PUBLISHED: Feb 2, 2012 3 min read

Tom Brady and Eli Manning: Stars of the #SuperBowl Social Sphere

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray

Group Director, SEO & Digital Content

More Super Bowl XLVI Sentiment Analysis

We’re taking a mid-week break from all the negativity in our Super Bowl sentiment analysis to take a closer look at how fans are talking about their (or their rival) team players.

We focused on individual players today because most of our negative sentiment monitoring for the past few days has revealed that when fans sound off about a rival team, they often single out one of the team’s players. In fact, sometimes the existence of that player can be the sole reason they hate the other team.

hate-tom-bradyWe started today by weighing which players were talked about most consistently. To do this, we created a search that included the every player from each team’s active roster (including special teams). We also included a few common nickname variations (for instance, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski often goes by “Gronk”). In total, we surveyed the social buzz around 108 players.

The first thing we noticed? Patriots players are far more buzz-worthy than Giants players.

Super Bowl Sentiment Analysis - Player MentionsIn just one day (Tuesday, January 31), there were 112,637 mentions of New England Patriots team members, 70% of which were on Twitter alone. By comparison, New York Giants team members received only 31,430 mentions during the same time frame. Patriots players enjoy 3.5 times more conversations than their New York counterparts!

So we can surmise from these findings that while fans tend to bash each other’s teams at much more comparable rates, overall mention rates (positive and negative) for the players themselves are drastically different. It’s also interesting to note that Twitter plays a much larger role when discussing players themselves, compared to the teams as a whole.

Using the Radian6 monitoring tool, we then created word clouds to illustrate the conversation subjects around each team’s player roster over the past 3 days (since we began this sentiment analysis). With these word clouds, it was pretty clear which team members featured most in the many tweets, blogs, status updates, and discussions of Super Bowl fans:

Super Bowl Sentiment Anaylis - Patriots Players
New England Patriots players
Super Bowl Sentiment Analysis - Giants Players
New York Giants players

For the New England Patriots, who own most of the social conversations, quarterback Tom Brady is the obvious dominating topic. Other Patriots players with notable buzz were tight end Rob Gronkowski, wide receivers Wes Welker and Chad Ochocinco, and linebacker Dane Fletcher.

For the New York Giants, conversations generally centered around quarterback Eli Manning, wide receiver Victor Cruz, running back Ahmad Bradshaw, defensive end Osi Umenyiora, and running back Brandon Jacobs.

From this data we can infer that in general, the two quarterbacks of each team are making up the bulk of social conversations. (This isn’t surprising, since quarterbacks tend to be the driving force and personality behind every football team. It’s not uncommon for them to become lighting rods for fans’ ire.)

Tomorrow we’ll be measuring Super Bowl sentiments around quarterbacks Tom Brady and Eli Manning, the most popular alternative team members (as deduced from today’s study) Ron Gronkowski and Victor Cruz, and the coaches of each team. Our bet: as team figureheads, quarterbacks and their coaches will endure the harshest abuse as the Super Bowl draws closer. Stay tuned!

Day 4: In Pre-#SuperBowl Social Buzz, Brady-Bashing Getting Out of Hand

Follow @AmsiveDigital or @sarahvnyc to see the latest on our study of the Super Bowl haterade parade.