A lot of noise was made about the 8 December 2012 Soweto derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, which ended in a 1:1 draw. While this can be expected as these two teams are the richest, most fan’ed and arguably most decorated in South Africa and rank high in the African continent as well, there was something more. Here are the stats to illustrate my point:
- There were only 3 points separating these two teams at the top of the South African Soccer Premiership log after this game that was attended by more than 87 000 spectators. The league is currently at 50% stage of the 2012/13 season, this means there is still a lot of points to play for.
- This clash is in the top 10 global derbies, ranking along El Classico and Manchester derby (the latter is taking place on 9 December 2012).
- The game was watched in many countries in the African continent, the Americas and Australasia. This is mainly thanks to Supersport’s African footprint, and a deal with ESPN.
As at 12:30 AM, #Sowetoderby had achieved just under 7,5K tweets, as measured on topsy.com. Let me use the power of Twitter to illustrate the fact that yesterday’s fierce soccer battle by the two Soweto giants captured the imagination of the world.
Look at the following Trendsmap, taken 5 hours after the Soweto derby ended:
I only show parts of the world where #Sowetoderby was mentioned in the Trendsmap above. As can be seen, the African continent, western Europe and Asia participated in the Twitter chat. Bear in mind that this was hours after the game ended. Would the realtime map have been different if I drew the stats during and immediately after the derby? What do you think?
My attention was captured by languages used in #Sowetoderby Twitter mentions, based on analysis of a sample of 1,9K tweets by The Archivist.
The only languages I could identify in the labels of the Pie Chart above were en (for English) and fr (for French). Suffice to say that none of the other labels represents any of the 10 official South African languages (excluding English), which leads me to conclude that the other 9 languages in the Pie Chart (including French) are spoken elsewhere in the world.
Top 7 tweets
The following 2 tweets completed the top 7 most RT’d mentions for #Sowetoderby:
Why are the two tweets above of any significance, you ask? Well, Janusz Michallik’s top 6 tweet gave the #Sowetoderby the thumbs-up. This carried wight, given his Twitter profile.
Analysis of a sample of 1,4K tweets shows that #Sowetoderby got soccer fans engaged, as shown by the level of retweeting.
In addition, influential Twitterers played their part in getting the topic to achieve a world-wide reach.
#Sowetoderby has been a successful global PR exercise, both for the 2 clubs involved and for South African soccer as a whole. I believe that this has had a positive spinoff for the coming Orange AFCON 2013, happening in just over a month’s time in Mzansi.
Edited 9 December 2012, 20:41
Here is a tweet stream comparison graph of the three derbies that took place this weekend – Manchester (9 December), Freestate (9 December) and Soweto (8 December). Freestate and Soweto derbies are both South African.
As can be seen from the graph above, #Manchesterderby got the most Twitter mentions (30 306), while Freestatederby was hardly mentioned.