Welcome to SportOnSocial League Table 2024, the 8th annual edition provided exclusively by Redtorch, which ranks 42 Summer and Winter Olympic International Federations (IFs) by measuring their social media performance over the 12 months of 2023.

2024 is a momentous year, with a milestone of 5 billion social media users reached worldwide. This presents a fantastic opportunity for growth, but in an era where everything competes with everything, the battle to remain relevant has never been more important … or more challenging.

As an agency, our goal is to make sport more relevant and – in a crucially important Olympic year – this report is designed to provide insights for IFs to help them win the battle for attention while maximising the social media opportunity presented by Paris 2024.

Chris Argyle-Robinson, Research & Strategy Director, Co-founder

SportOnSocial League Table 2024

1. Untapped potential of WhatsApp

WhatsApp’s reach extends to over 2 billion users in 180+ countries, and yet under 5% of International Federations (IFs) are currently on the platform.

Despite its global accessibility and penetration into remote areas, WhatsApp’s vast potential is rarely explored in IF social media strategies.

Offering direct engagement channels to huge audiences – with various media tools such as real-time updates and interactive features at low cost – WhatsApp is poised for significant adoption by IFs as it promises to revolutionise fan interaction and engagement.

SportOnSocial League Table 2024

2. TikTok breaks engagement mould

TikTok defied the conventional event-driven engagement patterns of platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and X/Twitter. Not reliant on events for engagement, TikTok interest peaked at points when the sports calendar is traditionally less active, unlike other social platforms.

TikTok also demonstrated its growing engagement prowess, boasting a +36% increase compared to the previous year.

TikTok’s ability to perform well outside of event time, alongside its consistent engagement growth make it a powerful and necessary part of any IF social media strategy for 2024 and beyond.

In particular, TikTok’s ability to produce engaging non-event content will make it a key tool for Paris 2024, with video restrictions limiting video ideas for IFs.

3. Growing importance of AI

It’s anticipated that AI will have a major impact on media in the coming years, with AI based media spending estimated to reach $370 billion by 2032.

AI is set to revolutionise IFs resourcing mix: 33% of marketers already use it for idea generation. Its capacity to produce wide-ranging content from minimal input will transform the creative process, thus enabling smaller organisations on tighter budgets to be more innovative.

SportOnSocial League Table 2024

4. TikTok gets longer

TikTok saw a +196% rise in longer videos (over 1 minute). Although short videos continued to dominate, they were matched in engagement by longer videos (both with average engagements of 43k per post).

TikTok’s expansion of its video length limit to 10 minutes further encouraged IFs to experiment with more detailed, long-form content. The average IF video length increased by +24%.

5. YouTube getting shorter

Unlike TikTok, YouTube trended in the opposite direction with a noticeable shift towards Shorts.

Despite traditional YouTube videos making up 64% of posts, the Shorts format massively outperformed this in overall engagement (+124%).

Shorts also generated +307% more engagements per post than traditional videos, cementing its growing importance to the social platform and emphasising its growing appeal to IF content strategy.

More insights found in the SportOnSocial League Table 2024, including a full breakdown of 42 Olympic IFs social media performance in 2023.

Redtorch is a bespoke and fully independent Research, Content & Creative Agency working to make sport more relevant. Click here to find out more about our work.