % % – None
Happy 704 21% 55%
Happy / Sad 147 4% 11%
Sad 436 13% 34%
No Sentiment 2128 62%
Total 3415
Total 1287

Later, I’m hoping to match this sentiment with the geographic location of the tweets to find out where the pockets of AFL happiness are versus the pockets of AFL sadness are.

Related Posts:

The Impact of Jason Akermanis’s Comments on the Western Bulldogs’s Online Fanbase

Posted by Laura on Wednesday, 21 July, 2010

This was originally written on June 14, 2010. It has not been edited since then. There may be some grammatical errors and citation related issues.

The Impact of Jason Akermanis’s Comments on the Western Bulldogs Online Fanbase

On May 20, the Jason Akermanis says gay AFL players should stay in the closet backlash started in response to his column in the Herald Sun. (Akermanis, 2010) The media covered the story on television, in print and online.  AFL fans discussed it on Twitter, created protest pages on Facebook, wiki articles were updated and a lot of people posted about it on the blogosphere.  Management within the AFL and the Western Bulldogs felt compelled to speak out against Jason’s comments.  People talked of reporting Jason to the Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity commission.

From a marketing perspective, Akermanis’s opinions were perceived as damaging to the sport and league.  The Western Bulldogs have an association with VicHealth and the Gay and Lesbian Health Association and Akermanis’s comments seemed to contradict and undermine that support. (Walsh, 2010)  The possibility of negative backlash may not have been apparent to the team prior to the article being published as, according to the Sydney Star Observer, team management signed off on the column. (Noonan, 2010)   The size of the backlash and efforts to try to address it can probably be best evidenced by the suspension of Akermanis from the playing field and talking to the media.

Unlike the Melbourne Storm controversy, Akermanis’s comments do not give the appearance of having activated his personal fan base and the fan base for the Western Bulldogs.  There were no media reports of pastors speaking out on Akermanis’s behalf.  His teammates did not support him.  The media did not dismiss his comments, excusing them because of his otherwise excellent on field performance.  Perhaps had Akermanis made these comments in a different country, his comments would have had the potential to be less damaging to the club he played for.  There is also a general view, at least in the United States, that sport teams are run by conservatives who maintain traditional family values.  The assumption is often that sport fans reflect those same values; those that do not chose to follow other popular culture products like movies, television and video games.   If the fanbase for the AFL had actually reflected those underlying assumptions, the situation could have been much more easily ignored and have had the potential to be much less damaging.

The question is how damaging was the situation for the Western Bulldogs online?  How can this be measured? Did the team lose the potential to grow their audience when compared to other AFL teams as a result of Akermanis’s comments?  Who supported Jason and who did not?

The measurement question is probably the most difficult one to address.  Unlike the Melbourne Storm situation, this does not involve a team: The situation involves a specific player.  Liking or adding the team as an interest cannot necessarily be seen as supporting or condemning Jason Akermanis.  People could like the team because they suspended Akermanis for his comments. It is much harder to attribute page views to Akermanis and/or Western Bulldogs supporters who want to find out the situation in order to justify or reaffirm their allegiances.  Almost none of the media coverage and very few people on Twitter indicated that the fanbase was activated in defense of the team and Akermanis.  Thus, a default assumption for any data is that publicity of the situation will activate a larger audience to be against both the club and Akermanis unless contextual evidence suggests otherwise.

Given the measurement difficulties, this paper will nonetheless try to determine how the online community responded to the Jason Akermanis situation and how this reflects back on the Western Bulldogs.  This will be done by looking at Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter, bebo, Alexa and a few selected sites.

Facebook is the most popular social network in Australia.  Facebook’s advertising data says that there are over nine million users from Australia using the site.  (1)  The following of some Australian based sport teams and leagues are quite large.  The official fan pages for the Queensland Maroons, Brisbane Broncos, Socceroos, AFL and Essendon Bombers all have more than 50,000 fans.

Given the large number of Australians using the network, the official presence of so many clubs and the amount of media attention paid to the service, a response on network was inevitable.   There are several Facebook metrics that can be looked at to ascertain how the controversy effected the Western Bulldogs and Jason Akermanis.  The first way is to compare the relative growth of the Western Bulldogs’ total fans on their fan page compared to other teams during the same page.  A second way is to examine comparative growth of groups that supported Akermanis versus those that condemned his views.  The third way is to compare demographic and geographic distinctions between fans that support Akermanis, people that condemned Akermanis’s views and Western Bulldogs fans.

If the Jason Akermanis controversy hurt the Western Bulldogs on Facebook, it should have resulted in a loss or slower growth in terms of total and percentage of new fans on Facebook when compared to other teams. Data was collected between March 25 and June 10, 2010 regarding the size of the official Facebook fan pages for several AFL teams. (2)

Table 1

In the period between May 3 to May 30, the Western Bulldogs were in the middle of the teams for number of new fans with 1,453. This was almost three times as many as the bottom ranked Geelong Cats who had 519 new fans in that period and a third of new fans of the top ranked Collingwood Magpies who saw an increase of 4,150 fans. An argument could be made that period had too much time preceding it that could have lessened any potential loss with earlier gains. Thus comparing the period between May 30 and June 5 migh be more helpful as Akermanis was suspended on June 1. That new brought additional attention to the column that led to his suspension. During this period, the Western Bulldogs ranked seven out of nine for total new fans with 213 people liking them. This number may not be that accurate as not all teams that had performed worse than them in the previous period were included in this sample. The better comparison could be between May 3 and June 10, 2010 as it is larger and includes the initial controversy and the suspension use. That data set is also more complete. During this longer period, the Western Bulldogs finish in the middle with a gain of 1,812 fans. This compares to the Carlton Blues who on top with 5,185 new fans and the Geelong Cats who are on the bottom with 657 new fans. All of this supports the idea that, when compared to other team’s growth, the Western Bulldogs were not hurt by the controversy.

Another way of looking at this data is to compare percentage growth of new followers. This number compares a club’s ability to get new followers relative to their own performance as opposed to all AFL fans. Using this number, the Western Bulldogs saw the most growth in the period between May 3 and May 30 with a 22.8% increase. The next highest performing club was the Carlton Blues with 19.5%. The Western Bulldogs growth is impressive when compared to the Essendon Bombers who had 4.5% growth, the St. Kilda Saints who had 3.7% and the Adelaide Crows who had 2.1% growth. In the period between May 30 and June 5, the Western Bulldogs were second only to the Gold Coast Football Club: The Bulldogs had a 3.2% increase in new fans compared to the Gold Coast’s 44.9%. The Western Bulldogs saw .8% more growth to the next highest team, the Richmond Tigers who had 2.4%. The Bulldogs percentage growth was roughly 6.4 times as much as the bottom teams, Essendon, St. Kilda and Adelaide who saw between .5 and .7% growth. For the period between June 5 and June 10, the Western Bulldogs finished second for highest percentage growth. The only team that outperformed them was Greater Western Sydney, another expansion team who had just made a lot of news with their signing of Israel Folau. With the exception of the Gold Coast, all teams had one or more percent less growth than the Western Bulldogs. For the overall period between May 3 and June 10, the Western Bulldogs finished on top with 26.9%, 1.1% more growth than the number two team of Carlton and well above that of the last place performer Adelaide who had 3.3% growth in fans on Facebook. Given these numbers where the Bulldogs led in percentage growth on Facebook, it is hard to argue that the Jason Akermanis controversy hurt their Facebook strategy. It might be argued that the team was able to effectively capitalize on Akermanis related traffic on Facebook and their website to convert some fringe fans into Facebook fans.

Beyond the total fans of official pages, there are other interesting metrics that can explain the fan response to the Jason Akermanis controversy. One involves the creation and growth of Facebook groups and fan pages: Facebook easily allows users to create them and they do. Some of the fastest member growing Facebook groups and fan pages are created to get media attention for an issue, to help people spread the word about breaking news and share knowledge, to express disgust with actions taken by institutions or to express allegiance with a person or organization in response to negative publicity. Once the catalyst for the event is out of the news, many of these groups face stagnant growth and become irrelevant having been abandoned by their creators.

While it is not possible to date the creation of a group, the Akermanis controversy likely resulted in the creation of a number of fan pages and groups. These groups have names such as Jason Akermanis, you are a MORON!, Jason Akermanis: Homophobe and complete fuckwit!, Jason Akermanis is a homophobe., Jason Akermanis is a dick, Jason Akermanis Is Totally Gay, Only Homophobes think Jason Akermanis is a homophobe!, Jason Akermanis should be locked and gagged in a closet!, Don’t you hate it when you’re in the shower and Jason Akermanis comes in?, Jason Akermanis is a homophobe., Jason Akermanis is a F*ckwit, Jason Akermanis Can’t Drive A Race Car, JASON AKERMANIS’S “IQ OF A PLANT”, Jason Akermanis slept with me, Jason Akermanis is a coward, and for people who wanna see Jason Akermanis shove his head up his own Ass. There are a number of pro or neutral Akermanis groups on Facebook. They likely predate the controversy. They include groups named Jason Akermanis, Jason Akermanis Biography, Jason Akermanis Autobiography, The Battle Within by Jason Akermanis, jason akermanis is amazing!, The Jason Akermanis Appreciation Society, Jason Akermanis is a legend, Jason Akermanis handstand appreciation society, and Jason Akermanis for Brownlow 2008. (3)

Some of the anti-Akermanis groups saw relatively impressive levels of growth. Jason Akermanis is a homophobe. is one of the most popular anti groups. It had 126 members on May 20 and had 547 members by May 24. Membership levels stabilized and it had only 627 members by June 12. Don’t you hate it when you’re in the shower and Jason Akermanis comes in? had 171 fans as of May 22. By May 30, it had 482. Most of the other anti-Jason groups sampled had smaller total populations and smaller membership increases. Some of the anti groups were deleted during this period. One such group was Jason Akermanis Is Totally Gay, which had one member when checked on May 20 and was deleted some time between then and June 10. Jason Akermanis: Homophobe and complete fuckwit! had 118 members on May 20 before being removed from Facebook by May 22.

