Can Social Media Predict Sports? That’s Madness!

Mar 23, 2017 • Aaron Goldman

At 4C, we’ve proven that social media can predict elections and referendums.

But can the limitless focus group predict winners of sporting events?

Unfortunately, in contrast to popular votes, sport contests are not subject to any sort of democratic process.

Sure, crowds can influence the match but ultimately the fate rests with the athletes themselves.

Bottom line, it’s not the teams with the loudest fans that win. (Although the Cameron Crazies will tell you otherwise.)

As we saw in our March Madness Rounds 1 & 2 Impact Report, Duke rode 383,267 engagements to defeat at the hands of South Carolina and its 57,298.

Sentiment tells another side of the story with the populace clearly siding with the Gamecocks over the Blue Devils.

Social media engagement and positive sentiment in select games of the NCAA Men's Tournament

That said, social media is a pretty good indicator of the momentum behind the teams that did win. In the round of 64, 28 of the 32 winners were the schools that had the highest volume of social engagement.

Social media engagement and positive sentiment in select games of the NCAA Men's Tournament

Again, correlation is not causation. Fans of winning schools are more likely to brag about it with their networks.

Prediction capabilities aside though, these are incredibly valuable insights and being to monitor these trends in real-time can be quite powerful.

Our founder and chief scientist, Dr. Alok Choudhary has used social media to measure everything from weather patterns to disease outbreaks and political revolutions.

For marketers, the use cases range from determining which trending celebrities are the key influencers to which TV commercials are winning.

At the end of the day, social media can be both a great predictor and a great reflector. The key is to know when and how to use the data.

With that in mind, let the madness continue and don’t forget to keep your social bracket handy.

More of 4C’s Insights after the jump.

Read the rest of 4C’s Insights Volume 48 here.

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