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Malaysians roars loudly about Sports on Twitter

18 million sports related Tweets by Malaysians in 2021 - #mufc, #olympics and #tokyo most Tweeted hashtags in Malaysia in 2021

Sports returned to the fields and stadiums in 2021 and with the matches, competitions, teams and players were widely discussed on Twitter. From breaking news to real time conversations, post match analysis, insights and athlete movements; Twitter is #WhatsHappening. Throughout 2021, Twitter has witnessed first-hand the multitude of conversations fans have participated in –

3.7 billion Tweets about sports worldwide, surpassing 2020’s total of almost 2.7 billion Tweets as people talked about sports[1], a 40% increase from the year before. Filled with high-profile sporting events; including the delayed #EURO2020, #Tokyo2020, and #Paralympics2020; it’s clear that fans were energetically cheering on their favourite leagues and #GOATs of the team, whether from the stands or their sofas.

In Southeast Asia, football fans have also been excitedly discussing match details and their favourite players’ performances on Twitter, which saw 41.7 million Tweets in the region around the much-loved sport[2], an increase of 32% from the previous year. Formula 1 fans in the region have been actively talking about it since the season started, with Tweet volume already exceeding 2020’s total before 2021 ends. The intense rivalries and exhilarating races have no doubt contributed to the 56% year-on-year growth in F1-related conversations for the first three quarters of 2021.

In 2021, Malaysians flocked to Twitter to share their excitement over sports. More than 18 millions sports-related Tweets were recorded in 2021, surpassing the previous year by 27.21%[3]. Malaysians actively conversed on sports topics around football, the Olympics, the Premier League, badminton, and Manchester United[4] and delving into the chatter from sports fans in the region, we’ve uncovered the events that created the loudest cheers on Twitter. From sensational player contracts being signed, to scintillating match finals; here is what Malaysians fans talked about the most on Twitter in Malaysia.





“Twitter and sports will always have a special relationship,” said Maurizio Barbieri - Head of Sports and Gaming Partnerships for SEA and Greater China at Twitter. “As events faced postponements and cancellations last year, fans on Twitter kept the passion and fervour alive by cheering words of encouragement and celebrating the wins. This year, as competitions resumed, the built-up anticipation resulted in a global frenzy that transcended borders, with Twitter connecting the community to give them front row seats to all the action and a valuable avenue to participate in the excitement.”

Football fever never ends
With the #EURO2020 postponed to 2021, football fans had plenty to look forward to this year - and it didn’t disappoint. A rollercoaster ride from start to end, local fans stayed up to witness Denmark’s fairytale run to the semi-finals, collectively gasped when superstar Mbappé’s (@KMbappe) missed penalty sent France home early, and watched as England’s first major final in 55 years ended in defeat at Wembley to the Italians (@Azzurri_En). With so many unexpected twists and turns for fans to discuss, it’s no wonder that #EURO2020 was one of Malaysia's top sport-related hashtags of the year.



Before the dust could even settle, football then dived straight into the @premierleague’s transfer season, which saw one of the most sensational deals in history. 12 years after his departure, Cristiano Ronaldo’s surprise return to his boyhood club sent football fans into a frenzy - making Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) and Manchester United (@ManUtd) the top Twitter accounts that Malaysian fans interacted with in 2021. With all the excitement swirling in the football world, Malaysians generated close to 1.7 million football-related Tweets.


Chasing Olympic dreams in Tokyo
Despite facing numerous challenges, not least of all an unprecedented postponement of the Games, #Tokyo2020 maintained pre-eminence in the sporting calendar, captivating Malaysians throughout July last year. Malaysia managed to qualify 30 athletes competing in 10 sports for the 2020 Olympics, with 13 of them being first time competitors.

The Olympics has always unified the country and Malaysians flock to Twitter to support national athletes; such as to @AzizulAWANG, who improved his performance in the Olympic by bagging silver in the cycling event and the men’s double #badminton team who won bronze. Team Malaysia official Twitter account (@teammsia) became the go-to place for Malaysians to cheer on their local heroes competing at the biggest sporting event in Tokyo and receive updates on their national athletes performances. More than 350,000 Tweets related to the handle @teammsia happened in Malaysia across 2021.




Adrenaline boosts from the racing track
Malaysians continued to keep a close eye on the track, with the #abudhabigp, #italiangp, and #belgiangp among the top most talked about races. A momentous occasion, fans celebrated as Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) wins as the 2021 world champion.



Meanwhile, the epic race in Baku, Azerbaijan kept fans at the edge of their seats as the final laps upped the ante. Title contenders Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) and Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) shockingly suffered from rare technical issues and mistakes, ruling them out with just five laps to go and eventually paving the way fo Sergio Pérez (@SChecoPerez) to take the podium. An extraordinary race to remember, F1 enthusiasts in Malaysia could ask for nothing more.



Where the sports fans gather
Sports events happen all over the world with Twitter acting as the bridge to connect fans wherever they may be. With various features available on the service, fans can elevate and take their experiences to the next level. For instance, Twitter Topics helps fans easily find the conversations that matter most to them - be it a football team, badminton star, or Olympic participants.

A curated Twitter List is another useful tool for fans to make sure they never miss a Tweet from their favourite accounts.

The sporting community on Twitter is so diverse, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and share. So while stadiums, courts and arenas are slowly welcoming crowds once more; on Twitter, the cheers never end.

[1] Source: Twitter internal data, 1 Jan - 31 Dec 2021. Tweets from Malaysia.
[2] Source: Twitter internal data, 1 Jan - 31 Dec 2021. Tweets from Malaysia.
[3] Source: Twitter internal data, 1 Jan - 31 Dec 2021. Tweets from Malaysia.
[4] Source: Twitter internal data, 1 Jan - 31 Dec 2021. Tweets from Malaysia.

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