It’s official; we now know which two teams are headed to the NBA Finals. As of Wednesday night the Golden State Warriors clinched their chance to play against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who secured their spot in the NBA Finals a few days earlier.
This series is going to be quite interesting for basketball fans to watch as the Warriors were arguably the best team in the NBA over the 2014-15 season while the Cavaliers, with an all-star lineup, are one of the most popular NBA teams. This is bound to be a heated matchup.
While basketball reporters and analysts are already starting to make their predictions on who’s going to walk away as the champions once the series kicks off on June 4th, we decided to take a different approach to choosing a winner by using our Sysomos social intelligence software to see who the world favors based on social media chatter.
We started by comparing the share of voice between the Warriors and the Cavs over the course of the 2014-2015 NBA season up to this morning. We mentioned above that Cleveland was probably the most popular team currently in the NBA and looking at the share of voice between them and Golden State helps to make that very apparent. From October 18th up to May 29th the Cavaliers have been mentioned over 12 million times across social media channels. At the same time, the Warriors have only been mentioned 5.2 million times.
And it’s not that the Cavaliers have been favored on one channel that threw them into such a major lead as we’ve sometimes seen before. When we broke down the mentions of each team across the different channels we found that Cleveland had a greater share of voice than the Warriors on every channel. On blogs, the difference in mentions of the teams was around 30,000 mentions, and that was the social channel where the two teams were the closest in terms of number of mentions. In forums, the Cavs were mentioned over 150,000 more times than the Warriors, while on Twitter the difference was nearly 7 million.
We then decided to see if the difference came at any specific time during the season. It could have been possible that the Cavaliers ran away with mentions after a stellar playoffs performance. However, when we plotted the mentions of each of the two teams over time we found that the Warriors were consistently discussed less than the Cavs over the entire season. Even when they secured their place in the NBA Finals, Golden State didn’t generate the levels of social media talk as Cleveland did.
Finally, in our quest to determine who the social world thinks is going to walk away as the NBA Finals champs we looked at the sentiment surrounding each team. this is where things got a bit more interesting. While the Cavs did see a much larger portion of mentions over the season, they also seemed to have received more negative mentions than the Warriors. Over the course of the 2014-15 NBA season 23% of the talk about the Cavaliers was positive, but 22% of the talk was also negative. this gave Cleveland an overall 78% favorable rating. On the other side, 50% of all the mentions of the Warriors were positive, while only 9% were deemed negative. This gave Golden state an overall 91% favorable rating.
Overall Sentiment for the Cleveland Cavaliers
Overall Sentiment for the Golden State Warriors
Based on what we’ve seen above it’s obvious that the Cavaliers are clearly the fan favorite in this matchup. Despite having a better favorable rating, likely because of their phenomenal playing over the season, the Warriors just don’t seem to have the same amount of people behind them to take the championship.
We’re making the official call of the Cleveland Calvaliers as being the fan favourite to win the NBA Finals this year.
But what about the star players?
Both the Warriors and the Cavaliers have some stellar players, but one on each team seems to stick out to most fans; Stephen Curry and Lebron James. As an added bonus to our analysis we wondered which of these two NBA stars was more popular with the fans. Each is a phenomenal player and both are recognized as such. However, when we did a share of voice analysis around mentions of Curry and James, we again found that one had run away with the recognition of being a fan favorite. Across social media channels we found Stephen Curry mentioned 7.2 million times over the course of the season, but Lebron James dominated him by over 10 million mentions, racking up an astounding 17.7 million mentions.
We guess there’s a reason they call him “King” James.