MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Twitter is #WhatsHappening and with sports making a comeback in 2021, conversations on Twitter only skyrocketed. We saw a whopping 3.7 billion Tweets about sports worldwide, surpassing 2020’s total of almost 2.7 billion as people talked about sports. Closer to home, the Southeast Asia region garnered slightly over 95 million sports-related Tweets in 2021, a 40% increase from the year before. This is hardly surprising, as highly anticipated sporting events like #EURO2020, #Tokyo2020, and #Paralympics2020 returned with much fanfare. Whether fans watched from the bleachers or from their television screens at home; Twitter was abuzz with them celebrating goals and wins, as well as cheering on the #GOATs of the team they support.
In the Philippines, the conversation around sports skyrocketed in 2021 with over 19.6 million Tweets, a 22.50% growth vs. 2020. Filipinos were mainly excited about #basketball, keeping tabs on the schedules and chatting non-stop since the games opened which garnered over 6.2 million Tweets for 2021. Entering midyear, all eyes were on the Olympics as its winners unfold one by one. Filipinos also ensured to bring their loudest cheers on Twitter with 2.4 million Tweets from July to August 2021, showcasing that Twitter is the stadium where Filipinos come together to share their love for sports.
“Twitter and sports will always have a special and tight relationship,” said Maurizio Barbieri, Head of Sports and Gaming Partnerships for SEA and Greater China at Twitter. “As events faced postponements and cancellations last year, sports fans on Twitter kept the passion and fervour alive by cheering, encouraging, and celebrating the wins together wherever they were. As competitions resumed this year, the built-up anticipation resulted in a global frenzy that transcended borders, with Twitter connecting the like-minded community to give them front row seats to all the action and a valuable avenue to participate in the excitement.”
Delving into the chatter from sports fans in the Philippines, we’ve uncovered the events that created the loudest cheers on Twitter. From podium finishes in Tokyo to action in court and virtual arena, here are some of the moments Filipinos have been talking about.
1. Chasing Olympic dreams in Tokyo
Despite facing postponement and numerous challenges, @Tokyo2020 and @Olympics maintained pre-eminence in the sporting calendar, captivating Filipinos throughout July. Our athletes in various individual sports categories united Filipinos on Twitter, who offered words of support and encouragement throughout the event.
Weightlifting Hidilyn Diaz (@diaz_hidilyn) goes down in the Philippines’ history as the first-ever Filipino athlete to win gold in the Olympics. a Tweet about her win became the top Retweeted related to Sports in the Philippines last year.
— The Olympic Games (@Olympics) July 26, 2021
Apart from the historic four medal wins, Filipinos also cheered for the sportsmanship of all Filipino athletes and other moments. One of them was Filipino skater Margielyn Didal (@MargielynDidal) who captured people’s hearts with her cheerful nature on and off the skating rink.
— Reuben Terrado (@reubensports) July 26, 2021
— Lakay (@LakasNgTimog) July 27, 2021
2. Filipinos’ all-time favorite: Basketball
Basketball runs deep in Filipino fans’ veins. The fact that there’s a basketball court in almost every corner is a testament to how the Philippines is home to one of the most passionate fans of the sport. In 2021, the excitement on basketball continued to fire up as Filipinos generated over 6.2 million Tweets related to basketball, a jump of 6.90% increase vs. 2020.
In particular, most of the basketball-related Tweets were due to the excitement brought by the NBA All-Star and NBA Playoffs in 2021. Filipinos ensured to witness all the ball action from their favorite NBA players and teams by Tweeting their reactions, sharing a video of their favorite game highlights, and looking for new updates on Twitter. The hashtag #nbaallstar was also often used, while Lebron James (@kingjames) and Stephen Curry (@stephencurry30) were some of the top players Filipinos Tweeted about in 2021.
— rëdgë✨ (@regilynmh) January 19, 2021
3. Excitement around Esports
The competition in the Esport arena intensifies as Filipino fans and even pro players continue to make waves in the local and global gaming scene. 2021 highlighted how Filipinos dominated leagues such as when Blacklist International (@BLACKLISTINTL) emerged as champions in the M3 World Grand Finals last December 2021.
— Rokok Eceran (@Battery98Persen) December 19, 2021
#GenshinImpact has indeed created an impact among Filipinos as it is the most Tweeted about hashtag in gaming, while interactive games such as Valorant (@playVALORANT) and Mobile Legends (@MobileLegendsOL) were on the rise in 2021, bringing Filipinos together in-game as a way to bond with friends and peers.
Where the sports fans gather
Sports events happen all over the world with Twitter acting as the bridge to connect fans wherever they may be. With various features available on the service, fans can elevate and take their experiences to the next level. For instance, Twitter Topics helps fans easily find the conversations that matter most to them – be it a football team, basketball star, or Olympics gymnast.
A curated Twitter List is another useful tool for fans to make sure they never miss a Tweet from their favourite accounts.
The sporting community on Twitter is so diverse, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and share. So, while stadiums, courts, and arenas are slowly welcoming crowds once more; on Twitter, the cheers never end.