Global Football Players with the Highest Social Interactions Among Fans

Global football tops the charts as being the single most viewed sport in the world. Games are played throughout the year which helps to create quality content for fans to engage with. Global football players use that content to engage with fans on social media. Lionel Messi, Neymar da Silva, and Sergio Ramos secured the top three spots for most social interactions among fans in March 2019. Hookit analyzed the total number of interactions each of the top 10 global football players received via their social media channels and created valuable insights on a few of the players’ rankings.

Key Insights

Messi Maintains Control of First Position

Lionel Messi is active on Facebook and Instagram, where he collectively has 208.7M followers between the two platforms. Even with such a large established fan base on social media, the FC Barcelona player saw an increase in 2.7M followers last month, the biggest increase in new followers among all global football players.
Messi’s interactions with fans on social media kept him in the first position for social engagements from February to March. Out of the total 44.7M social interactions from both platforms, 98% of engagement came from fans on Instagram. His most engaging Instagram post was a paid partnership with Pepsi. This post alone accumulated over 25M interactions, accounting for 57% of the 43.7M total social interactions across all of his Instagram posts last month. The fan engagement on this post shows that even branded content can drive fans to like and share if it is interesting to them.

Neymar Dribbles to Second Position

Neymar has the highest number of followers on social media among all global football players on the top 10 list. 222.9M followers interacted with Neymar’s posts 29.3M times in March, with 94% of those interactions occurring his Instagram account. This is impressive considering that out of the total 79 posts across all three of his social media platforms, Instagram drove the most traffic and engagement with only 19 posts.
Neymar, the striker for Paris Saint-Germain F.C., should expect to remain in the top 10 athletes list for social engagement after reports of wanting to extend his contract with the club. This is exciting news for fans in Paris and those that engage with him on social media. This also can be attractive for brands looking to partner with Neymar. Hookit analyzed that in 2018, he drove $822M Earned Media Value (EMV) for his sponsors, the second highest for EMV behind Cristiano Ronaldo. To view the full report, download Hookit’s 2018 Year in Review: Sports Properties.

Midfielder James Rodriguez Shoots to Eighth Position

James Rodriguez, the midfielder for FC Bayern Munich, jumped twenty spots on the social interactions top 10 list after posting impressive stats for his club in last month. Rodriguez’s post on Instagram, after his first hat-trick for Bayern Munich, contributed 21% of the total 8.7M interactions from the social media platform. Instagram proved to be his most engaging social platform, as a quarter of his 27 total posts to social media came from Instagram, but accounted for 91% of the total 9.6M social interactions.
Due to his performances last month, Rodriguez was voted Bayern Munich’s player of the month for March. This comes after the midfielder hadn’t registered a goal for Bayern since October, in addition to a knee injury sustained during the winter months.

The Wrap Up

Global football continues to be an engaging sport to watch from fans around the world. With such a high number of social followers, engagement on social media between athletes and fans will continue to remain high. These social interactions can be instrumental for brands that are sponsoring those top athletes and looking to increase their brand value. By analyzing the top-ranked global football players according to social interactions, brands can create valuable insights when looking for new partnerships that drive value.
Note: All data is from official Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram Business accounts. Any personal Instagram account data is not included in these rankings.


Jeremy Parker
Written by Jeremy Parker
Jeremy is a second-year MBA candidate at the Rady School of Management with extensive data-analytics, social media strategy, and content marketing experience. As a marketing intern for Hookit, he has learned valuable skills to help analyze athlete engagement and create insights on driving brand value. To connect further, please refer to his LinkedIn.


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