By Daniel Hunter

Research from RadiumOne released demonstrates the correlation between support and performance in the league, with Arsenal topping the league for social media performance.

When the same research was run in the pre-season, Arsenal would have found themselves outside of the Champions League qualifying positions in sixth place if social media support determined the league. Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool would be joining Arsenal in the Champions League based on their social performances.

The rankings were calculated by the number of stories shared about each team on popular sports news websites, combined with how effectively each club has been interacting with its fans in the 30 days leading up to the tenth game of the season.

The correlation between the support teams have on social media and their league position after ten games is so strong that the only significant difference in the top six between support and league position is Manchester United, who have had a notably lacklustre start to the season but such a strong brand and online presence that they have pushed Southampton and Everton down the social table. Only six teams are more than one result away from their actual league position in the social media league, suggesting that the ‘twelfth man’ has a significant impact on teams.

Since the same research was carried out before the season began, Chelsea and Manchester City have both improved their social performances dramatically following fairly quiet pre-seasons and as fans have begun to focus on the football instead. At the same time, both Norwich and Crystal Palace have fallen down the social table, dropping 13 and 11 places respectively with other teams’ fans lifting their clubs with significantly more noise online.

Sunderland, Southampton and Crystal Palace fans remain among the most engaged with their clubs, generating more online interactions per fan than their rivals — with Southampton seeing the most benefit so far, sitting sixth in the Premier League (eighth in the social league) while the Black Cats and the Eagles prop up the league.

“We often hear managers talking about the impact of the fans as the ‘twelfth man’ and nowhere is this more apparent than in the results of our research. The correlation between the levels of support we’re seeing for teams and the results they are getting suggests there is a lot of power in fan support. Fans shouldn’t underestimate the impact that they can have on their teams," Abeed Janmohamed, Commercial Director at RadiumOne commented.

“For the clubs, there is an opportunity here to really make the most of the social engagement that they are seeing. The trick is turning support via social networks into increased match-day attendances and club shop revenues with shrewd advertising campaigns.

"If clubs know who their fans are and who these fans are connected to online, there’s an opportunity for clubs to make use of this intelligence to market themselves more effectively to passive and would-be fans. Given the clear impact that these fans can have on a club’s performance, there’s a compelling reason to engage.”

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