The pro and neutral Akermanis groups in the sample were all smaller than the two largest anti-Akermanis groups as of June 12, 2010. A pro-Akermanis group ranked third for the total number of fans. In comparison to the anti-Akermanis groups, the growth rate was much smaller. The Jason Akermanis Appreciation Society went from 454 members on May 20 to 469 on June 12. Jason Akermanis is a legend saw no growth during that period, continuing to have 201 total members. Jason Akermanis handstand appreciation society saw a growth of one, going from 88 to 89 during that period. Jason Akermanis at is the group that probably saw the biggest percentage increase of clearly established fan pages. It went from 56 fans on May 20 to 165 on June 12. Jason Akermanis at went from 307 fans on May 20 to 382 on June 12. Growth levels for the pro and neutral groups are level compared to the anti groups. The data suggests that people did not respond to the Akermanis controversy by rushing out to assert their support of him and his views by joining communities about him on Facebook. The data also suggests that the anti-sentiment regarding Akermanis was not sustained for a long period of time and that people were not scared to affiliate with Akermanis, despite people’s negative attitudes towards him.

Another way of evaluating the effect of the Akermanis controversy on the Western Bulldogs is to compare the characteristics of Western Bulldog fans, Akermanis supporters and Akermanis detractors. Facebook shows the network membership for people who belong to many groups and fan pages, which allows such a comparison to take place. On June 13, 2010, a list of all the members of the Western Bulldogs official fan page was pulled. While Facebook shows the page as having 6,819 fans, it only provided names and network membership for 3,343 people. Of these fans, 188 or 5.6% belonged to a network. A membership list for Jason Akermanis is a homophobe. (4) was also pulled. As of June 13, 2010, the group had 627 members, of which Facebook lists 428. Of the 428, 28 or 6.5% belong to a network. A membership list for The Jason Akermanis Appreciation Society was pulled. As of June 13, the group had 469 members of which 337 were on the member list. Of these, 27 or 8.0% belonged to a network.

Networks are Facebook created groupings that early in the site’s history allowed people to easily filter content to people who shared an affiliation with other users. These networks cover three broad general categories: Places of employment, secondary schools and high schools. The pro-Akermanis people belong to thirteen networks not shared by detractors or Western Bulldogs fans. That means 48% of Akermanis fans do not belong to a network that is shared by Western Bulldogs fans and highly suggests that Akermanis’s fanbase largely is independent of the Bulldogs. Eight anti-Akermanis fans or 27% of that population belong to networks not represented by the Western Bulldogs or Akermanis supporters. This suggests that Akermanis detractors likely come from with in the Western Bulldogs fanbase.

The differences between Akermanis detractors and Western Bulldogs fans are really clear when network membership is sorted by type (secondary school, university, company) and then tabulated. (5) 78.6% of all Akermanis detractors that list a network belong to a university related one. This compares to 50.0% for Akermanis supporters and 48.6% for Bulldogs supporters. Bulldog supporter network membership suggests that the club’s goal of building a barracker base from the working class has been successful. The pattern of network membership may also suggest that Akermanis detractors are older than the club’s current supporter base. Given these two conditions, the Bulldogs are likely to be unaffected by the detractors as they represent a demographically distinct group that the club is not marketing to.

Twitter is a popular microblogging platform. Many teams, players and fansites have established a presence on the site. Australian sport fans are also actively using Twitter to discuss their club’s performance, celebrity athlete related gossip and to find other sport news.

There are several possible ways to monitor the impact of the Akermanis controversy as it pertains to Western Bulldogs. Sadly, the most important Twitter metrics are not accessible as the author did not get the data in the moment. (6) These include total number of followers before and after the controversy for the official account and total number of tweets featuring certain keywords. The counting the total number of Tweets by the official account was also not done, as it was believed that this data would not have meaningful results. Unlike the Melbourne Storm controversy, the focus was on a player where the media and fan attention appeared to be on him to the exclusion of his club. Given that, the Bulldogs did not have to respond or change their practices in their official fan communication channels and monitoring their Tweet volume would be unlikely to provide any insight into the fan response to the controversy.

As the three of the most popular Twitter metrics are not available or not relevant, the question is what other metrics can be used? One Twitter analysis tool that can be useful in this case is Twitter Venn. (7) The service creates Venn diagrams based on keywords that a user selects. The service uses Twitter’s search API to find Tweets that mention the two or three teams the user selected, determines if the terms were used together or independently, counts the total Tweets and then creates the Venn. (Clark, n.d.) Using this service on June 11, a Venn diagram (Figure 1) was created. The keywords chosen were based on the goal of trying to exclude irrelevant tweets, such as people talking about their pet Bulldogs or other teams named the Bulldogs. Phrases such as gay, homosexual and homophobic were also not included as their usage extends beyond this controversy and would pick up a lot of irrelevant data.

Figure 1. Twitter Venn. This Venn diagram generated by Twitter Venn demonstrates the lack of overlap between use of Akermanis and Western Bulldogs.

On Twitter, people who mentioned Jason Akermanis did not mention his club affiliation, instead referencing the AFL, gay and other words that indicate the controversy involving the column he published. Based on this, it can be concluded that on Twitter, Akermanis’s comments did not result in rage directed at his club.

Wikipedia is one of the first sources of information that many people turn to when a news story breaks. Articles on the site often provide background information and context to an event, and include a summary and links of breaking news. Wikipedia also has an excellent search engine optimization. When people go to Google or other search engines to find out what is happening, Wikipedia often appears as the first, second or third result. Thus, an increase in an article’s views should be expected when controversy happens.

In terms of the Jason Akermanis and Wikipedia, the way to measure the controversy as it impacts the Western Bulldogs would be to compare the total page views between those two articles. If the controversy reflected more upon Akermanis than his team, the expectation is the page view spike would be higher. The chart below contains traffic information to those two articles for the period between May 1 and June 8, 2010. (8) To give perspective to Akermanis’s situation as it pertains to athlete interest connecting to club interest, data for the Israel Folau, Brisbane Broncos and Western Sydney Football Club articles have been included on the chart. (Figure 2)

Figure 2. Article Views on Wikipedia by Date. Graph shows total views of selected Wikipedia articles between May 1 and June 10, 2010.

The Jason Akermanis controversy did not result in increase in attention for the Western Bulldogs: Total page views by date have a correlation of .280, which suggests that interest in the two is not related. This is much different than the situation that exists for Israel Folau and Greater Western Sydney: The two articles move in tandem in terms of total article views by date with a correlation of .943. (9)

There are two other aspects of Wikipedia worth analyzing as they pertain to understanding the fan community’s actions in response to the controversy. One is the total edits. The second is the location of those edits. For total edits, controversial and high visibility stories tend to lead to an increase in editing. For less controversial news stories, where there isn’t much new information and the topic is not one people are passionate about, there tend to be fewer peaks in editing. Below is a chart (Figure 3) that compares the total number of edits to the Jason Akermanis, Western Bulldogs, Israel Folau and Greater Western Sydney articles.

Figure 3. Total Edits Between May 1 and June 8, 2010 for Selected Wikipedia Articles.

The Jason Akermanis controversy resulted in people editing the article about him. The total number of daily edits does not mirror total number of daily edits to the Western Bulldogs. This continues to suggest that people viewed Akermanis’s actions independently of his club. This contrasts with the Israel Folau situation, where the total number of edits appears to be a bit more connected.

The Western Bulldogs are based in a Melbourne suburb. An argument could be made that the Western Bulldogs should be concerned about maintaining or developing a fanbase in their local area; they do not need to worry about the fan community outside their geographic home. The only way to measure the local fan community response on Wikipedia expressed by editing an article is to use geolocation for IP addresses that have edited an article. As the total edits by date chart shows, there have been very few edits to the Western Bulldogs article since the Jason Akermanis controversy broke. Of the five edits made to the Western Bulldogs article, two edits have been made by users who have not logged in and have a visible IP address. Neither of these edits references the controversy. Both edits are from Melbourne. (10) This suggests that the controversy did not impact their local fanbase.

The edit history for the Jason Akermanis article stands in stark contrast to the Western Bulldogs article. It has a lot more edits and almost all of the non-logged in edits involved editing the article to reference the stay in the closet controversy. There were 29 total edits made by 14 non-logged in users. Of these edits, four are from Melbourne, one each from Camberwell and Sandringham in Victoria, two are from Adelaide, three are from Sydney and three are international. Only 42 percent of the edits to the Jason Akermanis article originate from the Western Bulldog’s geographic home. Determining what this means is more problematic. The most obvious conclusion is that the offended population were geographically dispersed and were more interested in the topic because of the homophobic aspects than because of their interest in Akermanis and the Western Bulldogs. These edits should not be seen as being committed by a base who will punish the Western Bulldogs by not watching games on television or in person.

