The world of sports is no stranger to social media, which has changed the way many industries approach marketing. Online engagement has had a major impact on how fans interact with athletes, sporting organizations, and teams.

According to recent data, more than 80 percent of sports fans interact with social media sites while watching games on TV, and more than 60 percent do so while watching live events.

It isn’t just the sport itself that’s garnering a lot of attention, players are reaping the benefits as well. More than 9,000 people per second tweeted about Tim Tebow after he threw an unexpected touchdown pass during last season’s NFL Playoffs.

New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin gained more than 550,000 followers in a single month earlier this year. Soccer stars Kaka and Ronaldo have also leveraged their reach to become the two most followed athletes on Twitter.

In recent years, sports teams and athletic departments have had to take social media into account when creating budgets — not just much for marketing, but also to monitor their athletes. Last year, Tiger Woods turned to Twitter for an online Q&A session with his followers. This earned the golf star a great deal of praise for authenticity and fan engagement.

Additional information about how social media has previously integrated with sports can be found in the inforgraphic below. Sporting tape company KT Tape compiled data from The Wall Street Journal,,, and other sources. These examples can help you decide how to best work social media into your existing strategies.

[Via: AllTwitter, Image credit: Roscoe Ellis]