Why Soccer Dominates Facebook Status Updates

Soccer dominates Facebook's rankings of the top sports themes in status updates, reminding us of how global the social network really is.

While the U.S. accounts for about a quarter of Facebook’s 800 million users, American sports teams and athletes had a smaller showing on the list of the top status update themes this year.

Only one of the top ten teams mentioned in status updates is from the U.S., the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team. The rest were soccer teams.

And only three of the top ten athletes are from the U.S., basketball’s Michael Jordan, plus Kobe Bryant and wrestler John Cena.

While I recognize how popular soccer is across the world, it still caught me a bit off guard to see this since all I hear about, both on ESPN and on my news feed, is the NFL’s Tim Tebow and the NBA.
I don’t fully understand why soccer is so huge in other parts of the world, but I don’t think that’s really the point here. The more important thing to take from this is how easy it can be to lose sight of just how global Facebook is, which these findings should help put in perspective.

Does this data also suggest that that soccer fans are more passionate about their favorite sport than others? Readers, what do you think? While we’re at it, after the Lakers, Jordan, Bryant and Cena, which U.S. teams and athletes ought to rank in the top status update themes for the year?

Top 10 Sports Teams

FC Barcelona
Real Madrid C.F.
Manchester United
Los Angeles Lakers
Chelsea Football Club
Liverpool FC
A.C. Milan

Top 10 Athletes

Leo Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo
John Cena
Ricardo Kaka
David Beckham
Michael Jordan
Sachin Tendulkar
Andres Iniesta
Kobe Bryant
Cesc Fàbregas

Guest writer Jeff Weiner is president and chief executive officer of ESBL Sports Management, where he coaches 15 NFL athletes on how to best utilize social media.