Bebo was a popular social networking site in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Its popularity has slipped in the past year but there is still a large population of AFL fans on the site. It probably ranks amongst the top ten most popular social networks inside Australia
Bebo allows people to search for keywords and interest that appear in people’s profiles, in videos, descriptions of bands, groups, applications and skins. For profiles, the general assumption is that people do not update interests listed on them regularly after they register. Doing so generally requires a strong desire to associate or disassociate with a person or organization. This desire has to overcome general antipathy towards updating. Thus, interest levels remain relatively stable unless something happens that causes a huge emotional response.

What does this mean for the Western Bulldogs? Did the Jason Akermanis situation reach that point, causing people to want to associate or disassociate with the team? As of March 17, there were 93 people who listed the Western Bulldogs as an interest. (11) By June 8, 2010, this number had increased to 95. There does not appear to have been an attitude shift that causes many people to want to change their public allegiances. The small increase may mean something when compared to Melbourne Storm who saw zero interest listing growth during a similar period prior to and after a major controversy. (Hale, 2010)

While no bebo video data is available for the Western Bulldogs prior to June 9, video data is available for the Brisbane Lions. On May 1, 2010, a search was done of videos on bebo for the “Brisbane Lions.” This is a team that Jason Akermanis played for. On that date, there were 74 videos which mentioned the Brisbane Lions. Three of these videos referenced an Australian soccer league team. The rest were about the AFL team. Of these 71 videos, only one contained Akermanis in the title or description. As of May 1, it had only eleven views. When the video viewing statistics were check on June 9, 2010, there were still only 11 views: The Jason Akermanis controversy has not translated into people seeking out video content on bebo featuring him to watch.

There are no groups about Jason Akermanis. This contrasts to Facebook, where there are several that cover several different views of the player. The Jason Akermanis did not inspire anyone on bebo to create any anti-Jason group, which suggests either antipathy towards the situation or fans not being particularly active on bebo any more.

The only other large player/club controversy that occurred during this time period involved Israel Falou, who switched from the NRL and Brisbane Broncos to the AFL and Greater Western Sydney. To put Jason Akermanis’s fan community as it related to the Western Bulldogs on bebo into context, it is worth comparing the two players. The following data was gathered on June 8, 2010.

Table 2

Bebo interests suggest that Israel Folau is much more important to the Brisbane Broncos fan community than Jason Akermanis is. Jason Akermanis’s comments look like, based on these numbers, that they would have less potential to harm the club than Israel Folau’s desertion to the AFL.

Website Traffic and Demographics
There are primarily three services which track website traffic. They are Alexa, Quantcast and Compete. (12) Each one has something different to offer in terms of how they measure and information they provide about a site. None of these sites are perfect in that they cannot convey a completely accurate picture of a website’s traffic or the demographic composition of visitors to the site. Despite these deficiencies, using their data can begin to give an idea to the fan response by looking for traffic movement out of sync with other teams and if there was a major difference in audiences visiting the Bulldogs site.

Alexa ranks websites based on the amount of traffic they get. It measures traffic using a user-installed toolbar coupled with other data. (13) (alberto, 2009) They can differentiate traffic based on nation and will provide ranking information by country for sites that get a majority of their traffic from specific countries. Their data is also updated daily. This makes them more useful than Compete and Quantcast in that Alexa provides information about Australian sites and updates daily so that daily traffic patterns can be examined.

On June 5, June 8 and June 9, 2010, the international and Australian ranking on Alexa was recorded for all official AFL club websites. (14) This is not ideal, as it does not include traffic prior to and immediately after the Jason Akermanis situation. Still, it can provide a picture of what was happening 16 days after the incident broke, a few days after news of Akermanis’s suspension was announced.

Table 3.

The only team with less traffic to their site is Greater Western Sydney, a team that has not started playing in the AFL yet. While only three of the seventeen teams saw an increase in Australian traffic ranking from June 5 to June 9, (15) the decrease in rank between those dates for the Western Bulldogs was the most extreme: It dropped almost 2,000 places. This suggests that something is going on to depress traffic to the Bulldogs when compared to other teams.

Quantcast and Alexa both provide demographic information about visitors to a site. Quantcast can directly measure a site’s traffic and build a better demographic picture if a site inserts Quantcast’s code into their site. (Quantcast Corporation, 2008) Quancast’s data tends to be American centric and does not always provide a picture of international visitors unless a site is Quantified. Alexa’s demographic data comes from a survey users complete when they install the toolbar. (alberto, 2009)

Bearing in mind that the Quantcast’s description is based on American visitors, the site characterizes visitors to the Western Bulldogs’s site (16) as female, middle aged, Hispanic, have children, make between $30,000 and $60,000 a year and are college graduates. This information was based on all of May 2010, including the nineteen days before the controversy broke out. Alexa, which has much more data from Australian users, characterizes visitors to the Western Bulldogs site as generally between the ages of 18 to 24, male, college graduates, childless and visiting the site from work.

The Geelong Cats and North Melbourne Kangaroos are closest to the Western Bulldogs in terms of amount of traffic. They are also based in the same metro area. Thus, it makes sense to compare their audience with the of the Bulldogs to determine if the there are demographic differences between the clubs that could be attributed to a shift in viewing habits as a result of the Akermanis controversy.

Quantcast characterizes visitors to the Geelong Cats site (17) as female, extremely young, Asian, having no children, making between $30,000 and $60,000 a year and being college graduates. Quantcast characterizes North Melbourne Kangaroos website visitors (18) as being split evenly amongst both genders, teenaged, Asian, having kids in their household, affluent and possessing a graduate degree.

Alexa characterizes Geelong Cats website visitors as being between 18 and 24, male, having a graduate degree, having children, and visiting the site from bother home and work. Alexa characterizes North Melbourne Kangaroos visitors as between 18-24, male, having a college degree, childless and visiting the site from home.

There does not appear to be a demographically homogenous group visiting the websites of all three clubs. The major difference appears to be the racial make up of visitors, with the Western Bulldogs over representing in Hispanics. It would be difficult to make a claim, based on available website demographic data, that the Akermanis situation changed the composition of the fanbase.

43 Things, Blogger and Other Small Networks
While smaller and less influential sites like 43 Things, Blogger and BlackPlanet have tiny populations, they are worth monitoring as they can often be one of the first signs of a major public relations problem online that can no longer be controlled. Twitter and Facebook can often be very temporal: Things happen in the moment and are quickly forgotten. Those sites are not set up to record fan responses. Other sites, either because they are inactive, allow for longer posting, have greater visibility to people outside the network the content exists on or because influential fans from those networks may have greater crossover to a wider selection of sites, can hurt a club or league’s reputation. The content does not go away. There are influential people on some of those sites that can spread the message to a totally different audience with a different demographic profile. Also, when you’re talking to some one in a much smaller group, there tends to be more trust and greater potential for people to believe what their friends are saying. While a person reading one hundred tweets by nominal acquaintances may be able to forget and move on as things move so fast, in a one on one environment, the chances are the smaller group may have bigger problems letting go and moving on.
43things is a goal setting site that is relatively popular in Australia. Prior to the Jason Akermanis controversy, there was one goal related to the Western Bulldogs: See the Western Bulldogs win the grand final. One person was trying to accomplish this goal. Since the controversy, there has been no change in people creating new goals related to the club, nor in the number of people trying to accomplish the existing goal. There have been no goals, either positive or negative, created related to Jason Akermanis. This mirrors the non-action taken by Brisbane Broncos, Israel Folau and Greater Western Sydney fans who added no goals in response to the change in code news for Israel Folau.

BlackPlanet is a small social network marketed at African Americans in the United States. It has a small community of Australians on it. The major sport league that Australians are interested on the site is the NRL. Prior to and after the controversy, no one listed the Western Bulldogs as an interest. After the controversy, no one updated their profiles to include Jason Akermanis as an interest.

Blogger is a blogging site powered by Google. It is one of the more popular free blogging services in Australia. Users can create a profile on the site, which is used to link their different blogs and comments on one page. The profile page includes an interest field that users can fill out. As of January 16, twelve people listed the Western Bulldogs as an interest. This number only changed by one as of June 4 and June 8, 2010, with 13 people listing the team as interest. No one listed Jason Akermanis as an interest on blogger as of June 4, 2010. It is unlikely that the Jason Akermanis situation resulted in any behavioral change in terms of public allegiances shown on profiles for the Western Bulldogs.

Care2 is a small social network marketed at people who want to make the world a better place. It hosts blogs, groups, discussions, personal profiles, petitions and photos. Care2 has a small population of Australian sport fans using it. As the site is geared towards making a difference and addressing social problems, it is a bit surprising that Akermanis does not show up when searching (19) site profiles, discussions, groups or petitions. As of June 11, the Western Bulldogs are only mentioned four times in blogs and only included on one person’s profile. While this data was gathered three weeks after the controversy, it seems unlikely that with no mentions of Akermanis, the small community on Care2 turned against the team. ecademy is a niche social networking site that is an alternative to LinkedIn for professionals. With no earlier benchmarks, a June 11, 2010 profile search (20) turned up similar results to Care2: No one listed the team or Jason Akermanis as an interest on their profile. It is unlikely that the controversy had an impact on the small AFL community on the site.

