SBJ/June 16-22, 2014/Media

Who’s getting their kicks on social media?

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According to social media metrics, forwards Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey are the new faces of American soccer as the national team begins its 2014 World Cup run in Brazil. The combined Twitter and Instagram followers of Altidore surpass 775,000, while Dempsey has almost 500,000.

The controversial absence from this year’s roster of Landon Donovan leaves a young team that has the potential to bring exposure to a new generation of players. Donovan would have been the most popular player on the team on Twitter with nearly 925,000 followers.

Clint Dempsey has nearly 500,000 followers across Twitter and Instagram.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES

The FIFA World Cup Facebook page has more than 20 million followers.

World Cup veterans like goalkeeper Tim Howard and defender DaMarcus Beasley are also found in the top five. Of the top 10 most popular U.S. players on social media, seven of them currently don’t play in MLS, with the exceptions being Dempsey and Real Salt Lake members Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando.

On the international side, Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo remains the most popular player in the world

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by a large margin with more than 111 million fans combined on Facebook and Twitter. In a compilation of players participating in this year’s World Cup, his closest competition is Argentina’s Lionel Messi, who has nearly 58 million Facebook fans but does not participate on Twitter. Neymar, the 22-year-old Brazilian star, rounds out the top three as he participates in his first World Cup.

On the property side, the World Cup is expected to be a big social media event globally. The official FIFA World Cup page on Facebook already had more than 20 million followers before group play began. On the domestic side, U.S. Soccer’s social media platforms across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram had a combined 2.3 million followers, while the World Cup on ESPN Facebook page had more than 1 million fans for its final broadcast of the Cup before it moves to Fox Sports in 2018.

Numbers were compiled on June 10.

Soccer On Social Media

U.S. Men's National Team

  Number of followers  
Player Twitter Instagram Total Position Club
Jozy Altidore 649,327 126,882 776,209 F Sunderland (England)
Clint Dempsey 356,423 142,401 498,824 F Seattle Sounders FC
Jermaine Jones 195,901 23,548 219,449 M Besiktas (Turkey)
Tim Howard 68,975 73,415 142,390 GK Everton (England)
DaMarcus Beasley 109,955 19,469 129,424 D Puebla (Mexico)
Brad Guzan 92,692 10,982 103,674 GK Aston Villa (England)
Alejandro Bedoya 73,649 16,253 89,902 M Nantes (France)
Geoff Cameron 54,788 21,043 75,831 D Stoke City (England)
Kyle Beckerman 52,452 22,812 75,264 M Real Salt Lake
Nick Rimando 42,274 17,451 59,725 GK Real Salt Lake
Omar Gonzalez 41,760 17,734 59,494 D LA Galaxy
Graham Zusi 41,862 14,229 56,091 M Sporting Kansas City
Mix Diskerud 39,852 15,532 55,384 M Rosenborg (Norway)
Matt Besler 35,016 11,103 46,119 D Sporting Kansas City
Aron Johannsson 33,883 10,501 44,384 F AZ Alkmaar (Netherlands)
DeAndre Yedlin 32,283 10,740 43,023 D Seattle Sounders FC
Brad Davis 32,624 4,103 36,727 M Houston Dynamo
Fabian Johnson 24,127 12,261 36,388 D Borussia Mönchengladbach (Germany)
Chris Wondolowski 35,652 0 35,652 F San Jose Earthquakes
John Brooks 18,020 4,939 22,959 D Hertha Berlin (Germany)
Julian Green 20,897 1,504 22,401 M Bayern Munich (Germany)
Michael Bradley 0 0 0 M Toronto FC
Timothy Chandler 0 0 0 D Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany)

International Top 10

  Number of followers  
Player Twitter Facebook Total Country
Cristiano Ronaldo 26,614,143 84,551,264 111,165,407 Portugal
Lionel Messi 0 57,924,285 57,924,285 Argentina
Neymar 10,812,792 23,422,716 34,235,508 Brazil
Wayne Rooney 8,817,902 20,796,319 29,614,221 England
Andrés Iniesta 8,696,359 20,025,467 28,721,826 Spain
Mesut Özil 5,844,866 19,849,205 25,694,071 Germany
Gerard Pique 8,486,377 12,330,058 20,816,435 Spain
Iker Casillas 1,674,126 19,122,166 20,796,292 Spain
David Villa 5,929,530 14,191,710 20,121,240 Spain
Robin van Persie 5,116,287 9,219,285 14,335,572 Holland

Notable Soccer Properties

  Number of followers  
Property Twitter Facebook Instagram Total
FIFA World Cup 2014 1,056,064 20,121,949 33,259 21,211,272
FIFA 3,076,768 905,880 0 3,982,648
U.S. Soccer 711,112 1,356,412 237,046 2,304,570
World Cup on ESPN 0 1,048,845 0 1,048,845

Note: American star Landon Donovan, who did not make the U.S. squad, has 924,994 Twitter
followers and 30,400 Instagram followers for a total of 955,394.
Compiled by: Ryan Baucom, SportsBusiness Journal research



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