On The Ball – How Social Media Is Building The Rugby World Cup Buzz

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It hasn’t been the easiest of tasks promoting a world class event such as the 2011 Rugby World Cup.  Shortly after New Zealand won the rights to stage it the world plunged into a deep financial recession which must have put a dent on ticket sale projections.

Then followed two significant earthquakes that affected Christchurch, one of the main venues for the Cup. The second one on February 22nd caused massive damage and loss of life.

Key Phrases over 6 months – Note February 22nd impact
Click on the chart to view larger version

Undaunted by this malevolent force of nature, the RWC organisers have soldiered on rearranging schedules and shifting venues to other cities.

Hand in hand with the extraordinary circumstances of this global sporting event has been the use of digital media and in particular social media, to build positive buzz about the tournament and entertainments.

As the research in the above presentation reveals online sentiment has largely remained unerringly positive over the past month.

Growth on social media networks is now starting to gain momentum with :

  • 3,000 new twitter followers in the past four weeks
  • 65,000 more Likes on Facebook over the same period
Network associated online with Rugby World Cup –  Note ‘Bob Parker’ is the Mayor of Christchurch.
Click on chart for the larger version
The main web site receives 159,443 unique users per month and 14, 625 page views per day.  As might be expected most interest in the website comes from rugby playing nations:
New Zealand 31.0%
South Africa 9.9%
United Kingdom 8.4%
Australia 6.6%

A key reason for the success of the event’s digital strategy is the integration of various channels; for example the social media icons are clearly visible in the top third of the web page.

Web landing page

With the Rugby World Cup kicking off this September it will also be interesting to see how users of twitter and Facebook record their experience.

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About thedigitalconsultant

Roger Smith is a retired international, digital consultant and former British Council Director of Online Operations within the East Asia region. http://thedigitalconsultant.blogspot.com
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