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by Kick Point

Kick Point’s CFL Social Media Score Card — Week 19

Illustration of a football helmet that says CFL

On the field there’s always a winning team, but is that true on the internet? Who has the most engaged fans on Twitter and Facebook? Which team gets mentioned the most after a win? Is it always the winning team?

Leading up until the Grey Cup Final on November 30th, we’ll be analyzing the social media accounts for each CFL team to find out who the real (social media) winner is. We’re kicking off this series by digging into Week 19 (Oct 31st – Nov 6th). Our next post covers Week 20 — watch for it on on November 19th.

Whether you’re a 24/7/365 CFL fan, or jumping on the Grey Cup bandwagon, join us as we show you how each team stacks up on social media.


When we analyze a brand on social media we take a close look at few different things:

  • the size of a brand’s audience for each of their active social networks (how big is their reach?)
  • how active is the brand with sharing content (does the content they share strike a chord with their audience?)
  • how engaged is their audience (what do their social applause, conversation, and amplification metrics look like?)
  • how often do they get mentioned online and what kinds of things are people saying about them?

Using these stats, we’ll figure out the big winner each week.


Here’s some terms we’ll be using in this analysis:

Activity: What, where, and when a brand posts.

Engagement: The effect a brand is having on their audience, measured by applause, conversation, and amplification metrics.

Applause: The likes, favourites, thumbs-ups, <3s, and +1s that a piece of content gets.

Conversation: The amount of audience response to what a brand posts

Amplification: The number of times a piece of content is shared or retweeted.

What Happened During Week 19

The Saskatchewan Roughriders had a bye this week. And the Edmonton Eskimos’ mascot had a fall.

Hamilton 34 – Ottawa 25
Winnipeg 18 – Calgary 13
BC Lions 3 – Edmonton 37
Toronto 14 – Montreal 17

Now let’s get to the analysis!


First, we took a look at the size of the social audience for each team and ranked them from largest to smallest. CFL's Social Audient as of Nov. 6, 2014 shows the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the lead with 372,192. The top 3 teams with the largest audiences are:

1st Place: Saskatchewan Roughriders
2nd Place: Montreal Alouettes
3rd Place: BC Lions

It’s interesting to see (but also no surprise) that the Saskatchewan Roughriders have a 38% larger social audience than the CFL’s official account. This is an impressive statistic considering that the total population of Saskatchewan is only 1.1 million people. Rider Pride is an amazing phenomenon.

Most CFL fans are on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. There aren’t very many YouTube subscribers in the CFL, except for the official CFL YouTube page, which has 12,776 subscribers. Most teams embed videos directly on their site, which doesn’t drive traffic to YouTube. It’s a different strategy that maintains control over media, but doesn’t allow for much social sharing.


Next, we looked at what social channels CFL teams are using to share their content and how often they post. Below is a chart that ranks each team by their activity.

A bar chart shows the social activity for each CFL football team for the week of October 21, 2014The Top 3 Teams that are are most active on social media for Week 19 are:

1st Place: Toronto Argonauts
2nd Place: Ottawa Redblacks
3rd Place: Calgary Stampeders

What’s interesting about this is that none of these teams in the top 3 won a game during Week 19.

The official CFL profile is the most active, with a bulk of their activity on Twitter (500 tweets) as they do coverage for all teams. They are also quite active on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube.

We also discovered that the Eskimos post the most on Facebook (77 posts), while the Argos post the most on Instagram (25 posts). We found it odd that the Edmonton Eskimos are not very active on Instagram compared to other teams. It appears that an unofficial account was posting on their behalf, and on Nov 6th the Esks announced an official Instagram page on Facebook.

