Matchday Four: Premier League Twitter Club puts the weekend in context

It may be the international break, but that doesn’t mean club football disappears.

With just four weeks into a fledgling Premier League season, we’ve been working with IQUII Sport to bring you a comprehensive round-up of the action in English football’s top flight – specifically the action taking place on Twitter.

Long held as sport’s most important real-time platform, Twitter has been central to the matchday experience for fans around the world for quite some time now. Finding line-ups, news, views and stats are the main uses for the platform, as well as keeping up to date with the action and simply having a second-screen to help gain more info on the goings-on on the pitch.

What we’ve seen so far is hardly surprising, but at the same time also quite insightful. It’s always great to have cold hard statistics to back up the feelings you have about what you see around you. One of my hypotheses at the start of the season would have been that the biggest clubs would have seen the highest numbers of engagement, but that the smaller teams would have had the highest percentages.

That seems to have been borne out last weekend again, as matchday four came and went without too much in the way of heavyweight clashes.

Manchester United managed to get their season back on track with a win at Burnley, Arsenal played out an eventful 3-2 victory against newly-promoted Cardiff and Liverpool beat Leicester City in the early kick-off on Saturday. These three games were to be considered the biggest of the weekend in terms of the worldwide appeal of the teams in question, and that’s what happened: the most-tweeted game was Liverpool’s victory, followed by Arsenal’s, followed by Manchester United.

But, what we also saw was the power of the big name clashes.

So far this season, we’ve seen Arsenal play Manchester City and Chelsea and Manchester United play Tottenham. The fourth weekend was the first one where we didn’t have a top six clash, and the overall tweet numbers using specific matchday hashtags fell dramatically. Last weekend, Manchester United v Tottenham saw 32k tweets using the #MUNTOT hashtag. This weekend #LEILIV saw just 17k, as the engagement almost halved thanks to the lower tier of fixture.

But, as we all know, headline numbers are vanity figures. These days, we like to look beyond that, and a little deeper into the figures. Number of tweets is clearly an interesting stat showing the interest the general public has in a particular fixture, but football clubs need to know the engagement rates on their tweets – because that’s where the real value is found.

Throughout this season, perhaps one of the most surprising stats that keeps coming back is that of Wolverhampton Wanderers. Every week, the Premier League new boys find themselves topping the Premier League engagement table, and by quite some distance, too.

Last weekend was no different, as Wolves nicked a very late goal to beat West Ham United at the London Stadium their engagement rates soared higher than any other team in the league. Interestingly, in second place was their beaten rivals, the Hammers, showing the power of football to get people talking on social media. It would be interesting to delve deeper still to see the sentiment on those tweets, though: on the Wolves account, you’d expect jubilant fans, on the West Ham one, probably a very different mood.

For the first time, though, last week saw two big six clubs make the top five for engagement as Liverpool and Chelsea both took their places in the upper echelons of the league. No doubt that’s due to the good work that both clubs have been doing on social media this season, honing a clear voice and sending engaging messages.

Tune in again after the international break for another edition of the Premier League Twitter Club, brought to you by Digital Sport and IQUII Sport!

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 723 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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