The World Series was one for the record books. Audiences tuned-in to watch the cursed Chicago Cubs battle the Cleveland Indians in a dramatic series. Down 3 games to 1 in a best of 7 series, the Cubs staved off defeat and won 3 straight to break the curse and become World Champions.
The 108-year championship drought for the Cubs grew into a American myth that resonated with baseball fans and non-fans alike. Throughout the playoffs, people rallied behind the Cubs. Chicago’s team bested Cleveland in social engagements in the post-season and in all 7 games of the World Series but 1.
Only after Game 4 when Cleveland took a 3 to 1 lead in the series did the Indians receive more engagements and higher sentiment than the Cubs.
Generally, people have been optimistic about the Cubs’ chances to break its championship drought. Average sentiment for the Cubs during the World Series was 79% compared to 74% for the Indians. Sentiment for the Cubs peaked during Game 2 at 86% revealing fans became slightly more apprehensive later in the series.
Massive audiences tuned-in to see if this would be the Cubs’ year and the final game did not disappoint. Tied after regulation, an extra inning was required to decide the outcome.
Social sentiment visualizes the dramatic Game 7 with many turning points where the balance shifted. Fowler’s leadoff home run gave the Cubs momentum early in the game. A key juncture was when a wild pitch scored 2 runs for Cleveland, however Indians fans remained uneasy as Chicago retained a 2-run lead.
While Cleveland had the lead in terms of positive sentiment during the 9th inning once rain delayed the required extra innings, their fans became worried about what was to come. Cleveland recorded its lowest sentiment at 37% while Chicago fans were more positive in the moment with 55% sentiment.
Ultimately, audiences were left happy, and Cleveland fans were good sports at the conclusion of the World Series. Both teams achieved sentiments above 80% when the game ended.
Many brands sought to take advantage of attentive audiences during the World Series. Chevrolet, Apple, and Taco Bell were the most present TV advertisers during the final series.
Which fans did Taco Bell have the strongest connection to? Our Social Affinity Index reveals that during the postseason people engaging with Taco Bell were nearly 1.4X more likely to engage with the Cleveland Indians while those interested in AT&T, the 5th highest TV advertiser in terms of minutes, were nearly 1.4X more likely to engage with the Chicago Cubs.
Official MLB sponsor Bank of American had a strong connection to both teams. The bank ranked first in terms of social affinity index for the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians.
The 2016 World Series demonstrates the power of story in the way people united around the Chicago Cubs. The thrilling comeback and dramatic finish will become a part of Cubs lore and reminds us of the influence of TV for shared media experiences.
Across 4C we’re sharing the moment with everyone from our Chicago headquarters.