Barcelona and Chelsea set Twitter record as semi-final edges out Super Bowl for most tweets per second

Barcelona FC's stadim Camp Nou - the scene of Chelsea's dramatic victory over BarcelonaThe dramatic finish to the second leg of the Chelsea v Barcelona Champions League semi final did not only light up television screens around the world it set a new record on Twitter.

As football beat out the NFL’s Super Bowl to become the biggest sporting event on Twitter and set a new tweets per second record. I’m guessing many were surprised that Fernando Torres had scored a goal at Camp Nou to seal Chelsea’s victory – having scored only a handful since September 2011.

Torres scored a lone goal in extra time, which gave Chelsea a 2–2 draw, and eliminated Barcelona from the tournament, as Chelsea won 3–2 on aggregate.

Twitter said tweets during the game peaked at 13,684 per second, which was enough to beat the previous record for a sporting event set by the NFL in the US.

That had been set only earlier this year at the Super Bowl, which saw the New York Giants beat New England Patriots 21-17. As with Chelsea’s last minute winner the Giants scored a touchdown with less than a minute remaining.

Super Bowl XLVI on February 5 set a record of 12,233 tweets per second and racked up a total of 13.7 million tweets although as yet no word on how many tweets in total were set during the Chelsea v Barcelona game.

Football (that’s soccer to some of you) has a good track record on Twitter when it comes to setting new records.

The Women’s World Cup Final last summer grabbed four of the ten Twitter Top Trends and managed to set a Twitter record of its own.

The end of the #WWC final saw 7196 tweets per second. That easily beat tweets around the raid that put an end to Osama Bin Laden. That announcement by President Obama racked up just over 5,000 tweets per second, but women’s football soared passed that by more than 2,000 tweets.

That record was then beaten in January when the NFL passed women’s soccer as reaction to the 80-yard overtime touchdown pass by the Denver Broncos quarterback, Tim Tebow, hit 9,420 tweets per second.

The touchdown, which was scored in overtime, by the Denver Broncos player, led his team to victory and an upset against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

We’ve come along way since that. It is less than a year, but the volume of tweets has almost doubled leaping from 7196 last summer to almost 14,000 this spring.

However, that said football and the NFL still have a way to go before they beat the online buzz generated by Japanese anime movie ‘Castle in the Sky’ on December 9.

Twitter said that ‘Castle in the Sky’ set a still unbroken world record of 25,088 tweets per second during the annual television screening of the 25-year-old animated film by director Hayao Miyazaki. That’s right a 25-year old movie. It would never happen anywhere else as viewers responded en masse to a challenge to use social networks to type the word “balse” and help characters Pazu and Sheeta cast a spell during the film.

Chelsea will play Bayern Munich, after the German club beat Real Madrid, in the Champions League final on May 19.