Football-Themed Negative Sentiment Analysis: NY Giants & NE Patriots Fans in Super Bowl XLVI

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Path Interactive Examines the Negative Chatter on Social Sites Leading up to the Super Bowl.

With Super Bowl Sunday coming up in just a few days, the Path Interactive office decided to take a look at the conversations happening around the big Super Bowl game and analyze exactly how well each team’s fan base talks trash. A complete report will be available on the Path Interactive Blog on Friday, Feb, 3rd.

To do this, Path began a study in the week leading up to Super Bowl XLVI by examining conversations on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, forums, news sites, and other social hubs. We specifically were interested in how much (and how brutally) fans from each East Coast team talked down to each other.

We began by identifying the most common insults, and it turns out the most common football insults were pretty predictable. “Suck,” “lose,” “beat,” “hate,” as well as a few choice four-letter words turn out to be the most common themes in sports-themed internet hatred, so we formulated a survey that looked for each team’s name in conjunction with these specific negative word associations. Also included in our net were team-specific put-downs, such as fans calling the New England Patriots the “Patsies,” or the New York Giants the “Midgets.”

Formulating this language-based social media study turned out to be challenging, because most fans tend to mention both teams in the same sentence along with at least one negative keyword. This makes it hard to filter negative sentiments aimed towards one specific team – comments like “Patriots suck! Giants will win!” looks similar in search to “Giants suck! Patriots will win!” This makes it crucial to accurately define the ordering of keywords in these queries.

It also turns out that quite a few people aren’t excited to watch either team in the Super Bowl. We saw quite a few angry commenters voicing their complaints that the Cowboys, 49ers, or Packers weren’t in the Super Bowl. (We decided to count equal-opportunity trash-talkers for the purposes of our social media study.)

On Day 1 of our study (7 days before Superbowl Sunday), both fan bases were sounding off with equal passion. As of Sunday, 1/29, Patriots fans appeared to have a slight edge with ONE extra negative comment to take the win. Vengeful Patriots fans seem to take to Twitter more than Giants fans, while more ruthless Giants fans than Patriots use Facebook.

On Day 2 of our study (Monday, 1/30), Patriots fans turned up the hate. Day 2 had the Patriots fan base leading the negative commentary by a wider margin than Monday’s analysis, with 128 Giants bashing comments vs. 99 Patriots bashing comments.

Path Interactive’s Social Media Marketing team will be following negative sentiment surrounding Super Bowl XLVI throughout the week with ongoing social media insight s. Follow the Path Interactive Blog to watch how the insults fly between East coast football fans this week!

About Path Interactive:

Path Interactive is a dynamic search marketing company that brings online marketing to the next level. Founded in early 2005, Path brings a unique approach to pay−per−click search management and organic website optimization. Our marketing team draws its strength from a diverse mix of media professionals, whose expertise spans both the traditional and electronic media as well as experience in both local and national markets.

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Ruben Quinones
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