How BT Sport used data to tackle the unseen side of online hate

Reflecting the obsession with stats in sport, BT Sport dug deep into the data behind the online abuse epidemic to start a nationwide conversation about the scale of unseen hate.

BT Sport MW Awards
Source: BT Sport

In 2021, online abuse in sport had reached disturbing levels. With Premier League stars receiving death threats for one bad pass, what about the unseen side of hate online?

BT Sport decided to tackle the issue head on. Teaming up with Wunderman Thompson and online abuse charity Glitch, the brand wanted to pin down the spectrum of online abuse, much of which goes unnoticed.

The marketers saw an opportunity to tap into the obsession with data in sport to expose the online abuse epidemic via new campaign ‘The Unseen Stats’.

The team built an AI engine to dissect abuse, combining these outputs with a national online abuse survey created by YouGov, which revealed the issue was worse than imagined. BT Sport shared the unseen stats on social, via PR and influencers, and on its live sports channel, creating a 10-minute segment to unpack the detail.

The brand also co-created educational content with Glitch – highlighting its ‘Spot. Report. Support.’ call to action. BT Sport then released The Black and Whitepaper, a 77-page dossier sent to 100,000 BT staff which became the basis of its new anti-online abuse policy.

The campaign led to a 25% reduction in abuse on Twitter over the launch weekend, while more than 500 pieces of online abuse were reported or removed from BT social channels. Some £800,000 was generated in earned media, spanning 1,000 pieces of multimedia coverage and 486 press articles.

BT customers were 1.3 times more likely to consider online and face-to-face abuse equally serious, results which helped BT Sport scoop the Marketing Week Award for Data-Driven Marketing.



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