Wikia is an extremely popular wiki hosting company (21) that allows anyone to freely create a wiki. They are home to three small wikis dedicated to the AFL and Australian rules football. (22) These wikis are small and not very comprehensive. Two were created prior to the controversy and one was created after it. None have had any edits to the Western Bulldogs or Jason Akermanis article. Coincidentally, there have been no edits related to Israel Folau and Greater Western Sydney. The Wikia community for the AFL was clearly not activated in response to the Akermanis or Folau situations. This suggests that the community is either inactive or more interested in historical on field play rather than off field player antics.

Based on fan behavior online, Jason Akermanis’s comments did not help the player build his personal brand. He upset some fans in the short term, and motivated people to create long time reminders of views that they consider problematic. Very few fans rushed to his defense by affiliating with him or creating groups to defend his position. While the controversy may be problematic for Akermanis, the controversy was less problematic for his club, the Western Bulldogs. Fans did not link the club and player on Wikipedia or Twitter. People did not remove their Western Bulldogs interest on sites such as Blogger or change their behavior goals on sites like 43 Things. Inactive Bulldogs fans were not motivated to become active in order to express disgust for the team. The people that had problems with Akermanis were demographically distinct from Bulldogs fans on Facebook. The controversy harmed Akermanis but it did not harm his team’s image.

Akermanis, J. (2010, May 20). “Stay in the closet, Jason Akermanis tells homosexuals.” Herald Sun. Newspaper. Retrieved June 7, 2010, from

alberto. (2009, July 13). “How are Alexa’s traffic rankings determined?” Alexa. Retrieved June 8, 2010, from

Clark, J. (n.d.). “Twitter Venn.” Twitter Venn. Retrieved June 11, 2010, from

Hale, L. (2010, May 20). “Online Activity in the Wake of the Melbourne Storm Controversy.” Ozzie Sport. Retrieved June 9, 2010, from

Noonan, A. (2010, May 27). “AFL closet furore continues.” Sydney Star Observer. Newspaper. Retrieved June 7, 2010, from

Quantcast Corporation. (2008, June 28). “Cookie Corrected Audience Data, Leveraging Multiple Data Sources to
Calibrate Unique Cookie, Machine, and People Counts in a Direct-Measurement Media Economy.” Quantcast. Retrieved June 9, 2010, from

Walsh, C. (2010, May 21). “Aker’s viewpoint bizarre: Roos.” The Australian. Retrieved from


  1. Facebook’s advertising page is located at .  As of June 11, 2010, it said that there were 9,300,240 people from Australia.
  2. The urls for the fan pages in this sample are,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and,
  3. The following is a complete list of URLs for Jason Akermanis related Facebook fan pages and groups that the author looked at:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,  and .
  4. The group can be found at .
  5. The following table lists the network, the type of network and the total members from the three different groups looked at.

    Network Type Supporters Detractors Bulldogs Total
    Victoria AU University 2 1 15 18
    Monash University 2 8 7 17
    University of Melbourne University 2 1 13 16
    RMIT University 0 0 15 15
    State Government of Victoria Company 0 0 11 11
    Deakin University 0 2 8 10
    La Trobe University University 2 0 7 9
    Westbourne Grammar School Secondary school 0 0 4 4
    Bendigo Senior Secondary College Secondary school 0 0 3 3
    Curtin University 0 2 1 3
    Haileybury College Secondary school 1 0 2 3
    MacKillop College Secondary school 1 0 2 3
    St. Paul’s College Secondary school 0 0 3 3
    University of Sydney University 0 2 1 3
    Catholic College Bendigo Secondary school 0 0 2 2
    Essendon Keilor College Secondary school 0 0 2 2
    Hoppers Crossing Secondary College Secondary school 1 0 1 2
    Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School Secondary school 1 0 1 2
    James Cook University 0 1 1 2
    Methodist Ladies’ College Secondary school 0 0 2 2
    National Australia Bank Company 0 0 2 2
    St. Bernard’s College Secondary school 0 0 2 2
    Sunbury College Secondary school 0 0 2 2
    Swinburne University 0 0 2 2
    Telstra Company 0 1 1 2
    UNSW University 1 1 0 2
    Whitefriars College Secondary school 0 0 2 2
    Academy of Mary Immaculate Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    ANZ Company 0 0 1 1
    Australian National University 0 0 1 1
    Bacchus Marsh College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Ballarat & Clarendon College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Ballarat High School Secondary school 1 0 0 1
    Benedictine IL University 0 0 1 1
    Binghamton University 1 0 0 1
    Bowness High School Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Box Hill High School Secondary school 0 1 0 1
    Braemar College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Burnside State High School Secondary school 1 0 0 1
    Cairns State High School Secondary school 0 1 0 1
    Catholic Regional College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Central Queensland University 0 0 1 1
    Chairo Christian School Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Charles Campbell Secondary School Secondary school 1 0 0 1
    Charles Darwin University 0 0 1 1
    Charles Sturt University University 1 0 0 1
    Chelmer Valley High School Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Clonard College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Computer Sciences Corporation Company 0 0 1 1
    Copperfield College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    De La Salle College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Elsevier Company 0 0 1 1
    Emmaus College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Esperance Senior High School Secondary school 1 0 0 1
    FedEx Company 0 0 1 1
    Firbank Grammar School Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Ford Motor Company Company 0 0 1 1
    FRANCE 24 Company 0 0 1 1
    Geelong Grammar School Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Gisborne Secondary College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Governor Stirling High School Secondary school 1 0 0 1
    Griffith University 0 1 0 1
    Guilford Young College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Gymnase de Beaulieu Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Heathfield High School Secondary school 1 0 0 1
    Hellyer College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    IESEG School of Management University 0 0 1 1
    Illawarra Sports High School Secondary school 0 1 0 1
    John Willcock Senior High School Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Jones Lang LaSalle Company 0 0 1 1
    Kantonsschule Büelrain Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Karingal Park Secondary College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Keilor Downs College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    KPMG Company 0 0 1 1
    Launceston College Secondary school 1 0 0 1
    Lowther Hall Anglican School Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Macquarie University 0 0 1 1
    Melbourne High School Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Merrimac State High School Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Metso Company 1 0 0 1
    Mildura Senior College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Mincom Company 0 0 1 1
    Mirrabooka Senior High School Secondary school 1 0 0 1
    Mount Carmel College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Mowbray College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Nazareth College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Newcastle University 0 1 0 1
    Newcomb High Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Northern Beaches Christian School Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Norwood Secondary College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Nowra Christian School Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Nowra High School Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Optus Company 0 0 1 1
    Padua College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Patterson River Secondary College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Presentation College Windsor Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Sacred Heart AU Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Sacred Heart College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Salesian College Rupertswood Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    San Diego State University 0 0 1 1
    Smithfield State High School Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    St Albans Secondary College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    St. Aloysius College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    St. Thomas University 0 0 1 1
    Star Of The Sea Secondary school 0 1 0 1
    Star of the Sea College Secondary school 0 1 0 1
    Strathmore Secondary College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    T. D. Williamson Company 0 0 1 1
    Tasmania University 0 0 1 1
    The British School Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    The Friends’ School Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    The Peninsula School Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Trinity Catholic School Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    University of New England University 0 1 0 1
    University of Peradeniya University 0 0 1 1
    University of Zimbabwe University 1 0 0 1
    UT Arlington University 0 0 1 1
    UWA University 1 0 0 1
    Webber Academy Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Wellesley University 0 1 0 1
    Westpac Banking Company 0 0 1 1
    William Angliss Institute of TAFE University 0 0 1 1
    Wodonga Senior Secondary College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Wycheproof College Secondary school 0 0 1 1
    Total Secondary school 12 5 80 97
    Total University 13 22 82 117
    Total Company 1 1 26 28
    Total 26 28 188 242
    Percentage Secondary school 46.2% 17.9% 42.6% 40.1%
    Percentage University 50.0% 78.6% 43.6% 48.3%
    Percentage Company 3.8% 3.6% 13.8% 11.6%
  6. Data regarding the comparative size of total Twitter followers for the Western Bulldogs was initially gathered on June 1, almost a week after the controversy first started.  Twitter follower counts for other official club accounts were not recorded on that.  This further hampers the ability to make comparisons between teams.
  7. Twitter Venn is located at .
  8. Article view information is provided by .
  9. The correlation between the Brisbane Broncos article and the Israel Folau article is .155.  The relationship between page views for each article is close to random.
  10. was used to determine the geolocation of IP addresses.
  11. This number came from visiting , clicking on the people tab and searching for “Western Bulldogs.”
  12. Compete is not being looked at here because they have not updated their data to include May.  They also do not provide free demographic details about visitors to sites that they track.
  13. It is important to note that this tool does not measure direct traffic to a site.  Rather, it involves sampling traffic to the site to get an approximate for this his compares to other sites.
  14. The list of Alexa pages checked include: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and .
  15. There are almost certainly cyclical patterns to the checking of AFL club websites: People check them on game and around game day to keep up with the team.  They are unlikely to check club websites when there is no club news and teams are not playing.
  16. The Quantcast information is from
  17. The Quantcast information is from
  18. The Quantcast information is from
  19. The url for the search that was confused is .
  20. The ecademy search can be found at
  21. As of June 11, 2010, Alexa ranks Wikia as the 312th most popular site on the Internet.  Compete estimates that the site gets around 3.2 million visitors a month.
  22. The wikis are , , and .

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A map of Team GWS on Facebook

Posted by Laura on Tuesday, 13 July, 2010

I love visualizing data.  It can make things so much easier to understand.  If you haven’t heard, there is going to be a new AFL team called Greater Western Sydney or Team GWS.  There are a number of Facebook fanpages and groups dedicated to the team.  I went to,, and  I created a list of everyone who belonged to those fan pages and groups and the networks that those members were part of.  I then counted the total members of each networks, identified the geographic location of each network, added the total number of people from a city together… and yay! I got the pretty map below.

