Thursday, May 9th, 2019 | 7 min read
As always, the NFL draft was full of player stats and analysis, and wild guesses at which teams drafted better than others. And while we love Mel Kiper Jr.’s bold prognostications as much as the next guy, we wanted an analysis of what happened across the internet.
How much hype did each team and player draw across the social media landscape? How did armchair analysts feel about their teams’ picks? And what specific topics drove the three days of chatter?
Using Sprinklr Research, we analyzed topics across all modern channels to turn a wealth of unstructured data into valuable insights. Here are some of the most interesting things we found.
The week of the draft drew almost two million mentions of the topic and had a reach of over 29 billion message views. There was a slow rise in volume leading up to the week, with the first day of the draft seeing the largest volume of mentions at nearly 700,000.
To put that into perspective, March Madness peaked at around 755,000 daily mentions this year and Sunday at the Masters only saw roughly 250,000 mentions. Simply put, people care about football even when there isn’t any football being played.
As expected, Twitter was the dominant channel for draft discussions, accounting for over 1.7 million of the 2 million mentions this year. Twitter is the go-to news source for many people as it consistently overtakes traditional media and forum sources in terms of volume.
Surprisingly, the New York Giants were the most mentioned team in this year’s draft. Diving into the conversation stream, it appears that a lot of the chatter was about their new quarterback (and somewhat questionable Top-10 pick) Daniel Jones.
Usually, the team that picks first overall generates the most hype, since they’re choosing the best available player. However, the Arizona Cardinals, who picked first overall, were actually the third most mentioned team behind the G-Men and the New England Patriots, who had the final pick in the first round. Here are some thoughts:
All mentions are not equal. Using Sprinklr Intuition (our artificial intelligence engine), we found that the New England Patriots gained the most positive mentions, followed by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Even though the Patriots were the last team to pick in the first round, they garnered a ton of attention. I would call this the championship effect. There is no way of knowing how great these picks are now, but because the Patriots are Super Bowl champions, confidence is high. Either way, it’s clear that Patriot fans are as crazy about their team as we all thought.
Of the top 50 prospects in the draft, Nick Bosa was the most mentioned player. After being drafted second overall to the San Francisco 49ers, Bosa blew up across the internet with 115,000 mentions. He’s already pretty active on social, so this makes sense. Usually, it’s the top picks who gets the most attention; this time, however, the first overall selection, Kyler Murray, was the second most mentioned player, with nearly 95,000 mentions.
This year’s first round prospects were considered to be defense-heavy, but during draft week, Quarterback and wide receiver were the most talked about positions. It appears that offense rules on the field and online.
Something new that we tried out for this year’s draft was looking at the player attributes that got the most attention online. We narrowed it down to four categories and created keyword lists to pull in all conversations around them – football IQ, speed, size, and strength.
Size ended up being the most talked about attribute with 21,000 mentions, narrowly beating out speed. However, when analyzing the sentiment of these four attributes, size also had the most negative mentions. So while size may be driving conversation about players on social, it appears that lack of size may be driving that — both in lack of weight or lack of height.
Speed ended up being the most positively mentioned attribute. This is really interesting to me. Why do fans tend to rag more on a player’s size than their speed? Why are fans talking more about how fast prospects are than how smart they are? It could be that fans are biased in their evaluation of talent, but obviously more research is needed here.
As the football season kicks off in September, be sure to check back for more social media insights!
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