Social Media Catching Baseball Fan Sentiment

IBM and the University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg Innovation Lab (AIL) announced Wednesday a new social media analysis project focused on Major League Baseball during the World Series.

The USC Annenberg Social Sentiment Index is being compiled by students and relies on IBM Social Analytics technology to analyze millions of tweets in order to assess public social media engagement and opinion from sports and film to retail and fashion.

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USC students have done an initial analysis of the National League Championship Series (NLCS), and will now broaden the index to follow the World Series games to determine “social media MVPs.”

The goal is to uncover hidden insights from Twitter followers that could help better understand player and team sentiment, and illustrate how advanced analytics technologies can help identify important trends.

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The students have used the technology for an initial test of more than 1.5 million public baseball-related tweets during the National League Championship Series, gauging positive and negative nuances and establishing overall sentiment rankings among a sampling of NLCS players.

Initial index findings show:

The Cardinals’ Chris Carpenter garnered the highest number of tweets indicating sentiment at 1,573 — 61.4 percent positive and 21.6 percent negative.

However, fellow Cardinal David Freese, a fan favorite and official NLCS MVP of the pennant race, garnered 768 tweets; 89.3 percent of his tweets were positive and only 15.4 percent negative; securing one of the highest ‘T’ scores – winner of the most uniformly positive tweets.

The Texas Rangers are winning the Twitter buzz battle: the American League’s social media champion was the focus of more than 56,600 tweets – five times more than the St. Louis Cardinals — with 79 percent of the tweets being positive.

While the Cardinals are behind in the number of postings, they have matched the Rangers’ level of enthusiasm in their tweets. St. Louis garnered 11,500 tweets, 80 percent of which were upbeat.

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The USC Annenberg Social Sentiment Index enables students to define areas of research and use IBM Social Analytics technology to explore how it can be used by organizations from news outlets and journalists to movie studios and film marketers to better understand, respond, and predict public sentiment.

To date, IBM says, the Index has been applied to film forecasting in order to accurately predict movie blockbuster success rates, and most recently was used by students to identify top trends for retailers from the New York Fashion Week shows. 

The USC Annenberg Social Sentiment Index on baseball is being conducted as part of the 2011 IBM Information on Demand and Business Analytics Forum taking place in Las Vegas, October 23-27.

The index on baseball will be updated during the World Series on asmarterplanet.com to illustrate the ongoing shifts in fan sentiment throughout the series.

Photo courtesy: IBM

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