Last weekend we saw one of the most important European sporting events take place at Wembley stadium, the UEFA Champions League final. The match is the pinnacle of European club football, watched by more people worldwide than the Super Bowl. The match saw what is arguably one of the best football teams ever, Barcelona, take on and beat Manchester United 3:1.

It wasn't the most nail-biting of contests on the pitch but off the pitch there was much hype about the social media landscape surrounding such events. Superstar forward Leo Messi has reached massive fan numbers over a short period of time and many people were drawing parallels with the recent NFL Super Bowl.

Using Sysomos MAP we analysed the conversations taking place on the day of the final, mostly on Twitter, to understand both the scale of the event and to see which team/ players were the most mentioned. We put Barcelona as clear social media winners, but only at 2:1.

We Are Social UEFA Champions League Final social media cup

On the day of the final Barcelona was mentioned on Twitter a total of 575,104 times vs. 251,829 times for Manchester United : A 2:1 victory to Barcelona.

The two star players saw similar results (2:1), with Lionel Messi receiving 121,750 mentions on Twitter compared to 51,757 for Wayne Rooney.

Facebook put the score at 3:1 after announcing that Leo Messi received three time more mentions on public Facebook updates than Wayne Rooney.

The Facebook club page landscape however was more closely tied at 1:1. Barcelona’s page had the slight edge with 15.2 million fans vs. Manchester’s 14.4 million but on the night both fan pages saw huge levels of fan “Likes” and “Comments” as a result of team updates. Manchester United posted 5 updates throughout the day receiving 303,955 fan reactions whereas Barcelona, who posted 2 updates, received 116,663 fan reactions (roughly 60,000 reactions per update for both pages).

Finally, whilst the Champions League final was clearly an important Twitter sporting moment of 2011 the Super Bowl remains king. On the day of the Super Bowl we estimate that over 2.2 million explicit mentions of the game were sent via Twitter compared to 600,000 for the Champions league final.

For such a large event there are many other interesting stories to tell, such as branded conversations successfully engaging with fans or the effectiveness of social media check-in campaigns - but for now, we all like an infographic :).

Feel free to share your thoughts...