The AFL social media power 50.

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June 5, 2012 by dannybishopcreative

A couple of weeks ago The Age published a list of the 50 most powerful people in the AFL. The list included coaches, ex-coaches, CEOs, media personalities and the like.

However it got me thinking. Who are the social media powers?

While it’s simple to make the case that Kevin Sheedy has power in the AFL, how much impact does he have when you look solely at the way most fans interact with the AFL – that being via Facebook and Twitter. (This year Collingwood have approximately 70,000 members. But on Facebook they have 190,000 followers.)

I gathered information on more than 130 AFL related accounts on Twitter and Facebook and ranked them according to a formula that included weighting for followers and fan engagement.  In simple terms, the more followers the better, but more interaction with fans also has a positive impact on ranking. Accounts linked directly with a media outlet were treated to a marginally different weighting than AFL players due to the promotional power that traditional media offers associated accounts. This penalty still resulted in just 3 current day players (Franklin, Ablett and Karmichael Hunt) making the top 50.

I also wondered about the inclusion of Brendan Fevola into the list. I think it’s possible to consider him no longer an AFL identity. However I have included him in the list, with an asterisk. With that in mind I’ve also include the account that was just outside the 50, so you can make your own top 50 if you disagree with Fev’s inclusion.

  1. AFL
    No surprises here. The AFL’s massive following on Facebook and Twitter rules the landscape – as it should.
  2. Collingwood
    The most supported club in the country comes in second however the gap to first place is massive
  3. Essendon
    Essendon have a long history of being a digital powerhouse. Combined with a large supporter base it puts them into the bronze position.
  4. Brendan Fevola *
    Fev’s following on Twitter along with a decent level of engagement puts him just outside the medals.
  5. Lance Franklin
    Buddy has by far the most twitter followers of current players, but his paucity of tweets costs him a higher position.
  6. Ryan Fitzgerald
    ‘Fitzy’ is an ex-player, a TV personality and the one-time face of AFL Auskick. He’s also a certified twitter celebrity with more than 40,000 followers.  
  7. Carlton
    The blues just sneak into the eight, but a late start to social media has left them playing catch-up to the Pies and Dons. 
  8. West Coast Eagles
    The Eagles have a loyal following in WA, and comfortably earn their spot among the finalists.
  9. Mick Malthouse
    Now a media pundit, Mick didn’t lose his power along with the Pies coaching gig.
  10. Richmond Tigers
    Just sneaking into the top 10, the Tigers may well jump a few places if they can keep their on-field form making the fans happy.
  11. Mark Robinson
  12. Sydney Swans
  13. Adelaide Crows
  14. St.Kilda
  15. Matthew Richardson
  16. Hawthorn
  17. Superfooty (Herald Sun)
  18. Tom Harley
  19. AFL Players Association
  20. Gerard Whateley
  21. Bryan Strauchan
  22. Damian Barrett
  23. Triple M Footy
  24. Geelong
  25. Fremantle Dockers
  26. SEN Footy
  27. MCG
  28. Sam Lane
  29. Gold Coast Suns
  30. North Melbourne
  31. Brian Taylor
  32. Brisbane Lions
  33. Melbourne Demons
  34. Western Bulldogs
  35. The Age Sport
  36. Port Adelaide
  37. Andy Maher
  38. Gary Ablett Jnr
  39. Emma Quayle
  40. GWS Giants
  41. Morning Glory
  42. Harf Time
  43. Shane Crawford
  44. Francis Leach
  45. Mark Stevens
  46. 3AW Football
  47. Karmichael Hunt
  48. Dr Dream Team
  49. Grant Thomas
  50. Tony Jones
  51. Harry O’Brien

Note: Initially I was going to name the people behind the AFL and club accounts. However, I decided against it purely to protect their right to a private life and to avoid the abuse that comes from controlling social media for an AFL team or account!

So what do you think? Does the Top 50 contain any surprises? Anyone you expected to make it miss out?


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