Today, I received an interesting email with an article that has been written by Martyn Hudson on plusnet. It takes an initial look into the social media trends of Rugby League and the Rugby League World Cup. He uses a freely available Google trends app and concentrates on the UK and world wide trends.
It shows some interesting and disturbing trends. I won’t repeat the whole article here, but you can go and read the whole article at the plusnet website. Below is just one graph that is generated from the Google trends but it shows a steady decline in the people searching for the worlds “Rugby League World Cup” in Google.
The world wide trend of the Rugby league world cup. F shows the spike for the 2008 WC in Australia and A shows the 2013 spike. (Google trends)
There are four trends that need to be looked at and understood. Its shows how “seasonal” Rugby League is. First: are the dips in the number of unique searches at the end of the years. This is obviously where the seasons of nearly all the countries that play are over and so interest wains in the sport. Second: there are two distinct spikes at the end of 2008 and 2013. These being the world cup years and it shows that last year the RFL did a hell of a better job promoting the sport through online media than what the ARL had managed in 2008. The 2013 spike is distinctly much, much higher. Third: there is another spike in the beginning of the year, this is the start of a new season where fans are excited of a new season, with a lull in the mid season. It picks up again at the end of the year as the domestic seasons come to a climax and the beginning of the international season. The internationals show that they clearly do matter as much as the domestic games. Fourth: there is clearly a disturbing downward trend since 2004 that rugby league is losing interest. The Rugby League authorities, internationally and domestically really have to do something to bring this trend up.
It will be interesting to see how this will be for 2014 with the success of the World Cup, but if the momentum is not embraced then things could really get desperate for the sport. It will be interesting to do a side by side breakdown of some of the countries like Australia, UK, France and New Zealand. Even Italy and USA would be interesting to see just how much the USA Tomahawks success has had as well as the Azzuri. Fiji would be another interesting one, since they made the semi-finals.
This is an interesting tool and certainly one that will be used more and more in seeing where the sport needs to target its audience. Have a read and I’d be interested in seeing what people think.
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