In the midst of the final week of the 2018 AFL season, the grand final just days away and with the 2018 Brownlow Medallist awarded to Hawthorn’s Tom Mitchell, Shunt Creative took a closer look at the Twitter accounts of AFL players with the help of Twitter data specialists Trendsmap.
With the Brownlow Medal awarded by the umpire’s to the league’s best player, Shunt has taken a different slant on things by looking at who is influencing the influencers on Twitter. Who then is the most followed player by his AFL player peers on the social media platform?
The team at Trendsmap analysed all 484 accounts listed on the AFL Players’ Association Twitter account with the most influential influencer being two-time Brownlow medallist Gary Ablett Jr. making him the go-to AFL player amongst his peers with 214 followers.
Long regarded as the premier player of the league over the last decade, the former Gold Coast Sun mid-fielder/forward returned to his first club Geelong in 2018 for one final flourish to his stellar career.
At number two is Sydney Swans ace Lance Franklin. The four-time Coleman Medallist who is in the middle of a monster nine-year contract signed in 2013 is followed by 179 of his fellow AFL professionals.
In third is Collingwood’s Scott Pendlebury with 174 AFL players regularly checking-in to his account while two more Geelong superstars, 2016 Brownlow Medallist Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood both on 170 were almost as popular.
What marks all these players out as the most influential? It probably has something to do with their long-time on-field prowess and leadership coupled with their burgeoning off-field profile.
Digging deeper into the top 20 most followed, 17 have received All-Australian honours, three are Brownlow Medallists while Franklin and Jack Riewoldt are Coleman Medal winners.
Looking to the clubs with the most followed players in the top 20, Geelong has five and GWS Giants three. Interestingly each of the Giants started their careers at Melbourne based clubs before making the move north.
How deep is the love?
Taking it one step further we asked Trendsmap to then take a look at how many AFL players the public followed as we wanted to get an understanding as to just how fanatical some fans are.
Across the same 484 AFL player Twitter accounts, there were 758,875 followers of which 383,439 (50.58 per cent) accounts follow just one player, 90,700 (11.95 per cent) follow two and 50,581 (6.7 per cent) follow three.
Through nine to 14 players followed, the total was 52,031 accounts at 6.86 per cent, then the top 15 to 25 player accounts comes in at a cumulative following of 41,893 accounts or 5.52 per cent audience share.
From here-on the followers of AFL players get increasingly more hardcore with their total numbers steadily declining until you are left with just a fanatical few.
Going to the extreme, one account follows all 484 player accounts – the AFLPA perhaps?