Cricket again tops international sports federations on social media. GETTY IMAGES

BCW Sports, the sports practice of leading global communications agency BCW, has released its 2023 International Sports Federations Social Media Ranking.

Once again, the International Cricket Council (ICC) leads the way in social media with a total of 106,519,541 followers across Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Threads, TikTok, YouTube and X (formerly Twitter), representing an impressive 16% increase in followers since last year. 

FIFA and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) were in second and third place respectively. There were no new entrants to the top 10 in 2023, but the International Teqball Federation (FITEQ) moved up three places. In the combined ranking, FIBA has the largest increase (41%) compared to 2022. 

As for the social leaders, Umar Kremlev (president of the International Boxing Association) is the top on Instagram, Gianni Infantino (president of FIFA) on LinkedIn and Arkady Dvorkovich (president of the World Chess Federation) on X.

IBA president Umar Kremlev is the leader in Instagram. GETTY IMAGES
IBA president Umar Kremlev is the leader in Instagram. GETTY IMAGES

Notable key findings:

Established platforms continue to lead: Launched 20 years ago in 2004, Facebook is the oldest of all the platforms included in the analysis, yet it remains the platform with the most followers across all IFs, with a combined following of over 100 million. New to the social media landscape in 2023, and therefore also to the ranking, is Threads. Only 35 IFs have created accounts on Threads so far, and although they exist, we see that many (or most) of them are lying dormant. 

Impact of inclusion on Olympic programme not yet evident: Despite the inclusion of new sports in recent editions of the Olympics, such as skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing, these new sports haven't had a big enough boost to their social media following to be included in the top 10 of the ranking. As we enter another Olympic year, it will be interesting to follow the impact of Paris 2024 on the new sports.

Lars Haue-Pedersen, Managing Director of BCW Sports, said: "In our eighth edition of the IF Social Media Ranking, we see how IFs continue to adapt to the evolving social media landscape. With the introduction of new platforms and new features within existing platforms, IFs have clearly increased their ability to adapt to these changes within their communication strategies."

Lars Haue-Pedersen is the managing director of BCW Sports.
Lars Haue-Pedersen is the managing director of BCW Sports.

"As sports federations begin to see themselves more as global brands the opportunities to connect with fans continue to grow and it's really exciting to see how different sports are positioning themselves on social,"Pedersen added.

About the study

Published for the first time in 2016, the BCW International Sports Federations Social Media Ranking aims to capture the social media footprint of international sports federations (IFs) and provide insight into trends in social media use. This year's ranking includes international sports federations, both Olympic (summer and winter) and non-Olympic. The ranking is based on the organisational/corporate accounts of these IFs and their leadership (President/Secretary General) and does not include the various event-specific social media accounts.

About BCW 

BCW is the global communications agency built to move people. It works with clients in the B2B, consumer, corporate, crisis management, healthcare, public affairs, cause and technology clients to set the strategic direction for all communications and create powerful and unexpected ideas that get noticed. BCW uses earned media, paid media, creative technology, data, AI and a growing suite of innovative capabilities to move people with power and precision to move its clients forward.