View full map

People who know Australian geography better than me: Are the fans in New South Wales from western Sydney?

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Digital Sport Summit: Nick Marvin, Alana Fisher, Panel Discussion

Posted by Laura on Monday, 12 July, 2010

Alana Fisher; Manager, Digital and Social Media (FIFA World Cup Bid), Football Federation Australia
This was another one of those presentations that I really found insightful as it explained how an Australian sport organization handled it. I was also able to contrast it with two of the state bodies that I’ve some familiarity with from having talked to their W-League representatives. There were some numbers that were really impressive but then put into the context of membership appeared less so. This doesn’t appear to a problem unique to the FFA though as an AFL club representative said that when you looked at the number of people who fan/like the team and then hide them from their feed, it can be shockingly high. I just didn’t take that many notes for this session as some of the numbers were a rehash.

  • COI : Cost of Inactivity.
  • You need a community manager. Community managers deal with content and moderation.
  • They have over 160,000 people supporting their World Cup bid fan page.
  • They have around 100,000 fans for the Socceroos on Facebook.
  • They have a policy similar to that of Essendon regarding moderation.
  • A good post has 250 comments.
  • The coach decided to not allow players to use social media during the World Cup. FIFA also has their own guidelines for social media usage by players.

Nick Marvin; Chief Executive Officer, Perth Wildcats

I wasn’t expecting to take as many notes during this presentation as I did. The organization seems very on the ball with what they are doing. I really enjoyed this presentation.

  • Marvin is not a sport guy. It is not his background.
  • He has a sporting model based on the business model:

Top of triangle:
Bottom of triangle.

  • Winning isn’t everything. Engagement and tribal belonging are more important.
  • Converting fans into paying customers: Specia deals on Twitter, discount codes. Target Perth Wildcat fans using e-mail.
  • 51% of Facebook fans are likely to buy. 67% of Twitter followers are likely to buy.
  • 35% of women are looking for deals online.
  • CRM to SCRM: Need to move that way.
  • Broad traditional media campaign is important to run but it is important to run that parallel to a social media and e-mail strategy.
  • Going through social media, it allows:

1) Real time,

2) Direct/No intermediaries,

3) More authentic,

4) Less noise,

5) More frequent, and

6) Appropriate length.

  • Social media allows real time feedback.
  • The Perth Wildcats players sign a contract with the team for ethical behavior and community work.
  • You need to monitor your brand.
  • BackType and Social Mentions are two tools to help you monitor your brand.
  • The Wildcats hire for character first. Character helps to build a brand.
  • The Perth Wildcats use social media to monitor staff welfare. One person who the CEO saw tweet about feeling ill he talked to and suggested they go home if they are not feeling well.

Panel discussion: Nick Marvin, Jonathan Simpson, Jeramie McPeek, Alana Fisher

This was interesting but not as much interaction between panelists as there could be. It was at times more of a dialog with the audience. Still, lots of interesting things to learn from the panel.

  • The Wildcats have increased their ticket prices 35% just to decrease the demand.
  • The AFL is watching the NBA is doing and checking their own policies for online broadcasts as it relates to radio/audio.
  • Steve Nash does his charity work quietly, without broadcasting it.
  • Essendon has the best merchandising sales in the AFL. Essendon has a good situation as many advertisers approach them directly to cut their own deals, unlike other clubs who are hamstrung by the Telstra deal.
  • Essendon encourages players not to look at comments. The club has talked with players about managing Facebook, and educating players in how to deal with social media.
  • The Suns get in contact with Twitter people when people impersonate players and management.
  • The AFLPA is working on snuffing out fake accounts on Facebook as they can be problematic.
  • The Perth Wildcats CEO sat down and talked to a player who was slagged in the blogosphere.

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Digital Sport Summit: Awesome event!

Posted by Laura on Saturday, 10 July, 2010

On July 7, 2010, I attended the Digital Sport Summit held in Melbourne, Victoria.  I was really excited to attend for several reasons.  First, many of the speakers were from Australian sporting organizations.  Some of the speakers represented clubs and the league I am doing my research on.  Second, the topic involved social media.  I love social media and better understanding how it is used from an organizational perspective because that can have an important impact on how fans organize themselves.  Third, it was a chance to get out of Canberra.  I love the people I’ve had an opportunity to talk to up here including the Canberra Raiders and Canberra United but the market conditions are really different than those that exist in other parts of Australia.  I also love Canberra but I wanted to go some place where I could get from Point A to Point B and pass by several coffee shops.  I also wanted to see the penguins.  Lastly, I wanted a chance to meet some of the people I’d gotten to know on Twitter who have been helpful in teaching me more about Australian sport.

The speakers included Ed Wyatt, Jeramie McPeek, Anthony Harrison, Peter Jankulovski, Finn Bradshaw, Darren Rowse, Alana Fisher, Nick Marvin and Harry O’Brien.  Below is a gallery of some pictures I took from my seat in the back (where I had a table to write on, could use Twitter on my iPhone with out being annoying, and where I could do data gathering during presentations I was less interested in).  The next two or three posts will include notes from the various sessions I listened to.  I’ve decided to put them into separate posts because one big post would be really difficult to read.

Before getting to those posts, I just wanted to say that the event was really fantastic.  I got a chance to meet a few people from the AFL including two guys from the league and two guys from the Essendon Bombers. (And they were polite when I attacked them with HERE IS A PAPER AND DATA NOT ABOUT YOUR TEAM BUT TO SEE WHAT I CAN DO.) Some of the presentations answered questions I had regarding why data was acting the way it was and explained some of the decision making going on that impacts the fan experience.  It also did this from an Australian sport perspective, with many presenters giving context for how this compared to American and European social media usage. They presented organization, the media and athlete perspectives.  This was useful because it helped put all these pieces into a larger context for how the larger sport industry functions.   If Anthony Alsop and co. put on the event again with a similar price point, I’d happily try to go again.

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Problematic gathering of Foursquare data

Posted by Laura on Monday, 28 June, 2010

One of the challenges of social media metrics is identifying what numbers matter, how to get those numbers ,  how to organize that data in a way that facilitates quickly getting the data and making it useful, and making sure your data set is complete.  The latter can be problematic as people can always create new communities, groups, hashtags, accounts, etc. If you don’t organize your data in a useful way and regularly update it, you can create such a huge mess as to make your data almost unusable.

This is a problem I’ve run into with my AFL and NRL Foursquare data.  When I first started gathering this data in late April, I spent a day or two looking for all the venues.  Slightly problematic issue arose in that not all venues had been created.  I never went back to regularly check to see if these venues had been created.  What this means is that my NRL data has several huge holes in it, because venues don’t exist or the venue that does exist was not the more popular of the ones created.

Another problem was the data was not collected in a way that I found entirely logical when I revisited it to try to create a table to show the average number of checkins at home and away matches for the NRL.  (I wanted to do the NRL first, before I tackled the AFL because I’m focusing on the AFL and trial and erroring on the NRL seemed wiser.)  I gathered the total checkins and unique visitors every Thursday through Monday night for all venues that played NRL and AFL games that I had identified.  In hindsight, this wasn’t the best way to go about this.  I should have identified everything by games being played as it would have made processing the data much, much easier and I wouldn’t have as much “garbage” data that I have to wade through.  I’ve spent most of the morning correcting this mistake by identifying games and venue locations so I can more easily and efficiently track total checkins for AFL games and some NRL games.  (Later, I can try to do this when the A-League, W-League and NBL start up.)

Looking through existing Foursquare data though, I really don’t know if I will want to process it.  I’d almost rather go through the last quarter of the season, where I know I have a complete data set than try to piece together the data dating back to late April.  I probably won’t do that but I’ll likely have to figure out what to do.  It isn’t pretty and I’m really kicking myself for what could have been a lot of time wasted each data gathering data that I can’t use.

My gowalla data faces similar issues.  The big difference there is I’ve always known I haven’t had a complete data set and it was through processing World Cup data on Gowalla that I realized my collection issues with Foursquare data collection.  I’d love to use Gowalla for AFL/NRL analysis but it isn’t going to happen.  I mean, it really isn’t going to happen, especially as Foursquare is the bigger priority as it has greater penetration in Australia and I never had a complete venue list for Gowalla.

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Popular sport team and league sites in Australia

Posted by Laura on Saturday, 5 June, 2010

I was curious as to which team had the most popular website in the AFL.  There are three places to get this information: Quantcast, Alexa and Compete.  Each has various advantages and disadvantages.  In this case, I chose Alexa as I can get the rank of a website in Australia.  I can’t get that information using Compete or Quantcast. Alexa has its issues and I can’t translate this into real traffic numbers but it is the best option. While doing the AFL, I wanted to look at some other teams to see how they compare.   These ranks date to today, June 5, 2010.

This list is not comprehensive.  It does not include every major team in Australia.  At some point in the future, I’ll update this list and it will be more comprehensive but just not today.  That AFL teams generally are near the top, NRL teams coming in just below them.  The NBL, W-League and A-League are scattered around in the bottom 2/3rds.  As these leagues are not currently active, that can offer a bit of an explanation.  These leagues also draw smaller crowds, which also goes to explain their comparatively low ranking.

