Softball’s Social Power at the 2022 Women’s College World Series

The call for people to invest in women’s sports has gotten louder and louder over the years. It has become clear that such a leap is worth it. Beyond the athletic competition itself, the numbers do not lie and the 2022 Women’s College World Series was no exception. Besides strong viewership numbers averaging 1M for the entire WCWS, the participating teams put out solid social content throughout the tournament. 

WCWS Team Social Performance

Of the eight schools in the field (Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State, UCLA, Florida, Arizona, Northwestern, and Oregon State), the the tournament champs Oklahoma (by no surprise) led the way with 46,472,176 impressions amounting to a social value of $1,647,473 on their owned content (posts directly from the team’s account) on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook during the World Series. Texas was second in both metrics, with 43,810,041 impressions and a social value of $1,004,945. It is worth noting that Florida, who posted nearly four times less than Oklahoma and had over 11 times less impressions than Oklahoma, had the highest engagement rate out of the eight teams at 4.011%. To that point, generally teams with higher engagement rates had a lower percentage of posts on Twitter compared to the teams with lower engagement rates. Additionally, Texas and Oklahoma went further in the tournament, giving them more content opportunities than the rest of the schools.

Twitter Highlights from the #WCWS

Tracking the earned conversation on Twitter (mentions of teams, NCAA Softball and WCWS hashtags) Jocelyn Alo, whose storied college career ended with another championship for the University of Oklahoma, was tagged in 7% of all social posts, or 14,284 posts, only behind @ou_softball (51%), @ncaasoftball (22%), @texassoftball (21%), and @espn (11%). The generational talent that she is certainly did not go unnoticed during the World Series, as seen by her notable attention on socials.

A single post that made waves during the WCWS came from NFL quarterback Tom Brady. His niece, Maya Brady, plays for UCLA. His tweet that included a video of her and mentioned UCLA Softball racked up a social value of $67,439 with 1,874,553 projected impressions. Having superstar athletes in leagues with substantial popularity (i.e. Tom Brady and the NFL) post about women’s sports is important for engaging new fans and a more diverse audience.

WCWS Audience Insights

Based on social data, the WCWS audience was 1.4x more female than male compared to the general sports fan. Additionally, the audience seems to have had more of an affinity for local establishments regional to the tournament and its top teams. Compared to the general sports fan, they were 24.2x more likely to have an affinity for Pluckers Wing Bar and 42.4x more likely to have an affinity for COOPAleWorks. Pluckers Wing Bar is a sit-down restaurant chain located entirely in Texas and Louisiana, while COOPAleWorks is a brewery located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. With the Women’s College World Series located in Oklahoma City, it is unsurprising (and encouraging for the local economy) that WCWS fans are more likely to frequent local establishments compared to the general sports fan.

In terms of sports retail compared to the general sports fan, they were 8.2x more likely to have an affinity for Easton, 7.8x more likely to have an affinity for Rawlings and 6.6x more likely to have an affinity for Academy Sports + Outdoors, of which nearly half of store locations are found in Texas and Oklahoma (130 of 269). 

WCWS Total Social Numbers

Looking at the social performance of the Women’s College World Series as a whole in terms of owned and earned team and NCAA Softball content, the event garnered over 343.7 million total impressions, a social value north of 8.6 million dollars and over 6.6 million engagements as of July 27th. Of the 343.7 million impressions, 97.8% of them came during the tournament. Further, 96.2% of the social value and 90% of engagements were earned during the tournament. 

On the field and off, this year’s Women’s College World Series certainly did not disappoint. If anyone needs any convincing, use this as proof — women’s sports are beyond worth investing in.

*Data analyzed in this writing was taken from the time period of 6/2/22 12 AM ET to 6/10/22 12 PM ET