White paper

Online abuse in sports: Understanding the risks to athletes, fans and brands

Online abuse in sports is rising on social media. A new white paper from Crisp, a Kroll business, examines the impact online abuse has on athlete safety, the fan experience and the brand reputations of sponsors and broadcasters.

The sports risk landscape

Athletes may bear the brunt of abuse in the sports industry, but two out of five Americans (41%) report experiencing online harassment. Everyone has skin in the game to take back control of these fan communities, including the brands that sponsor them.

Risk to athletes

An athlete’s accomplishments are as much a target for abuse as defeats.

Risk to fans

A rise in offensive content shared on brand pages can damage the fan experience and the brand’s reputation.

Risk to brands

Online abuse aimed at brands associated with an athlete or team can lead to backlash and boycotts.

Key findings:

  • Online abuse toward athletes, fans and the brands who sponsor them is intensifying across social media.
  • A small group of instigators and bad actors often account for an outsized portion of the harmful content created.
  • Doing so requires the adoption of an integrated risk intelligence approach rooted in prevention, detection, response and insight.
Preview of the Online abuse in sports white paper

Creating a playbook to protect athletes, fans and brands

Internal social media teams are often outmatched when it comes to combating online abuse. The always-on global nature of social media makes this seem like an overwhelming task. Those charged with protecting athletes online, fan communities and brand-owned social media pages also have the added challenge of distinguishing between fans.

  • Prevention
  • Detection
  • Response
  • Insight