People love sport. Perhaps it’s the latent early-human instinct in us that made us group into tribes and fight little wars. But even the people who say they hate sports know who won or lost the big game. It’s a cultural thing that crosses boundaries.
Take America, for instance. There are hockey teams, NFL Teams, baseball teams, and basketball teams, where every single play basically becomes a national event. You see these athletes in commercials, on billboards, in magazines. They become cultural figures that transcend their sport. And in the age of constant miracles we live in today, you can also follow your favorite athletes on social media.
Social presence means brand value
Cristiano Ronaldo is a great example. The global football star has been a social media pioneer for athletes. He was the first athlete to get 100 million followers on Facebook in 2014. In February he became the first athlete to have 200 million followers across three social media platforms.
The baby-faced, 31-year-old footballer has the kind of social media presence that many corporations would kill for. There is no question that Cristiano Ronaldo is the top sports figure on social media today. But what about the hundreds of thousands of other professional athletes that are brands unto themselves?
Brandtix analyzes athlete brand value on social media
It’s this question that always gets us excited to see what our partner Brandtix is working on.The London-based company delivers the world’s most sophisticated platform for analyzing athlete brand value in real-time.
The purpose of Brandtix is to give football clubs and players a specific and realtime value based on playing performance and off-field digital activity; namely social media and digital reach, alongside fan sentiment. Our platform provides a completely new ‘one stop shop’ for holistic insights into player and team values, doing so in real time. The partnership with Lexalytics is a significant one, as fan sentiment analysis forms part of our data to give our platform a key differential.
The challenge of natural language
Working with Brandtix is exciting for a bunch of reasons. First, there’s the technical challenge. Sports-talk and slang on social media can often seem like another language. These confusing terms make for a tricky sentiment analysis challenge.
For example, consider the phrase, “That long bomb was sick!”
In most contexts, the words “bomb” and “sick” usually aren’t very nice and should score negatively.
In the context of soccer, however, this is a very positive phrase and should receive an appropriate sentiment score.
Social listening delivers value
By listening directly to what fans are saying on social media, Brandtix helps their clients understand the complex social and fan dynamics of sports teams.
Consider the football striker or hockey defenseman who has mediocre stats and not much press coverage. This athlete probably won’t have many brand endorsements.
Yet, if he or she has a strong social media presence and a devoted fan base, they may have as much influence as the guy with big-money contracts and endorsements.
That’s why we love partnerships with companies like Brandtix. Each athlete provides a new challenge to tackle. Working together, we find new ways to bring voice of customer (the everyday fans) into the conversation.