League Team Site World Rank Rank in AU Notes 480 10 Newspaper 1411 21 Newspaper
AFL AFL 4981 43 Official page
NRL NRL 11856 139 Official page
AFL Collingwood Magpies 125048 1548 Official page
AFL Essendon Bombers 134041 1549 Official page
AFL Hawthorn Hawks 130153 1624 Official page
AFL Sydney Swans 153740 1644 Official page
AFL Brisbane Lions 199852 1973 Official page
AFL Carlton Blues 164306 2084 Official page
AFL Richmond Tigers 155839 2367 Official page
AFL St. Kilda Saints 220585 2616 Official page
AFL AFL 179293 3020 Fansite
AFL Melbourne Demons 214459 3049 Official page
AFL Melbourne Demons 250209 3084 Fansite
AFL Port Adelaide Power 308152 4183 Official page
AFL Adelaide Crows 273306 4500 Official page
AFL West Coast Eagles 329644 4678 Official page
AFL Fremantle Dockers 325524 4757 Official page
NRL St George Illawarra Dragons 344472 5398 Official page
AFL North Melbourne Kangaroos 435131 6042 Official page
NRL Brisbane Broncos 293295 6094 Official page
A-League A-League 302774 6435 Official page
AFL Geelong Cats 346158 6727 Official page
Queensland Rugby League Queensland Rugby League 500941 6820 Official page
NRL South Sydney Rabbitohs 382358 7809 Official page
AFL Essendon Bombers 444657 8038 Fansite
NBL NBL 246581 8499 Official page
New South Wales Rugby League New South Wales Rugby League 569991 9181 Official page
AFL Western Bulldogs 504585 9758 Official page
AFL St. Kilda Saints 603805 10425 Fansite
NRL Melbourne Storm 322986 12304 Official page
AFL AFL 696070 13869 Fansite
NRL Sydney Roosters 490632 15478 Official page
A-League Melbourne Victory 614721 17874 Official page
NRL Cronulla Sharks 862900 18169 Official page
AFL Sydney Swans 797187 19352 Fansite
NRL Gold Coast Titans 602278 19366 Official page
A-League Perth Glory 1307741 20308 Official page
A-League Sydney FC 829172 23148 Official page
NRL Penrith Panthers 901889 25798 Official page
W-League Canberra United 5088164 52476 Official page
W-League Canberra United 5088164 52476 Official page
A-League Central Coast Mariners Football Club 1792652 61405 Official page
NRL Newcastle Knights 1411848 67121 Official page
A-League Adelaide United 1098452 69128 Official page
Volleyball Australia Volleyball Australia 2013818 78589 Official page
Australian Rugby League Australian Rugby League 2464044 86084 Official page
A-League Newcastle Jets 1860876 Official page. Not AU ranked.
NBL Perth Wildcats 3137392 Official page
AFL Geelong Cats 3511841 Fansite
New South Wales Rugby League Western Suburbs Magpies 6130730 Official page
AFL Hawthorn Hawks 6592328 Fansite
Western Australia Rugby League Western Australia Rugby League 12703243 Official page
NSW Tertiary Student Rugby League NSW Tertiary Student Rugby League 14752272 Official page
AFL Geelong Cats 17481491 Fansite
NBL Sydney Kings 19390631 Official page

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Version 3: Most popular Australian athlete and team related Twitter accounts by total followers.

Posted by Laura on Monday, 31 May, 2010

This post is basically an update of Version 2: Most popular Australian athlete and team related Twitter accounts by total followers. I haven’t actively sought to improve or update the accounts included on this list though there are a few new accounts.  A few accounts have been deleted and one has been suspended, LanceFranklin. Deleted and suspended accounts have been marked with a 0 for total number of followers.

This data was gathered on May 30, 2010.  It includes non-Australian teams that compete in Australian based leagues.  It also contains Australian some athlete accounts where the athlete competes for a club in an Australian based league.

