The Euro 2012 continental soccer championship enters its semifinals stage Wednesday morning with a much anticipated match between Spain and Portugal in Donetsk, Ukraine. Italy and Germany will square off in the other semifinal Thursday, and on Sunday the winners of the two matches will compete for European bragging rights over the next four years.
Just who wins the world’s second biggest international soccer tournament remains to be seen — but we already know how the four remaining teams have stacked up in the competition for online buzz thus far.
Social analytics firm Topsy tracked the Euro 2012 chatter on Twitter over the past week to produce the following graphics showing who’s hot, who’s not, when buzz peaks and who’s most popular where.
The first chart shows how the respective conversations surrounding Spain, Portugal, Italy and Germany have ebbed and flowed since June 20. Not surprisingly, each team saw a big boost after its quarterfinal win. But while Portugal and Germany both topped out at just over 200,000 mentions after moving onto the semifinals, Spain — a favorite among many fans for its deep roster and years-long string of international success — was mentioned nearly 300,000 times.
Italy, however, dwarfed the other three semifinalists in peak buzz, at more than 600,000 mentions after its nail-biting penalty kicks win over England, according to Topsy. Could that have been the result of the game’s drama, the English national team’s popularity in the United States, or other factors? We can only guess, but check out the chart below for the full picture.
This next chart shows which teams have snatched the majority of the conversation over just the past couple days, as hype for the semifinals matches reached a crescendo. Spain has dominated the most, which isn’t a shock given the team’s skill and global popularity, and is followed next by Italy. What’s most surprising here is that Germany — which plays an exciting style and many say has emerged as the Euro 2012 team to beat after several strong showings — has captured very little of the conversation among Twitter users.
Our final graphic shows how much each team’s mentions have expressed positive versus negative sentiment worldwide, in the UK and in the United States. Worldwide, Italy — the biggest underdog now to take the title — has attracted far less negative sentiment than the other three remaining teams. In the UK and United States, however, bitterness toward Italy runs high after it knocked England out of the tournament. Check out the full chart below to see where the other three semifinalists are most popular and unpopular.
How have you followed Euro 2012 online? Let us know in the comments.
[Source: Tracking the Euro 2012 Buzz]
So here we offer a complete picture about how the teams’ Facebook activities could point to the Championship victory. For this purpose, we analyzed teams’ overall performance from Matchday 1 (June 8th) until today.
Fact 1: Italy gained 3X more fans than Spain
At the beginning of the Group stage, teams’ chances to gain new Facebook supporters were quite equal. Although Italy entered Matchday 1 with 431 thousands fans and Spain with 316 thousands, both of the teams were gaining approximately 300–400 fans during the first days. However, this trend didn’t continue and Italy finished gaining almost 3 times more fans than Spain.
Fact 2: Nearly 4X as many People are Talking more About Italy as Spain
The People Talking About (PTA) metric shows a similar trend as the Fan Growth. Both teams started almost at the same level of PTA. But throughout the Championship, Italy was more successful in getting more People talking about its team, while the Spanish PTA number remained almost the same.
Fact 3: Posts made by Spain are more engaging than posts made by Italy
Looking at each team’s overall Engagement Rate during the Championship, Spain (0.1657%) was able to engage fans more consistently than Italy (0.1158%).
Spain posted its most engaging photo (0,892%) of the Championship on June 23rd! So how will the Sunday’s FINAL end up? The chances for both nations are equal, so let the best team win!
Twitter users sent more than 15,000 tweets per second when Spain scored its fourth goal in Sunday’s Euro 2012 final, a new sports-related record on the social networking site. Tweets sent about Spain, however, peaked after the team’s second goal.
The previous record for a sporting event was Super Bowl XLVI, which achieved roughly 10,000 tweets per second in its closing moments back in February. (The overall record, 25,000 tweets pers second, came during the screening of the movie Castle in the Sky on Japanese television; see our gallery below for details.)
The goal came at the end of one of the most dominant performances ever by a national soccer team in the final of a major tournament.
Not only did Spain win the match on the field 4-0, but they clearly won the game on Twitter as well.
Nicholas Belmonte, a data visualization scientist at Twitter, created a visual summary of the tournament. The interactive graphic shows how often people mentioned Europe’s top 16 national teams from the group stages onwards.
With the impending Olympic Games in London, it is likely that the record will not hold for long.