How Sports Fans are Using Facebook Reactions

May 17, 2016

Written by NewsWhip

We take a look at which sports teams are making fans laugh, get angry, feel sad, and more with Facebook Reactions. 

Last time, we took a look at top publishers and brands, to see how people are using Facebook Reactions.
Sports prompt big, passionate responses in followers, but does the same apply to using the reactions on Facebook? We looked at sports teams across MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, and the top 20 global soccer teams to see how sports fans are using Facebook Reactions.
The data, as always, comes from Spike.
Facebook reactions sports
On average, Reactions account for 4.5% of total Likes and Reactions combined.
Love is the most popular Facebook Reaction at 3%, and the other Reactions are all each under 1%. Perhaps unsurprisingly, NHL fans are both the angriest and most loving. MLB fans are the most likely to mark a Facebook post as “Wow”, by a wide margin.
Let’s jump into each of the reactions.


angry reactions sports
The five Angriest teams were soccer and hockey teams. While the overall average Angry percentage for sports teams was .22%, these teams exceeded that average over five times over.
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Olympique De Marseille was infuriating its fans last month. What got people the angriest was content around the games they lost. The above post had 1,500 Angry reactions to 2,000 likes.
The same was the case for both the Vancouver Canucks and Detroit Red Wings, along with changing the name of the Red Wings’ stadium to Little Caesars Arena, after the pizza chain.
Most often, sports fans use Angry reactions when their team loses, or when the team does something the fans don’t agree with. Want to see what’s getting your team’s fans angry? Take a free trial of Spike. 


haha sports reactions
Which teams were the funniest? NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks were making fans laugh by a big margin. Our overall Ha-Ha average was .22%, and the Bucks’ went way beyond that with a 1.58% average.
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This dance battle video elicited the most “Ha-Ha” reactions, over 4,600. Along with another dance video, an April Fool’s Day prank, and posts parodying Drake’s new album, it’s easy to see how the Bucks’ are getting fans laughing.
Hockey teams New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres make an appearance, along with basketball’s Atlanta Hawks, and Olympique de Marseille, our angriest team, rounding out as the the fifth funniest.  
The Devils and Sabres also earned a lot of laughs from April Fools Day content, like this intermission bubble race. Beyond that, these teams get Ha-Ha reactions from being willing to poke fun and laugh at themselves.
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The Hawks amused fans with a “Kiss Cam” video of a woman enjoying pizza, and a video about their mascot, Harry the Hawk, having a questionable injury.
For Olympique de Marseille, their content getting the most Ha-Ha reactions was a lot of the Angry content. Perhaps fans of rival teams were laughing at their losses.


love reactions sports
Four of the five most-loved teams were hockey teams, all of them exceeding 5% against the average we found of 3.09%. The Dallas Stars were the most-loved team, at 5.78%.
Dallas Stars Hype Video 
The Dallas Stars’ most loved posts were about pre-game hype, wins, and the achievements of individuals, such as their coach earning his 700th victory. The St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Tampa Bay Lightning also saw Love reactions primarily about their triumphs.
jake arrieta no hitter cubs
The Chicago Cubs snuck in at number four. We’ve talked about the Cubs’ and their killer social game before. They are responsible for four of the top five most-loved MLB posts.
Their content with the most Love reactions highlight individual players and their achievements, such as Jake Arrieta completing his second career no-hitter and Addison Russell scoring a three-run homer.

Would you give this blog a Love reaction? Tell us in our first ever survey


sad reactions sports
We see an outlier in Sad reactions with the New Orleans Saints, with 10.59% to the .51% average of all sports teams we looked at. The Saints held 12 of the 20 posts with the most Sad reactions for NFL teams.
The majority of the Saints’ sad posts came from content posted around defensive end Will Smith’s killing last month.
will smith saints
Sad reactions often spike around current events for teams that are tragic. LA Lakers for Kobe’s retirement, Philadelphia Flyers for the passing of Flyers former president Ed Snider, Minnesota Twins for Prince’s death.
Colorado Avalanche also made an appearance on the Sad list for content around the team’s defeat this season.
Colorado avalanche clear ice 
In addition to Angry reactions, team losses also drive Sad reactions. The Avalanche’s video of cleaning the ice after they lost the season, had nearly 1,300 Sad reactions to 3,300 Likes.


wow reactions sports facebook
MLB teams saw the most Wow reactions, with San Diego Padres leading the pack by .01%. Our most-loved baseball team, the Chicago Cubs, are the number two team in Wow’s.
The Mets, Blue Jays, and Phillies round out the list. Stunning plays drive the most Wow’s, as fans want to relive the thrilling moments that defined a game.
Padres catch
This San Diego Padres’ video of a diving catch wowed fans. The other teams—the Cubs, Mets, Blue Jays, and Phillies, all had their most awe-inspiring content come from similar content.

How To Measure Reactions

Facebook Reactions are proving a valuable way for publishers, brands, and sports teams to keep a pulse on how their followers are finding their content.
Angry and Sad reactions can show how devastated sports fans are by a particular team’s losses, or how displeased they are with ongoing team affairs.
Wow reactions can show that fans are really being awed by a team’s efforts and plays. It indicates a genuine interest in the game. Love reactions also signal authentic passion and dedication to a team. We already know how popular the Cubs are with their fan base, so it wasn’t surprising to see them on the top list for Love reactions.
Teams that have a humorous voice on Facebook drive Ha-Ha reactions. Funny content is highly sharable, so checking Ha-Ha reactions lets teams see if they’re hitting their fans’ funny bones.
Reactions are still relatively new, so we’ll keep watching to see how they play out for sports teams.

Want to see the sports content driving Facebook Reactions? Take a free trial of Spike


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