League Team Account Total followers
First class cricket New South Wales Blues PH408 (unofficial) 11902
Super 14 Pretoria Bulls (Northern Bulls) VictorMatfield (unofficial) 7452
Super 14 Natal Sharks JohnSmit123 (unofficial) 7221
NRL Wests Tigers LoteTuqiri (unofficial) 6688
AFL Essendon Bombers Essendon_FC 5242
AFL Collingwood Magpies Collingwood_FC 5183
AFL Adelaide Crows Adelaide_FC 5008
AFL Melbourne Demons jimstynes (unofficial) 4476
AFL Sydney Swans sydneyswans 4340
AFL Essendon Bombers JobeWatson (unofficial) 4284
AFL Collingwood Magpies harry_o (unofficial) 4174
AFL Essendon Bombers AngusMonfries (unofficial) 3801
Super 14 Wellington Hurricanes Hurricanesrugby 3696
NRL St. George Illawarra Dragons RealBigDell (unofficial) 3688
AFL St. Kilda Saints stkildafc 3351
Super 14 Wellington Hurricanes neyza3 (unofficial) 3330
AFL Carlton Blues Carlton_FC 3223
NRL Gold Coast Titans mat_rogers6 (unofficial) 3056
Super 14 Canterbury Crusaders mornesteyn (unofficial) 2790
AFL Geelong Cats Geelong_FC (unofficial) 2667
Super 14 Queensland Reds QuadeCooper (unofficial) 2363
NRL Brisbane Broncos BrisBroncosClub 2322
AFL Richmond Tigers Richmond_FC 2085
NRL Gold Coast Titans GCTitans 2052
AFL Hawthorn Hawks HawthornFC 2031
AFL Melbourne Demons nathan2jones (unofficial) 2019
World Cup Socceroos Socceroos 1998
NRL New Zealand Warriors (Auckland Warriors) nzwarriors (unofficial) 1959
A-League Melbourne Victory gomvfc 1959
AFL North Melbourne Kangaroos northkangaroos 1891
World Cup Socceroos socceroos_news (unofficial) 1668
Super 14 Cape Town Stormers (Western Stormers) THESTORMERS 1652
NRL Parramatta Eels jarryd_hayne (unofficial) 1643
Super 14 Wellington Hurricanes Powza13 (unofficial) 1619
First class cricket New South Wales Blues NBRACKEN142 (unofficial) 1559
NRL North Queensland Cowboys northqldcowboys 1544
AFL Melbourne Demons CamSchwab (unofficial) 1542
AFL Port Adelaide Power PAFC 1539
AFL Melbourne Demons DemonsHQ (official) 1522
Super 14 Durban Sharks (Coastal Sharks)(Natal Sharks) sharksrugby 1521
AFL West Coast Eagles WCEofficial 1475
NRL Wests Tigers Wests_Tigers (unofficial) 1440
AFL Hawthorn Hawks Hawks_AFL (unofficial) 1396
NBL Melbourne Tigers Follow24Hodge (unofficial) 1338
First class cricket New South Wales Blues ClarkeVC (unofficial) 1268
NRL South Sydney Rabbitohs SSFCRABBITOHS 1263
ANZ Championship Melbourne Vixens MelbourneVixens 1232
AFL Fremantle Dockers Fremantle_FC 1232
First class cricket Victorian Bushrangers Bushrangers 1189
NRL Manly Sea Eagles manlyseaeagles 1129
NRL Melbourne Storm MelbStormRLC (official) 1124
NBL Adelaide 36ers Adelaide36ers 1030
AFL Gold Coast Football Club GoldCoastFC 1001
NRL Sydney Roosters sydroosters (unofficial) 995
Super 14 Canterbury Crusaders crusadersrugby 962
AFL Brisbane Lions ALFbrisbane (unofficial) 908
AFL Collingwood Magpies PeterDaicos (unofficial) 903
A-League Melbourne Victory mitchlangerak (unofficial) 881
NRL Penrith Panthers penrithpanthers (unofficial) 840
NRL Parramatta Eels parramatta_eels 838
A-League Central Coast Mariners Football Club LawrieMcKinna 815
A-League Central Coast Mariners Football Club LawrieMcKinna (unofficial) 815
AFL North Melbourne Kangaroos andrewswallow (unofficial) 810
Super 14 New South Wales Waratahs HSBCWaratahs 772
NBL Wollongong Hawks wollongonghawks 757
NRL Melbourne Storm MelbourneStorm_ (unofficial) 750
A-League Melbourne Victory adrianleijer (unofficial) 745
A-League North Queensland Fury FC nqfuryfc 744
Super 14 Queensland Reds RedsRugby (unofficial) 732
ANZ Championship Melbourne Vixens SharelleVixens 724
Super 14 Queensland Reds Reds_Rugby 705
NRL South Sydney Rabbitohs rabbitohs (unofficial) 699
Super 14 ACT Brumbies BrumbiesRugby 683
NRL Parramatta Eels PirtekParraEels (unofficial) 670
AFL Collingwood Magpies collingwoodnews (unofficial) 649
Super 14 Natal Sharks KeeganDaniel (unofficial) 632
First class cricket Queensland Bulls andrew_symonds (unofficial) 608
NRL South Sydney Rabbitohs therabbitohs (unofficial) 605
NBL Perth Wildcats perthwildcats 591
AFL Collingwood Magpies bigdyman (unofficial) 568
A-League Melbourne Victory victoryinmelb 552
NBL New Zealand Breakers johnrillie (unofficial) 537
AFL West Coast Eagles wingsofperth (unofficial) 536
NRL New Zealand Warriors (Auckland Warriors) thenzwarriors 521
AFL Fremantle Dockers Freo_Dockers (unofficial) 519
NBL South Dragons Joeingles7 (unofficial) 516
NRL Gold Coast Titans AshHarrison1 (unofficial) 498
NRL South Sydney Rabbitohs benross23 (unofficial) 487
AFL St. Kilda Saints njbrown17 (unofficial) 481
A-League Brisbane Roar BNERoar (unofficial) 471
NSW Premier League Sydney Olympic MarkBosnich (unofficial) 470
Super 14 Melbourne Rebels melbournerebels 469
NRL Gold Coast Titans lukeodwyer (unofficial) 467
Basketball Australia Australian Boomers aussieboomers 465
AFL Fremantle Dockers FremantleFC (unofficial) 453
A-League Newcastle Jets newcastle_jets 441
A-League Adelaide United adelaideunited 423
NRL Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks SharksOnline (unofficial) 422
A-League Sydney FC SFCNews (unofficial) 421
A-League Perth Glory PerthGlory_FC 414
Netball Australia Netball Australia NetballAust 377
NRL Canberra Raiders RaidersCanberra 375
NRL Parramatta Eels PlanetEels (unofficial) 374
A-League Adelaide United adelaidereds 350
ANZ Championship Queensland Firebirds laurafirebirds (unofficial) 338
NRL Brisbane Broncos broncosbigfan (unofficial) 336
First class cricket Tassie Tigers crickettas 328
NBL Wollongong Hawks milisimic (unofficial) 327
NBL Perth Wildcats nickmarvin (unofficial) 322
NRL St. George Illawarra Dragons mighty_dragons (unofficial) 321
NBL Townsville Crocodiles TsvCrocs 313
NBL Melbourne Tigers Wortho33 (unofficial) 313
A-League Wellington Phoenix wgtnphoenixfc 307
Netball Victoria Netball Victoria netballvic 306
A-League Brisbane Roar brisbaneroar 305
ANZ Championship Adelaide Thunderbirds NatTbirds 304
AFL West Coast Eagles WestCoastEagles (unofficial) 294
NBL Townsville Crocodiles chomicide (unofficial) 287
NBL Cairns Taipans Dusty_Rychart (unofficial) 283
AFL Brisbane Lions AFLBrisbaneFC 283
NRL Parramatta Eels blueandgoldarmy (unofficial) 280
NRL Brisbane Broncos BrisbaneBronco (unofficial) 274
ANZ Championship New South Wales Swifts SusanSwifts 263
AFL Melbourne Demons MelbourneFC (unofficial) 263
NRL Manly Sea Eagles gorgeousgrose (unofficial) 248
AFL West Coast Eagles MitchJbrown17 (unofficial) 242
Netball Australia Australian Diamonds (national team) AussieDiamonds 242
NRL Wests Tigers fakebrycegibbs (unofficial) 222
NRL Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks Fergo1990 (unofficial) 220
First class cricket New South Wales Blues eddiecowan (unofficial) 213
AFL Essendon Bombers essendonfc (unofficial) 212
NBL New Zealand Breakers oscarforman (unofficial) 203
A-League Gold Coast United GCUSC 202
Super 14 ACT Brumbies Hoilesy (unofficial) 201
NRL Brisbane Broncos broncobasher (unofficial) 200
Rugby League/State of Origin New South Wales Blues NSWRL 198
First class cricket South Australian Redbacks (Southern Redbacks) RedbacksT20 196
A-League Central Coast Mariners Football Club CCMarinersFC (unofficial) 183
NBL Perth Wildcats TheRealSchensh (unofficial) 179
First class cricket Victorian Bushrangers petersiddle (unofficial) 171
ANZ Championship New South Wales Swifts nswswifts 171
NBL Townsville Crocodiles rustyhinder (unofficial) 168
Super 14 Western Australia Force (Western Force) s14_force 163
Basketball Australia Australian Opals AustralianOpals 160
NRL Parramatta Eels 1eyedeel (unofficial) 159
Super 14 Queensland Reds s14_queensland (unofficial) 153
NBL New Zealand Breakers NZBreakers 152
AFL Sydney Swans BionicSwan (unofficial) 151
Rugby League/State of Origin Queensland Maroons QLD_Maroons 144
A-League Melbourne Victory victorytwit (unofficial) 144
VFL Casey Scorpions CaseyScorpions 144
Super 14 Central Cheetahs (Vodacom Cheetahs) VodacomCheetahs 141
ANZ Championship Adelaide Thunderbirds AdelaideTBirds 135
VFL North Ballarat Roosters NB_Roosters 134
NBL Adelaide 36ers DarrenNg8 (unofficial) 128
AFL Fremantle Dockers ryanmcrowley (unofficial) 124
AFL North Melbourne Kangaroos Marcus__White (unofficial) 121
A-League Melbourne Victory mvfcfanzone 114
AFL Hawthorn Hawks bmsew (unofficial) 113
NBL Adelaide 36ers jgovereasy (unofficial) 113
NRL St. George Illawarra Dragons jsaffy (unofficial) 111
NRL Newcastle Knights Corypato (unofficial) 110
Australia Athletics Australian Flames (national team) australianflame 108
NRL Balmain Tigers tigers1908 (unofficial) 106
ANZ Championship West Coast Fever SusanWCFever 93
AFL St. Kilda Saints RWBFooty (unofficial) 93
Gridiron Australia Nationals Perth Blitz fatloaf (unofficial) 91
AFL Melbourne Demons matesOmelbourne (unofficial) 90
AFL Western Bulldogs ccaallward (unofficial) 88
Netball New South Wales Sydney_Netball 88
First class cricket Queensland Bulls qldcricket 81
NBL Sydney Kings sydneykings 73
AFL Fremantle Dockers briansham (unofficial) 71
A-League Sydney FC SydneyFC 69
AFL Richmond Tigers yellow_n_black (unofficial) 67
SFL Caulfield Bears CaulfieldBears 66
NBL Townsville Crocodiles JoshJenkins24 (unofficial) 65
AFL Melbourne Demons demonwiki (unofficial) 65
NBL Adelaide 36ers BenFitz (unofficial) 64
Semi Professional Basketball League Semi Professional Basketball League SEABL 58
NRL Gold Coast Titans Aaron_Cannings (unofficial) 57
NBL Adelaide 36ers 36ers (unofficial) 55
NBL South (Melbourne) Dragons SAVEOURDRAGONS (unofficial) 49
AFL Collingwood Magpies VictoriaParkHC (unofficial) 49
Claxton Shield Barbagallo Perth Heat PerthHeat 48
NBL Wollongong Hawks danjackson9 (unofficial) 39
NBL Townsville Crocodiles Kegs42 (unofficial) 39
AFL Essendon Bombers bomberblitz (unofficial) 37
NSW Premier League Manly United ManlyUnited 35
WNBL Bendio Spirit bendigospirit 35
NBL Townsville Crocodiles willo43 (unofficial) 34
NRL Parramatta Eels parraeels (unofficial) 33
NBL Gold Coast Blaze Vandy21 (unofficial) 33
Netball New South Wales Petersham RUFC Netball Club PetershamNetbal 32
Brisbane Netball Association ACE Netball Club ACENetball 31
Plenty Valley Netball Association Orcas Netball Orcas_Netball 30
WNBL Dandenong Jayco Rangers JaycoRangers 30
AFL Fremantle Dockers bc8977 (unofficial) 20
VFL Port Melbourne Borough BoroughBoy (unofficial) 19
NBL Townsville Crocodiles ToffCedar (unofficial) 16
NBL Townsville Crocodiles cameronwhiting (unofficial) 12
WNBL Logan Thunder loganthunder 11
NBL Adelaide 36ers brad_393 (unofficial) 6
Gridiron Australia Nationals Perth Blitz perthblitz 1
NRL Wests Tigers beauryan_winger (unofficial) 0
NSW Premier League Sydney United addsie (unofficial) 0
A-League Sydney FC SydneyFC0910 0
Super 14 Queensland Reds ezytaylor (unofficial) 0
A-League Melbourne Victory MVFCVIDEOS (unofficial) 0
AFL Melbourne Demons jordiemck (unofficial) 0
AFL Hawthorn Hawks LanceFranklin (unofficial) 0
WNBL Dandenong Jayco Rangers jennaohea (unofficial) 0
AFL Brisbane Lions AFLbrisbanelion 0

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Most popular official team pages on Facebook

Posted by Laura on Sunday, 30 May, 2010

I’ve been data collecting again. In this case, I was updating my Facebook group and fan pages member totals. Eventually, this will all be written up and include an analysis of some patterns that exist. In the meantime, I feel the need to share of this data as the results… surprised me.  I was curious as to which Australian team had the most popular official Facebook page.  Bearing in mind that outside the AFL and NRL, my inclusion list is limited and that not every team has an official page… This list should not be considered all comprehensive.  Still, it gives a fairly good idea of what may be going on Facebook:

