Instagram is where it’s @
We have collected and analysed the social handles of thousands of sportstars and we noticed a while ago that Instagram has become the platform of choice for the majority of players. For every 100 players we start to track we can predict that fewer than 50 of them will have active Facebook Pages – and that proportion is dropping.
About 65 of them will have an official twitter account, that proportion is pretty stable but the direction of travel is downwards, we think we’ve passed peak tweet. More than 90% of young and upcoming players are using Instagram on a regular basis to communicate with their fans. It came as no big surprise to us that it was Instagram handles that appeared on the shirts of Inter Milan players when they met Cagliari in their Serie A match last night.
This isn’t the first time that social media handles have featured on the shirts of players. In 2011 the Mexican club Los Jaguares unveiled kit with 2 twitter handles on the back of each shirt
, one for the individual player and one for the beer that was the clubs main sponsor at the time.
The Jaguars were following the example set by Valencia earlier that same year
who, having failed to secure a shirt sponsor that season, decided to fill the resulting gap with the twitter handle of the team. Neither of those innovations were judged successful enough to stick and the same can be said of Northern Premier League Stamford AFCs slightly puzzling decision to put QR codes on their players shirts in 2012
Inter are doing something different with their Instagram initiative and it may just take off. Instagram is certainly where it is at right now and by integrating the individual players social handle into the accepted look and feel of a shirt – and into all the kit-related merchandising that is a key feature of any clubs branding the Italians may just have crossed the Rubicon.