The reaction to Wiggins’ SPOTY win

PHOTO: Sky Pro Cycling.

Monitoring “Shares”, “Likes” and “Comments”

At 10.24pm London time on Sunday 16 December it was announced that Bradley Wiggins had become the second successive cyclist to win the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year Award. The 2012 Tour de France champion followed the 2011 world champion, Mark Cavendish, in being voted the most popular sports person in Britain.

At the time of the announcement Sky Pro Cycling had 208,327 “Likes” on its Facebook page.

After the awards last year, the reaction to Cavendish’s win was impressive with huge numbers of fans posting comments and clicking “Like” on the FB page for his team of one season (2012).

This year, we monitored the reaction on Sky’s FB page to see how keen people were to share, like or comment on the success of Wiggins.

Sky’s message was a very simple one, surely written in haste to spread the news as rapidly as possible. It stated:


“Bradley Wiggins has won 2012 Sports Personality of the Year!!! Thank you SO MUCH to all of you who voted!!! It really is appreciated.”


A total of six exclamation marks for three brief sentences. This prompted an impressive reaction. It took 20 minutes before something more substantial was posted on Sky Pro Cycling’s official site and in that time the traffic was impressive. Here is a breakdown of the minute-by-minute growth in shares, likes and comments on the team’s FB page:


Shares Likes Comments
2 minutes: 100 1,200 114
3 minutes: 115 2,347 145
4 minutes: 123 2,567 154
5 minutes: 137 2,843 180
6 minutes: 148 3,383 205
7 minutes: 154 3,591 218
8 minutes: 163 3,909 246
9 minutes: 172 4,091 264
10 minutes: 176 4,363 279
11 minutes: 179 4,490 283
12 minutes: 191 4,840 298
13 minutes: 193 4,973 305
14 minutes: 198 5,165 319
15 minutes: 200 5,306 324
16 minutes: 202 5,428 331
17 minutes: 207 5,573 341
18 minutes: 213 5,825 345
19 minutes: 214 5,869 346
20 minutes: 214 5,919 349
25 minutes: 222 6,227 357
30 minutes: 229 6,403 366
35 minutes: 232 6,659 375
50 minutes: 242 7,062 386
60 minutes: 242 7,218 390



Okay, there are pop stars and politicians who elicit a greater reaction from the public but this is about a popularity poll in which a cyclist was the winner in a nation that, until recently, hasn’t exactly had a huge interest in the sport.

The fact that Wiggins has won the ‘Sports Personality of the Year’ award is, in itself, a reflection of the growing popularity of cycling in the UK. And the social media figures are a reflection of what sort of impact cyclists have had on the population of his home country.

Cycling has suffered with plenty of negativity in recent months but it would see that there are reasons to be optimistic.

It took an hour for the reaction to abate but the influence of Wiggins, the coach of the year (Dave Brailsford) and the rest of Sky Pro Cycling is obvious. Congratulations to all who have contributed to what has indeed been a remarkable season for a team that, we should remember, only made its debut in the pro peloton at the start of 2010.





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Author: rob@ride

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