What an amazing Memorial Day weekend of sports. With all of the social media chatter around hard-fought NBA and NHL playoff series, it was easy to overlook one of the biggest (and most historic) events of the year: the Indy 500.
From the pre-race festivities to the milk dunking victory lane, it was another race to remember. So, let’s start our engines and drive into the social data!
From Friday, May 23rd through Monday, May 27th there were over 290,000 mentions of the race across social channels, news, and blogs. Unsurprisingly, Twitter and Instagram represented the bulk of these mentions.
For sporting events that come and go, we typically see a very quick jump in mentions during the event, and then a substantial dip shortly thereafter. This leads to a bell-shaped curve when looking at mentions over time. What’s interesting is how the tails of the curve are pulled on either side.
For the Indianapolis 500, we see a limited rise in mentions leading up to the event – with only 30,000 mentions in the three days leading up to the event. However, we saw 60,000 mentions in the two days following the race, mostly around Simon Pagenaud’s first win in Indianapolis.
As expected, the most mentioned athletes were those who topped leaderboard or pre-race favorites who fell short. Pagenaud and Alexander Rossi traded the lead all day, so it was no surprise to see them on top of the mentions leaderboard as well.
While it was a split-second victory on the race track, Pagenaud came away with over 20,000 more mentions than the next closest driver. After doing several of these data studies over the past couple of years, it’s clear that people always talk about winner, even controversial ones (looking at you, Country House). This is a basic-but-important lesson for brands that sponsor sporting events — there will be more eyeballs on your brand logo the closer your athletes or teams are to winning.
This was an interesting experiment that we decided to look at; which car brands got the most mentions? Honda pulled ahead with a little under 500 more mentions than Chevrolet.
Our analysis shows that most of these mentions are of the actual cars in the race, rather than critiques on the brands themselves. Many of these mentions included pictures of the cars with the brands’ logos. This is great brand awareness for these companies and any others that may be trying to enter the market. Part of the conversations around Honda surrounded a rumored meeting with NASCAR officials this past weekend to put some of the company’s cars on the track. We’ll have to wait and see how that plays out.
➖ Scope of meeting unknown.
➖ NASCAR and Honda declined comment. pic.twitter.com/ibg1xLlxRe
— Adam Stern (@A_S12) May 29, 2019
As the summer rolls on, be on the lookout for more coverage of popular sporting events and social media stats from Sprinklr.
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