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Which Country has the Biggest Case of Football Fever So Far? BBM Tells Us

BBM / 06.17.14 / Eric Lai

BBM users are passionate about the beautiful game. Just as much, they love sharing their excitement over great goals and amazing saves with their friends and family around the world. But just how fanatical are BBM fans? We wanted to find out and thought you might be interested too.

We took a look at BBM usage data for the first three days, from Thursday night’s kickoff in Brazil until Saturday night (the 15th). We focused on data from seven countries playing in the current 32-team soccer tournament: the United Kingdom(actually,England), Mexico, Brazil, Netherlands, Spain, Australia and Argentina. We analyzed the average number of messages sent per minute by BBM users in the week before the event, and the number of messages being sent per minute by BBM users in that country when their team is actually playing. We also looked at the highest message spikes for each country and compared it to their average messaging rate in the prior week.

Based on this early data, third place would go to the Netherlands, which defeated Spain in a wild contest. Dutch BBM users sent on average 36% more messages per minute during the 5-1 win than they did during the prior week. Many of them were probably one-worders such as hoera (hooray!) or gelukwensen (congratulations!) followed by an appropriate BBM Sticker (thanks to Nadia Novikova in our data team for the charts below).


Second place would go to the Netherlands’ opponent, Spain. Perhaps trying to take the sting out of the Dutch team’s five goals, Spanish fans sent 41% more messages during the game than they normally do.

However, one place is definitely in the lead with the most fanatical football fans as judged by BBM: the United Kingdom. During the Spanish-Netherlands game, UK users (including England, Scotland, Wales AND Northern Ireland-our research couldn’t break it apart by individual country) sent an average of more than half a million messages per minute. That was 50x greater than the average number of messages sent by either Spanish or Dutch BBM users. The excitement of the UK fans clearly grew as the game wore on, peaking as the Netherlands picked up their 5th and final goal:


That interest carried on into England’s own match against Italy, where they were defeated, but not until after fans showed overwhelming support for their team over BBM. During the 2-1 loss, UK BBM usage was 85% greater than normal. Usage peaked with a whopping 2.12 million messages sent at the 37 minute mark when England forward Daniel Sturridge scored to tie with Italy 1-1. To put that into context, there are 63 million people in the UK (53 million in England). Meaning almost one in 30 UK residents – or one in 25 English residents – sent a BBM message at that moment! The sideline chatter continued steadily, but fans were noticeably quieter when Italy pulled ahead with the lead.


Care to take a guess at how many BBM messages the English have sent throughout the tournament so far? These rabid fans have sent billions of BBM messages since the opening game. That’s some serious football chatter!

So far, the top 3 countries in order of total BBM activity since the tournament kicked off:

  1. The United Kingdom
  2. Argentina
  3. Mexico

England will face Uruguay later this week with their hopes high and BBM at the ready to share in the excitement. Do you think your country can knock England from the top of the list? Get chatting and show your country pride with our custom PIN card creator or download your team’s sticker pack from the BBM Shop today!

About Eric Lai