A study conducted by Emory Sports Marketing set out to decide which team in the SEC has the most volatile fans, meaning which fan bases ‘live & die’ by their team’s performance on the field.
Emory studied the entire 2012 season and the first five weeks of the 2013 season, and after each game, reactions were collected via tweets from every SEC town for one, two or three days after the game. They measured volatility by analyzing the difference of a fan base’s ‘high’ after a win and a ‘low’ after a loss.
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You can read all the details of the entire study here.
Here’s a snippet:
Thus after each game, we were able to calculate the sentiment of the fan base. We determined on average how positive a fan base was after a win, and how negative they were after a loss. To understand the “volatility” of a fan base, we looked at the delta between the average sentiment after a win and the average sentiment after a loss. In other words, how big is the difference in a fan base’s “high” after a win and “low” after a loss. We believe that this metric best captures “living & dying” by the performance of your team. After computing this metric for each fan base, we determined that LSU has the most “volatile” fans in the SEC.
As stated, it was determined that LSU has the most volatile fan base with a score of 30.8, followed by Ole Miss and Georgia.
Here are the results:
The study drew some interesting conclusions:
We believe that volatility is in part driven by 1) the expectations of the fan base and 2) the expressiveness of the fan base. The top three schools in our rankings seem to get to the top for different reasons. The volatility of LSU & UGA fans is driven more by extreme negativity after losses, whereas the volatility of Ole Miss fans is a function of high levels of happiness after wins.
LSU fans had an extremely negative reaction to the Alabama loss last year and the Georgia loss this year. These fans even had an overall negative reaction to a close WIN over Auburn last year!
UGA fans spewed a lot of vitriol on Twitter after the loss to Clemson this year.
Ole Miss fans, on the other hand, did not have overly negative reactions to losses, and were very positive after wins.
It is interesting to note that the Alabama fan base is at the bottom of the volatility list. Alabama only lost one game during the period of this study (a good reason for publishing this list again next year when we have more data). But, even after wins, the Alabama fan base is not very positive on Twitter. There are several tweets that are critical about the margin of victory. If Alabama does ever go on some type of losing streak in the future (as unlikely as that seems), it will be fascinating to observe the reaction on Twitter.
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