European football social media report - September
As the football season heads into its second international break, this is an opportune time to see how the first quarter of the season has panned out across Europe in the month of September. Looking at the reaction across Twitter from the past month, we explore how sentiment differs across Europe to some of the continent’s biggest leagues.
Based on the number of mentions on Twitter, the English Premier League is still in pole position, as it was in August, with more than 1.3m tweets focusing on the league in September alone. However, the league seeing the biggest drop in engagement on Twitter since the opening weeks is Germany’s Bundesliga, which has dropped below both Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie A in conversations across social media. The dominance of Bayern Munich throughout September alongside the expectation of a league victory by the Bavarian giants could be a factor in the lack of buzz around Germany’s top division at present, which is in contrast to Spain with Barcelona, Atletico and Real Madrid all dropping points in September. In fact, every league has seen a growth in engagement from August apart from the Bundesliga.
Examining the hashtags used throughout September, it is interesting to see that both Bundesliga and Serie A fans are tweeting about European competitions while the other leagues remain largely focused on the domestic competition. Heavyweight clashes between Dortmund and Real Madrid in the Champions League as well as the poor start to the Europa League by Italian heavyweights Inter Milan could be the cause of this.
With Manchester United’s popularity reinforced by the global platform provided by the English Premier League, it is perhaps no surprise to see that they remain the most talked about club in Europe, alongside global giants like Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, all of whom continue to lead the conversations amongst fans. In Italy, the longevity of Francesco Totti ahead of his 40th birthday explains the presence of Roma ahead of Juventus and others.
However, it is interesting to see FC Schalke in Germany featured in so many conversations on Twiter despite their poor start to the season. As demonstrated, it is not only success that is a key driver of engagement on social media! Meanwhile, one of the current success stories in Germany is Red Bull Leipzig, but due to the perceived ‘manufactured’ nature of the club, this success has not translated to a social media victory. Yet.
Examining the word clouds* for September, England, Italy and Germany had more mentions of teams, with the Premier League word cloud highlighting as many as seven different teams. However, the word clouds from Spain and France tend to have a greater focus on indivduals, with the name of former Barcelona player Ronaldinho being included thanks to his new ambassadorial role at his former club annouced in early September.
In France, it seems that Mario Ballotelli dominated conversations thanks to his inspired start at Nice since his transfer from Liverpool. Many will be hoping he will be more la crème de la crème than enfant terrible during his stay in Ligue 1 while Monaco’s shock win over champions PSG has seen them enter the discussions in a big way.
With the international break coming in early October, we have a chance to pause and catch our breath, but with huge games including Manchester United vs Liverpool, Dortmund meeting in-form Hertha Berlin, AC Milan vs Juventus, PSG facing Marseille and Barcelona visiting Valencia, complete with new coach, there will be plenty to discuss on social media across Europe!
 Word clouds are a visual representation of text data, typically used to visualize free form text