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With 350 million Facebook subscribers and millions more on Twitter and other social networking outlets, it would seem logical that soccer teams the world over would be exploiting the growth in this relatively new way for soccer fans to interact with their favorite clubs and players.But that is not so, at least according to a new survey, “Tweet! Blowing the Whistle on Social Media.” The survey found that from among a test sample of 1,000 soccer fans (800 in the United States, 200 outside), 90 percent used social media for networking, but 39 percent did not know their favorite team had a Facebook account, and 56 percent did not know their favorite team had an account on Twitter.

“It’s obvious that soccer clubs are not fully taking advantage and leveraging the power of social media to connect and bond with their fans,” said Michael Wiesenfeld of the European Football Group, who wrote the survey with Alex KOTLER of Football Partnerships, a business-to-business network for soccer professionals. “When they do, they are only investing a marginal amount of time and money. Fans want to feel a part of the club, as if they, the players, were their friends.”

The survey, which can be downloaded in PDF, also found among the respondents that 61 percent in the United States followed Major League Soccer and that 34 percent thought the league was making steady progress; almost three-quarters checked online for their soccer news, with 87 percent looking at more than one Web site; and 77 percent said they used Facebook, compared with 12 percent at LinkedIn and 11 percent at Twitter.

Only 47 percent of the respondents who work for leagues and clubs said there was a person dedicated to reaching and monitoring fans using social media, and 70 percent said they were using social media to reach out to fans.

“If the club is not using S.M. to engage with its fans, it’s that much less exposure for the team and its sponsors,” Wiesenfeld said.


TWEET! Blowing the Whistle on Social Media Survey