Who Will Win Super Bowl 50? A Social-Data Prediction

football on the field

Jenny Force Jenny Force, VP of Marketing

The big game is mere days away. Who will win? The Panthers? The Broncos? As is tradition for us, we were curious to see how the teams were represented on social media. Why? To see if we can use this data to predict who’s going to walk away a champion. Join us as we look back at how the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos looked through the eyes of social media this year.

Using Sysomos MAP, we compared the two teams across a few different categories. We started by looking at a breakdown of the share of voice between the Broncos and the Panthers since September 10, when the NFL season started. As sown below, we found that the Panthers were mentioned over a million more times than the Broncos, likely due to their amazing season with only 1 loss.

Sysomos MAP - Share of Voice Comparison

Interestingly, when we looked at how those mentions played out over time, you can see that each team got a huge boost on Sundays (and the occasional Monday or Thursday) when they played. That said, the Panthers seemed to create a bit more of a commotion across social channels when they won; as with most weeks, they received a spike in mentions more often than the Broncos.

Sysomos MAP - Popularity Over Time

Next we looked at sentiment around each team. Now, a lot of mentions don’t necessarily mean people are saying good things about a team. In fact, it’s fair to say that as the Panthers and Broncos progressed in their seasons, the fans of opponents likely took to social channels to say some not-so-great things as well. Examining the data, we found that the Broncos received slightly more positive AND negative mentions than the Panthers, who just slightly out-edged their opponents in neutral mentions.

Sysomos MAP - Sentiment Comparison

Although every fan has their own favorite team to root for, they only have two options when it comes to Super Bowl Sunday. Thus, we ran the same searches from above – but this time from January 24, the last day of the NFL playoffs (when we learned the Panthers and Broncos were headed to the big game) to today. Once again, we found that the Panthers had been mentioned more times across social channels than the Broncos. However, it’s worth noting that the Broncos were talked about more on the 24th, when they beat the Patriots to secure their spot in the Super Bowl, but as time went on, the Panthers seemed to be talked about more.

Sysomos MAP - Share of Voice Comparison

Sysomos MAP - Popularity Over Time Comparison

When we looked at sentiment over the past two weeks, activity looked a lot like it did over the season as a whole, with the Broncos slightly leading the Panthers in terms of both positive and negative mentions across social.

Sysomos MAP - Sentiment Comparison

For a little more insight, we also took a look at what was being said about each of these teams on Facebook using our all new Sysomos Scout platform. Because Facebook topic data only allows us to look forwards in time, we looked at the past week worth of data (shown below). In contrast to the findings above, Facebook showed a bit of a different story. Here, the Broncos were almost consistently talked about more than the Panthers.

Sysomos Scout - Activity Comparison

And when we looked at the sentiment around each of these teams on Facebook, we found that Broncos mentions greatly outnumbering the Panthers in terms of positivity. They were also outnumbered in terms of negative mentions, but not nearly as much.

Sysomos Scout - Sentiment Comparison

Who led the charge in terms of variety? The Broncos dominated in almost every form of Facebook post available: links, photos, text posts, and even re-shares.

Sysomos Scout - Compare Media Types

Now comes the hard part… making sense of all this data for a prediction.

Looking back through all this data, it’s a bit difficult to pick a winner. For one, the Panthers seemed to generate more conversation across most social media channels, but the Broncos were talked about more on Facebook. How do you choose? We decided to use sentiment as our guide – so while the Broncos took the lead in negative mentions, they also took the crown in quantity of positive mentions across all platforms.

Thus: we predict that the Denver Broncos are going to see victory on Sunday, giving Peyton Manning one more ring to add to his finger before he reportedly hangs up his towel for good (or so it’s predicted anyways).

Oh, and sorry for this prediction to the fine folks in Sysomos’ Raleigh office. We had to go with what the data was telling us.

What do you think? Who do you think is going to win Super Bowl 50? And why? Let us know in the comments.

Play on!


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