Setting The Trend For 2015? The Social Media Stars Of 2014
Seven League tracks the hottest and latest talents and trends in the world of sport and social. This week we've been preparing for the year ahead by updating Scout, our social monitoring platform, for the blockbuster 2015 has to offer.
To give you a flavour of what we love to see, this blog post will look at who the fastest ascending social stars of 2014 were, and the impact that major sporting events can have in the digital world.
James Rodriguez: A Social Star Is Born
In early June, we entered into Scout the potential stars of the upcoming World Cup. One of our less obvious additions was up-and-coming Colombian attacking midfielder James Rodriguez, who had shown good form at the Ligue 1 side AS Monaco. No one could have predicted the impact Rodriguez would have in the competition - as he scored six goals, assisted two, and scored the goal of the tournament against Uruguay.
His name entered the global conversation in a heartbeat, which translated into phenomenal social growth. Beginning with 2.2 million followers on Twitter, and 3.7 million on Facebook on 11 June, the midfielder has now increased to an impressive 6.2 million followers, and 24.3 million fans in just seven months. This equates to sensational growth of 181% on Twitter, and 291% on Facebook. A social star has been born. Now plying his trade at Real Madrid, we expect this growth to continue throughout the new year.
Kansas City Royals: The Kings Of Facebook
Following years barren of success, the Kansas City Royals made 2014 their own to produce a historic playoff to the World Series. Records tumbled as the Kansas City Royals tore through their opponents. For starters, the team managed eight consecutive post-season wins in one year, breaking a major league record previously held by the 2007 Colorado Rockies and 1976 Cincinnati Reds. Better yet, their final playoff win against the Orioles marked the Royals' eleventh win in a row overall in post-season play, dating back to the franchise's final three wins of the 1985 World Series, the third-longest multi-year post-season streak in baseball history. Impressive.
This success on the field translated into formidable success in social growth with the Royals highlighted by the maroon line above. During this tremendous run, their combined relative growth was almost double their nearest rival with Twitter up 82% and Facebook up 94% (from March 2014 to January 2015). With over 580,000 new fans and followers behind them, the Royals will be hoping for another playoff run to the World Series, and perhaps going one further in to win the ultimate title.
A New Era Of Talent: Cilic And Nishikori
In the world of tennis, 2014 was a year of change and new talents. No longer is there an untouchable top five with the likes of Wawrinka, Raonic and Berdych nipping at the heels of Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Murray. The US Open was the greatest example of this with Nadal, the champion of 2013, out injured, Djokovic and Federer falling at the semifinals and Murray knocked out at the quarterfinals stage. This left up-and-comers Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori to battle it out for the title.
Although Cilic came out as the tournament's champion, both players were victorious on Facebook. Nishikori increase his stake on the social network, in just a week, by over a third (34.6%), whilst Cilic almost doubled his presence on Facebook with growth of 82.4%. For the latter, this equated to a sterling 45,000 new fans following the Croatian tennis player.
For 2015, we'll be keen to track the progress of Nishikori as he continues to break records for Asian tennis. In the past nine months, the star has gained over 328,000 Facebook fans, and 100,000 new Twitter followers. With a potential title in his cabinet, the future looks bright for this player's social growth.
With four World Cups (rugby, cricket, women's football and handball) set to take place around the world, 2015 is packed with opportunities for the next digital sporting superstar to emerge and our research team has been beavering away making sure we'll capture all the data on a hopefully triumphant England rugby team or the next Stephanie Roche wondergoal at the Women's World Cup.
Here's to the next 12 months of sporting success and some serious data crunching.