Motivators for Social Media Engagement with Official NFL Team Twitter Accounts



Czarda, Stephen M

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Generating nearly $10 billion in revenue during the 2012 season, the National Football League (NFL) has been shown to be, by data, to be by far the most popular and profitable professional sports league in the United States of America (“Why Football Is Still A Money Machine,” 2013). Dominating attention both during its season, and even during its offseason, fans ingest material around the clock from the league and its teams. The purpose of this thesis is to explore why consumers follow official NFL team Twitter accounts; what keeps them engaged with those accounts; and what types of content create positive long-term relationships. One of Twitter’s operational functions from a sports-level is producing stories, intensifying and spreading this content and information available in a public setting, and in turn, creating new ways of thinking about the interaction between sport and digital media by organizations, athletes, journalists, publicists, and fans among others (Hutchins, 2011). A quantitative methodology was used to identify fan motivators for following an official NFL team’s Twitter account and also finding reasoning behind why certain content tends to be more engaging. Through regression analysis, content from eight NFL teams’ official Twitter accounts was gathered over a two-week period. Twitter content was analyzed to identify fan engagement based on specific categories compared against an average number of “retweets” to determine which fans were most motivated to engage with both instantly and long-term.



Social media, Twitter, NFL, Sport analytics