The World Series Lags Behind Other Sports’ Finals

The 2016 World Series is coming to a close starring two teams that haven’t seen a World Series championship in 65+ years, the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians. Fans of both teams are clearly excited about the possibility of ending this drought. We took a look at conversation volume, age, location, and sentiment to understand how important the World Series really is to these fans and who is talking about each team online.
Conversation volume for both teams was fairly consistent throughout July-September as playoff season approached. From July 1st through the present day, the Chicago Cubs generated more daily conversation volume than the Cleveland Indians, except for three occasions.
Why do the Cubs have nearly double the volume as the Indians? Are there more Cubs fans? Is their 107 year drought more important than the Indians 67 year drought? Perhaps there are more bandwagon fans jumping on board for Chicago?
To answer these questions we looked at overall sentiment for these teams, alongside which states were most likely to discuss the Cubs and Indians.
Despite lower conversation volume, the Cleveland Indians have a much more positive sentiment than the Chicago Cubs, with nearly ⅔ of Indian fans supporting their team while only ½ support the Cubs.
Perhaps the “believe-land” slogan from the Cleveland Cavaliers historic 2016 NBA win has penetrated into the positive sentiment for Cleveland Indians fans. Perhaps the Chicago Cubs fans were still devastated by their 2015 NCLS 0-4 loss to the New York Mets, and so their fans are more wary this time around. However, when we compared the Cubs’ 2015 October volume to their October 2016 volume, 2016 had 2x more conversation volume than 2015.
Unsurprisingly, for both teams men between 18-44 are driving the conversation. While the demographics are similar, the top 5 states discussing the Cubs differ from the top 5 states discussing the Indians.
According to our data, this is a true Mid-West battle, with some big conversation spikes in Florida, Texas, and California, all of which are big baseball states. Over 50% of conversation about the Indians is coming out of Ohio, while Illinois has less than 50% for the Cubs. We also compared the conversation volume to the 2015 Mets vs. Royals World Series. Similar to the Cubs, the New York Mets had consistently high spikes in volume, perhaps due to the similar bandwagon phenomenon. The Kansas City Royals had relatively low online conversation volume until they won the World Series, generating a massive spike from these Missouri-based fans.
Lastly, we compared the conversation volume surrounding the NBA Finals and Super Bowl to the World Series. We found a drastic difference, with the World Series generating relatively low volume. In fact, only the teams in the World Series generate conversation volume. Unlike Football and Basketball, Baseball seems to be more of a “home team” and “home state” sport rather than a Sports spectacle. We saw this demonstrated with the Kansas City Royals and once again with the Cleveland Indians. Perhaps Ohio-native and NBA all-star, Lebron James is right when he says “It’s Cleveland Against the World.”
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