This article was initially written in February 2016 and was submitted to the Quidditch Post for review and use. The article was pulled, but has now resurfaced on Virtual Perceptions with the author’s permission. We thank the Quidditch Post for their advice in the creation of this article.
The data used for this piece is pulled from Sysomos during and just after the IQA World Cup in Frankfurt, Germany. The information is representative of the impact of traditional media and Twitter, and it does not include Facebook, radio, television, or any alternate means of finding the sport. We have compiled the information to the best of our abilities and tools, and we believe that the conclusions drawn from this article are accurate based on what is available to us.
- Gender Distribution
- Country Distribution
As the PR team for QuidditchUK, we have the ultimate goal of changing perceptions on quidditch. This has made a lot of people very confused and widely been considered a bad move.
At least, this is what happens when you look at any half-informed forum post that covers quidditch.
When a big piece of coverage comes out, we immediately hit social media to track the reactions and sentiment. What do people think of the sport? What do they think of our work? What does the voice of the world think of quidditch? How much of an impact have we had?
As such, after a long time of compiling information, we have analysed the media impact and drawn several conclusions that may be of interest to the community. Below you will find our findings from the IQA World Cup.
While quidditch is an LGBTQ+ friendly sport and inclusive to non-binary individuals, the data from Twitter shown in the graphic above shows this inclusivity is not clearly replicated in some platforms that are available to cover the sport. This emphasises the apparently next-level progressive attitude of the quidditch community. What we are sad to see is that, as of yet, the social tools to detect people who do not identify as either male or female cannot be tracked on social media. As such, we do not have an accurate insight into how the coverage may be responded to by them. With that said, the tools are being developed to expand gender identification on social media, and with these developments will come a more accurate insight into the gender split.
Gender is always something difficult to bring up when contacting the media, and also in the wider quidditch community when introducing new players, as proudly acknowledging the acceptance and inclusion of people regardless of their gender is a very foreign concept to most people. Traditionally, physical sports are seen as “male” activities and I am sure every quidditch player has come across comments by people saying they are worried to tackle a girl or something similar. We are happy to see that, on social media, it is very close to an equal split regarding posts.
It is very difficult trying to convince a journalist to want to cover quidditch as a serious sport, even though many people who label quidditch as ridiculous are vocal supporters of more traditional sports such as football or cricket. From the chart above, referencing country distribution of coverage, it is clear that those countries with the most coverage – USA, UK, and Australia – have extensive sporting messages in their respective national media.
International media also focuses upon American, British, and Australian sport. While the coverage of quidditch is always a fantastic occurrence, it is clear that the Twitter coverage of the IQA World Cup was heavily weighted by the outcome of the tournament: Australia won gold, USA silver, and UK bronze. While Australia took home the win, the USA’s Twitter demographic is significantly larger; this is partly due to the sport originating in the USA, the extensive community there, as well as the USA’s presence in quidditch at an international level.
Interestingly enough, over half of the Twitter coverage about World Cup is from countries whose official language is English. This mirrors the overall international coverage of the sport, with English being the unofficial language of most press releases and tournament and post-match coverage. With the sport boasting a variety of multilingual players, it is interesting to see that the media coverage does not currently mirror this. While it can be frustrating to see the linguistically–diverse quidditch community not represented in the media, it is necessary to remember that quidditch is still in its infancy. This is clear by the domination of English and also when looking at quidditch through the perception of the media.
Usually, when diving into the comments section on Facebook pages or other websites, comments are very negative. However, we are happy to report that negative comments form a small pool of outliers in the data on feedback on quidditch media. When measuring the full impact across all social media channels, people are more widely positive in relation to quidditch. Contrary to popular belief, the sport is seen in a positive light, at least on Twitter.
This graphic provides some insight into how many people saw the World Cup on either livestreams or social media, though it should be noted that the 58 million reached on Twitter may not include the people who saw World Cup coverage on Facebook or television. Internal estimates push towards 100 million impressions across the world, with the lion’s share of media interest coming from the USA, followed by the UK and then Australia. When Australia announced their victory, the country exploded with excitement; it was a sight to see on social media. Ultimately, it was a strong story, and one that was influential once it hit the news proper.
After looking at social media and employing a rudimentary analysis of the social messages, the messages are more positive than negative overall. The vocal minority has displayed indignation of quidditch, yet alongside these voices is a large cohort of very positive voices tweeting how they are happy it is real, giving their support in their own ways. We believe that quidditch will be seen as a childish sport for a while as it is linked to a children’s book. Yet with time, we also believe that there will be a paradigm shift in perceptions if there are enough voices supporting the sport. With the media coverage information available from the IQA World Cup, we have found that the transition is slowly beginning to happen.
Ultimately, we are pleased with our hard work and happy with our progress so far. We hit the national and international media hard, and the content of most of these big articles has been very positive in recent years, which is a trend we will continue. But really, it’s the community that makes it strong; we would never have a story if the community was not so warm, so welcoming, so kind. Without a community that creates good stories, we would never have a story to tell.
Thomas Ffiske and Sophia Woodruff