Box clever when promoting Fight Nights

Our analysis of social media content shows how pubs and clubs can capture the growing UK boxing fan base

Boxing has propelled itself into the sporting spotlight in recent years with fights such as Wilder v Fury and Warrington v Frampton demanding attention.

Our own research with CGA Strategy (April/May 2018) shows just how popular boxing has become among general sports fans.

It is the second most popular sport to watch behind perennial favourite football, with 38 per cent of sports fans saying that they follow boxing. On top of that, 72 per cent who say they watch it will do so in a pub or a club.

However, despite the surge in boxing’s popularity, venues may not be doing enough to ensure fight fans watch the action with them.

We have analysed how boxing has been talked about on social media over the last 12 months and it appears that the on-trade could do more to engage fight fans. Our research of various platforms, using data and analysis provided by TGI and Netbase, shows that boxing was mentioned on social media 2.5 million times in the last 12 months, indicating a huge appetite for the sport.

However, this included just 8,500 mentions of boxing in the context of pubs and clubs on social media. This suggests that while it is being talked about, there is more that the on-trade could do to be part of the conversation, or even lead it themselves.

Who’s in your corner?

To target your social content you need to know who you are talking to. It will come as no real surprise that the majority of boxing fans (75 per cent) are male. You are also looking at a relatively young crowd, with 40 per cent aged between 25 and 44.

Content you post should be tailored with that audience in mind.

When it comes to choosing a platform, Facebook looks like the best way of reaching your potential boxing customers. Three quarters of those who watch boxing on TV (75 per cent) use Facebook.

However you can also increase your reach on other platforms such as Instagram (used by 20 per cent of fans who watch boxing on TV) and Twitter (23 per cent).

We looked at key phrases such as ‘boxing’ and ‘UK boxing’ along with the names of prominent British boxers, such as Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua.

This helped us to identify the key times when boxing content was being posted on social media.

There are clear peaks around major fights.

The most activity was seen around the time of the Fury v Wilder title fight in early December, peaking at 158,000 posts a day. This is significantly more than other major fights such as Joshua v Povetkin (88,000) and Bellew v Haye (84,000). Though all three show that major fights are what gets people posting.

In terms of timing, the majority of boxing related content is posted between 7pm to 11pm on weekends, which is generally before and during headline bouts in the UK.

Pubs that show boxing have reported huge spikes in trading on the night of fights, showing the potential it has to draw a crowd.

However, to pack your pub it could be that you need to pack more of a punch with your social media offering.

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