The fight for Major League Soccer’s MLS Cup has begun, with the league’s playoffs having kicked off with knockout round play on Halloween. MLS marked the end of the regular season by reflecting on the progress made by its social accounts and application.
The league said that followers across all of its social channels are up 963 percent since 2013, marking the highest growth rate among professional sports leagues in the U.S.
Since the end of 2017, followers of MLS and its clubs are up 10 percent, driven by Instagram growth, as well as interest in content from the individual teams.
MLS and its clubs have created more than 20,000 pieces of video so far this year, drawing 613 million views across all platforms, up 75 percent from the same time period in 2017. The league’s social channels tallied 325 million video views and created 1.8 billion impressions across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter throughout 2018 thus far.
Near-real-time goal highlights make up some of that video. MLS said technology partner WSC Sports uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to cut the highlights, which are often live in less than one minute.
As for live video, 22 matches were livestreamed on Twitter, attracting over 13.9 million viewers. MLS said the move to Twitter doubled its audience compared with a slate of 22 games on Facebook Live during the previous season (prior to the debut of Facebook Watch), produced with Univision Deportes.
The league brought its MLS iOS and Android application in-house for the first time this year, adding features such as enabling users to experience the app in the colors of their favorite club, and MLS said the app’s video-friendly design helped drive a 35 percent increase in video views year-over-year.
And in June, MLS announced a strategic partnership with R/GA Ventures, the investment and innovation arm of global agency R/GA, with the aim of giving the league early access to “cutting-edge new startups in strategic areas of focus.”