Detroit Social Media Data: Detroit Sports Teams and Facebook in 2017
By: Alex Macksoud
2017 was a relatively humdrum year for Detroit’s professional sports teams, as none of the four teams – Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions or Detroit Pistons – made it to the playoffs.
But if there’s one thing Detroit sports has going for it, it’s passion. Through thick and (mostly) thin, fans have always been loyal to their city, and it showed in the level of following and engagement on each team’s Facebook page.
Leveraging Identity’s preferred social listening and analytics platform, NetBase, we dug into the Facebook data surrounding all four Detroit sports teams.
In 2017, across all four Detroit sports teams’ Facebook pages, there were approximately 923,829 mentions (engagements) – including reactions, comments and shares.
Here is a breakdown of activity taking place on each of the four Detroit sports teams’ Facebook pages in 2017.
Detroit Lions Social Media Conversation Analysis
The Detroit Lions received approximately 288,269 mentions on their Facebook page in 2017 – making up 31% of all mentions for Detroit sports teams’ Facebook pages.
Unsurprisingly, chatter on the Detroit Lions Facebook page spiked once the season kicked off in the fall and remained consistent through the end of the year, with jumps in mentions each game day. There was also a small boost in the spring following the 2017 NFL Draft.
For each positive mention posted on the Detroit Lions’ Facebook page, there was a negative mention that mirrored it – a testament to the team’s 9-7 record. This is shown in a word cloud breaking down the most popular emotional terms relayed on their page during the season:
If you think young men were the most popular group voicing their (dis)pleasure with the Lions’ 2017 season, think again. While men were the most dominant group, creating 88% of posts to women’s 12%, an astounding 53% of posts to the Detroit Lions Facebook page were made by people aged 45-65+ – an interesting observation that shows how much older Facebook’s audience has become.
The top posts on the Detroit Lions’ Facebook page in 2017 came in the first two weeks of the season, in which the Lions went 2-0. They would go on to lose their third game to the Falcons on a technicality.
Detroit Tigers Social Media Conversation Analysis
The Detroit Tigers received approximately 333,538 mentions on their Facebook page in 2017 – making up 36% of all mentions for Detroit sports teams’ Facebook pages.
Unlike the Lions, chatter for the Tigers remained fairly consistent throughout the year, with noticeable declines after their season ended in early October. There was also a big spike in mentions on December 10, with news of Ian Kinsler being traded to the LA Angels.
The top emotion drivers for people posting on the Detroit Tigers’ Facebook page in 2017 were largely positive – or at least more so than the Lions – with negative keywords sprinkled in throughout. With a not-so-great 67-95 record, this positivity is a good indicator of the amount of passion Tigers fans have for their team.
Closing up the gender gap a bit compared to the Lions, men made up 73% of posts last year, compared to women’s 27% – a stat that proves baseball is still America’s pastime. In correlation to the Lions’ main demographic, people aged 45-65+ made up 62% of posts to the Tigers’ Facebook page.
The top posts on the Detroit Tigers’ Facebook page in 2017 included former players Jack Morris and Alan Trammel’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, a repost of Justin Verlander’s farewell video and a selfie repost from Verlander on the Tigers’ opening day.
Detroit Red Wings Social Media Conversation Analysis
2017 was one of the worst seasons in recent memory for the Detroit Red Wings, who finished with a record of 24-25 and missed the playoffs for the second time in a row. It was also their first season in the brand-new Little Caesar’s Arena. The team received approximately 247,164 mentions on their Facebook page last year – making up 27% of all mentions for Detroit sports teams’ pages.
Chatter spiked heavily during the end of the Wings’ 2017 season and picked back up at the start of their 2018 season – with a small jump coming after the draft in June. Additionally, the Wings’ 31% net sentiment – a ratio of positive to negative mentions – was the highest of any Detroit sports team in 2017.
Even in their word cloud containing top emotion drivers, positive feelings far outweighed negative ones – showing that fans still refuse to accept the end of a dynasty in which the Wings made the playoffs 25 years in a row. With so much passion for the team, it still seems fitting to call Detroit, Hockeytown!
Staying true to the demographics of hockey, men made up 79% of posts last year, compared to women’s 21%. And, similar to the interactions on other Detroit sports teams’ pages, people aged 45-65+ made up nearly 50% of posts to the Red Wings’ Facebook page in 2017.
The top posts on the Detroit Red Wings’ Facebook page in 2017 included a farewell video tribute to Joe Louis Arena, a congratulatory post to the Grand Rapids Griffins on their AHL championship, and a feel-good news story about Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg.
Detroit Pistons Social Media Conversation Analysis
The Detroit Pistons had, by far, the lowest crop of mentions on their Facebook page in 2017 – racking up just 54,858. Chatter spiked during the 2017 and 2018 season, as well as the 2018 draft, but never quite picked up any other time – perhaps due to a poor 37-45 season.
In their top emotion drivers word cloud, the Pistons received a pretty even mix of positive and negative – proving that even in a down season, they will still enjoy passionate fans that have their back.
Similar to the Tigers, men made up 72% of posts last year, compared to women’s 28%. Our monitoring tool was not able to aggregate age data for the Pistons in 2017, due to lack of posts to measure.
The top posts on the Detroit Pistons’ Facebook page in 2017 included throwback videos to previous seasons, photos of head coach Van Gundy’s new dog and a message delivered by Detroit native rapper, Eminem to the crowd at opening night.