League Team Name Total members
Rugby League/State of Origin Queensland Maroons Queensland Maroons 96751
World Cup Soccer Socceroos Socceroos – Australian National Football Team 59215
AFL Essendon Bombers Essendon FC 54556
NRL Brisbane Lions Brisbane Broncos 51458
AFL Adelaide Crows Adelaide Crows 42119
AFL West Coast Eagles West Coast Eagles 38541
AFL Collingwood Magpies Collingwood Football Club 35516
AFL St. Kilda Saints St Kilda Football Club 26072
NRL Gold Coast Titans Gold Coast Titans 20975
AFL Fremantle Dockers Fremantle Football Club 19244
AFL Carlton Blues Carlton Football Club 18554
AFL Hawthorn Hawks Hawthorn Football Club 17996
NRL Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 17691
NRL Wests Tigers Wests Tigers – Official National Rugby League Club 16521
NRL Newcastle Knights Newcastle Knights 14337
NRL Sydney Roosters The Official Sydney Roosters Page 13923
AFL North Melbourne Kangaroos North Melbourne Football Club 12682
AFL Port Adelaide Power Port Adelaide Football Club 11906
NRL Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks Cronulla Sharks 10416
AFL Richmond Tigers Richmond FC 7805
AFL Richmond Tigers Richmond FC 7805
AFL Melbourne Demons Melbourne Football Club 6995
AFL Western Bulldogs Western Bulldogs 6383
AFL Geelong Cats Geelong Cats Insider 5264
NRL Melbourne Storm Storm Man 4778
NRL North Queensland Cowboys North Queensland Toyota Cowboys 2948
NRL Canberra Raiders Canberra Raiders 2883
Super 14 ACT Brumbies Official Brumbies Fan Page 2123
Women’s Flat Track Derby Association Western Sydney Rollers Western Sydney Rollers 1659
Rugby League/State of Origin New South Wales Blues New South Wales Rugby League 1297
WNBL Bendigo Spirit The Official Bendigo Spirit Basketball 174
WNBL Townsville Fire Townsville McCafe Fire 114
WNBL Bendigo Spirit WNBL – Bendigo Spirit 87

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Google, the Melbourne Demons, Port Adelaide Power and that game in Darwin…

Posted by Laura on Friday, 21 May, 2010

This weekend, the Melbourne Demons are playing the Port Adelaide Power in Darwin.  This game is one of two AFL games being held in Darwin this season.  I’m rather keen on geographic patterns in fan communities.  Where are they located?  How many people are there?  What is the size and interest level in a particular place?  Given that there isn’t an AFL team based in Darwin and the nearest team is team is over 3,000 kms (1,800+miles), it would be hard to figure out what team allegiances would be based on.  (The Canberra game with the Swans had a large number of people who barracked for the Sydney based team.  Canberra’s distance from Sydney and the Swans support of AFL Canberra are probably the major reasons for that.)  I wanted to explore what those loyalties would be in the Northern Territory to the exclusion of other states.

There really is no good way about getting numbers for the Northern Territory with out picking up everyone else across the country.  And even when that isn’t the case, people frequently will list themselves as residing or belonging to the next biggest city even if they don’t reside there.  This is highly problematic when you’re looking to see if there are pockets of team support in the suburbs and rural areas where city affiliation is more important when dealing with a wider, more international audience that may not have heard of Freemantle but may have heard of Perth, or who may not have heard of Geelong but do know where Sydney is.  There are ways to tease those patterns out by removing the major cities, like Melbourne, where the core is very tiny.  And I’m digressing because even when you can do that, it is rather hard to still just get data off major networks about a person’s interest by city, while excluding other states.  I can’t do that on Facebook, LiveJournal and its clones, bebo, blogger, orkut, 43things, LinkedIn, Twitter, care2… the list goes on and on.  There is no easy solution other than getting everyone and then, after the data is collected, filtering it down by state.

While I have a lot of data of that sort already, not many people live in the Northern Territory.  (For the Adelaide Crows, across six networks and with 75 fans, only one is from the Northern Territory.)  It is really hard to get regional patterns inside the Northern Territories.  My solution to try to figure this out was go to, put in the team’s name and the city.  (I got the list of cities I used from a list of postal codes for the Northern Territory on Wikipedia. I was logged out of my Google account.  I did not use the API.) My list of cities was 114 long after I removed cities with multiple postal codes.  City names, when they included more than one word, were put in quotes.  Team names were put in quotes.  An example search with that would be “Melbourne Demons” “Alice Springs”.

This is all fine and dandy.  You can easily repeat the results.  You should be able to get regional patterns on a large scale that you can’t get with or or bebo. Everything theoretically should work to get a some one accurate picture of the interest level by city in the Northern Territory for both teams.  Except, well, no.  Midstream, methodology begins to change.  Things I had not necessarily thought of come in to play.  First, there are duplicate city names.  This is an issue for Palmerston, which is a city in New Zealand, a city in the Northern Territory and a suburb in the Australian Capital Territory.  Second, some cities have common names or share names with people.  This is the case for Gray, Northern Territory.  It is the case for another city that shares a name of a player for a different AFL team.  This issue might be correctable by adding a “Northern Territory” or an NT to the search phrase.  I did this for Palmerston.  I just didn’t do it consistently because Google did not always realize NT meant “Northern Territory” and there were three wildly different search results in some cases.  It becomes just easier to ignore and accept that search results are going to be faulty.  The third major issue was Google spelling.  This issue can be less obvious unless you actually look at the results.  Moil is a city in the Northern Territory.  Google helpfully wanted correct my spelling by pulling up results featuring the word Mobile.  Moil and Mobile are not the same thing.  Karama and Karma are also not the same thing.  Google, if you don’t specifically tell it that these are not the same thing, treats them as if they are.  When I found this, I did correct the results number by putting a + in front of it to force Google to only pull up results with that exactly spelling.  Outside those two examples, I did this for Katherine, Elliott, Farrar, Gray, Gunn, Malak, Millner, Mitchell, The Gardens, and The Narrows. This helped insure slightly more relevance and didn’t create the problems of what is the preferential way to indicate that a city is in the Northern Territory.

The methodology problems out of the way, it is time for the results.  I couldn’t get a good visualization tool.  (The ones I tend to use aren’t really good with the Northern Territory.  I’ll find a fix for that in the future.)  Therefor, the easiest way to see the results is to download the xls file or the csv file.  The results, to me with out the aid of a map, are pretty boring when compared to methodology but still interesting.  On the whole, it looks like there is more interest in the Melbourne Demons than there is in the Port Adelaide Power.  If I give each team a point if they are more popular in a particular city, the Demons easily win the day with 93 to the Power’s 15 and with six cities being tied.  If I add up all the search results (each city gets added.  This number has little relationship to the total pages in the Northern Territory because many pages reference both teams or multiple cities in the Northern Territory), the Demons also win with 114,368 total pages compared to the Power’s 64,191.  The ratio to cities and total pages is not particularly close.  The Power are more popular in 13% of cities and represent 35% of total pages.

The top city for Port Adelaide Power is represented by the following search: “Port Adelaide Power” Driver NT.  Driver is a popular common word so it is highly probable that this is not accurate, even with the attempt to correct for the Northern Territory by adding NT to the search.  The next city that “prefers” the Power based on total search results is Parap, with 839 results.  For the Melbourne Demons, “Melbourne Demons” +Mitchell is the top city.  That’s another problematic place as this is a common surname.  The next most popular city based on total search results for the Melbourne Demons is Yuendumu with 12,200 page results.   What is interesting here is that Darwin and Alice Springs do not appear at the top of the list, even when we exclude Driver and Mitchell.  When the Demons and Power lists are combined and sorted descending by pages per city, Darwin doesn’t appear until the 12th spot for the Demons and 18th sport for the Power.  Alice Spring doesn’t appear until 32 for the Demons and 39th position for the Power.  The biggest population bases in the territory are not generating the most references for either teams.

I’m not entirely certain why “big” cities don’t rank higher.  Are all the cities ahead of them problematic with their names where steps were not taken to correct for that?  Or is it possible that more rural fans are reliant on the Internet to express their fannishness for a team?  Are there players from these rural communities playing in the AFL so local news sources give additional attention to players that they would not get in more urban areas?  It is possible.  The real reason is probably rather complex.

So if you’re going to the game in Darwin this weekend, you probably see more people barracking for the Demons.


1. I could theoretically get data from Facebook’s advertiser page for the number of people who list an interest and live with in a certain distance of a city.  There are just a few limitations.  First, not every location in the Northern Territory is listed.  Second, since Facebook forced users to like their interests, things have been in a state of flux and I’ve found zeros where there should not be zeros based on the number of people who like a fan page that Facebook uses and its default for a search of that interest.

2.  There are other ways I might have gone about doing this besides Google, including searching local newspapers for references to a team.  There are just limitations there in that not every location has its own newspaper and it excludes a lot of fan created references on sites likes bebo and blogger where the audience may be different than the ones that newspapers market to.  I might also have tried a geolocation based search.  I just haven’t found a good one yet that is based in Australia.  And even the ones I have seen tend to focus on Twitter and Foursquare.  AFL fandom is located more than just there.

3.  The methodology problems are a recurring problem when doing any sort of social media or web based research with the intent to create data sets.  It is why I’m generally deeply skeptical of any numbers I see unless some one clearly states their methodology, explains the problems and provides their data to give benchmarks.  This methodology issue also probably explains why much of the research done in regards to social media involves case studies and qualitative style research: The data is just so problematic to attain.

Edited to add: Visualization of this data. It isn’t perfect. There are a number of erroneous data points. (Anything outside of the Northern Territory is incorrectly placed on the map.) That said, it begins to give an idea of these patterns going on… though looking at the map, I don’t really see what I would consider overwhelming patterns. One of the islands is all Melbourne Demons. I had some data for about 15 cities for the North Melbourne Kangaroos that I overlaid to give this a bit more perspective. At some point, I should do every city in the Northern Territory, corrected as much as possible for the problems discussed above, with every team on the map.

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