Fan Activity

Looking at the official accounts only gets us so far, though – what we really want to find out is which team has the most engaged fans on social media. To measure this, we looked at mentions of a team’s account and all associated hashtags during Week 19. For example, if we’re looking at the activity for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, we’re following all mentions of @ticats, #ticats, #oskeeweewee, @hamiltontigercats, “Hamilton Ti-Cats”, and “Hamilton Tiger-Cats”, and you end up with this:

A graph shows Fan Activity for each CFL team for the week of October 31, 2014

Each spike corresponds with a game. However, the third (Argos) spike is a bit higher than we were expecting, so we dug into it. One of the fun things we found out while doing this analysis is that there’s a chain of stores in the UK called Argos, and those mentions were “polluting” the Toronto Argos mentions. We’ve removed it as much as we could from our analysis.

The first set of spikes on the left were from the Hamilton vs Ottawa game. The 2nd set of spikes were from both the Winnipeg vs Calgary and BC vs Edmonton games. The 3rd spike was from the Toronto vs Montreal game. There are very few mentions of the Alouettes, though – even during the game. The Top 3 Teams that had the most active fans on social media for Week 19 are:

1st Place: Toronto Argonauts
2nd Place: Ottawa Redblacks
3rd Place: Saskatchewan Roughriders


Having a big fan base can only get you so far. You can have millions of fans, but if they’re not talking to or about you, then you’re not engaging the audience that you need to on social. For Week 19 we dug into the total engagement for each team (sum of all applause, conversation and amplification metrics): CFL - Social Engagement - Week 19 The Top 3 Teams that were the most engaging for Week 19 are:

1st Place: Edmonton Eskimos
2nd Place: Calgary Stampeders
3rd Place: Saskatchewan Roughriders

The biggest surprise with these results was how the Saskatchewan Roughriders (who didn’t even play in Week 19) managed to make it into the top 3, despite being the second-lowest team when it came to activity. This shows two things: that their content spoke to their audience and that their audience is highly engaged. We see the inverse with the Toronto Argos who were the most active, but ended up in the middle of the pack when it came to engagement. This was mainly due to the Argos’ low engagement on Facebook.


The top post on Twitter for Week 19 was:


The top post on Facebook for Week 19 was:

Happy Halloween Rider Nation!

Posted by Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday, October 31, 2014


The top post on Instagram for Week 19 was

Happy Halloween #Ridernation!

A post shared by Sask. Roughriders (@sskroughriders) on

Who’s the Big Winner?

Here’s how we figured out the social media winner:

1. We pulled the data from the Audience, Activity, Fan Activity and Engagement charts, then normalized it.

2. Next, we added a weighting factor to reflect what data we felt was most important and gave it a weighting. The weightings from most important to least important are:

Fan Activity

3. Finally, we added up the results!

A ranking of each CFL team based Fan Activity, Engagement, Activity, and Audience. The Toronto Argonauts are in first place, followed by the Edmonton Eskimos and the Ottawa Redblacks.

[Dana would like to note that as a Ticats fan, she’s horrified by the results.]


Because of the nature of social data, it’s difficult to capture everything. For example, it’s much easier to track discussions on Twitter than on Facebook. And sometimes a celebrity can appear to throw your stats off with a single tweet. But that’s the uncontrollable nature of social media.

Bonus: Smack Talk!

Smack talk is an important part of the sporting world. Here are some of our favourites:

The Riders buy a billboard outside whatever stadium they’re playing in:

A Pattison billboard shows a white woman wearing a green Saskatchewan RoughRiders shirt. The text on the billboard reads Green is the New Orange

The Argos ask for suggestions on what music to play, through the hashtag #ArgosTunes. The Eskimos had some ideas for them:

The REDBLACKS wanted to reminisce:

Looking Forward to Week 20?

We’ll be back on November 14th with our analysis of the Week 20 games. What’s your prediction? Will the Riders come out on top since they’re actually playing? Can anyone shut the Argos up? Will the REDBLACKS play as well as they tweet? Check back to find out!


walter dupczaks profile picture walter dupczak says:

fantastic view you are providing–THANKS

Tim Dycks profile picture Tim Dyck says:

Repeat until your too horse to speak anymore..,

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