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Geographic split evident in Grand Finals on Twitter

Posted In News, Projects - By and On Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 With 0 Comments

That the AFL and NRL have a significant geographical split is of course no surprise. However, looking at the previous two Grand Finals on Twitter tells us something about their fanbases: local and international, as well ask the key moments which cause the social media audience to engage with the TV Coverage.

The AFL Grand Final on 28 September between Sydney and Hawthorn saw a total of 68,033 tweets matching pre-identified keywords between 2pm and 6pm, at a peak of 706  per minute, with spikes relating to a number of the games key events:

AFL Grand Final Twitter Activity


While only a small number of these (~2.5%) were geotagged, they given an idea of the worldwide spread, with clusters of users within the United States and the UK, as well as Australia:



However, we can do better than that for Australians. Using our database of Australian twitter users, which Axel Bruns has discussed previously, we are able to estimate the location of a far larger percentage of users:



As you can see, the vast majority of tweeters for the AFL Grand Final were located in Victoria, representing almost 44% ofo the total. This does not account for variance in state population, but is significant in comparison to the NRL tweeters. Speaking of the NFL, their Grand Final on 5 October saw 72,031 tweets between 6pm and 9pm (Brisbane time). On the chart below, we have plotted the score differential (as Rabbitohs – Bulldogs) against the social media activity, and the correlations between the periods of high activity and scoring moments is clear, as well as the increase in engagement while the score was tied between 7:50 and 7:55pm Brisbane time:

NRLGF Time Differential

Here again, the international representation is shown on the world map, with a slightly higher representation in northern England (where Rugby League is traditionally played), and slightly less in the US, in comparison to the AFL:



The Australia-wide representation, based on our user database, is notably different for the NRL, with NSW and QLD overtaking Victoria in social media activity:


Overall then, a familiar story, and a distribution more or less as you would expect. Despite being longer, the AFL attracted less activity than the NRL, but a good portion of that difference could be attributed to the fact that the AFL GF was rarely close.


About the Author

- Darryl is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries & Innovation, based at Queensland University of Technology. His research includes works on the video game and gambling industries.

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