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NFL Social Media Conversation Shows Superfan Solidarity

The NFL social media conversation shows lots of superfan solidarity, with people packing the stands as capacity limits allow. How is the NFL handling this all so expertly? Social listening combined with social media monitoring offers clues . . .

The social atmosphere is a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows, and the NFL understands how to walk these lines gracefully. We’ll explore how they manage using consumer and market intelligence and break down conversation around:

  • Reopening football season
  • What consumers want and what they’re concerned about
  • Amplifying consumer excitement to enhance brand loyalty

Some ‘online’ and sports stats to keep in mind right now:

  • There are 4.2 billion people online and social listening offers access to them
  • 1 M news articles are published every 24 hours – making market research equally important as social listening to consumers
  • 42% of tailgaters spend over $500 a season on food and supplies

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NFL Reopening Conversation

After waiting what has seemed like years, and a lot of “will it, won’t it” talk, fans finally got a taste of football season this past month. Although it’s been a rocky climb, a little bit of football brings everyone together, even when they have to stay 6 feet apart.

Superfans of the NFL are buzzing and market intelligence highlights what’s on their mind.

NFL-network-map-showing-superfan-conversation

Conversations (above) run the gambit from talk of the 67 NFL players that withdrew due to Coronavirus concerns, to NFL Fans Allowed in Stadium to cheer their favorite team and players. We see the Patriots have been highly praised for waving parking fees at the Gillette Stadium, as well as for switching to mobile ticketing only and investigating the use of “pods” to encourage social distancing.

The Quid product’s timeline enables brands to spot conversation shifts. And with 1.1 M news articles published every 24 hours, it’s important to monitor for shifts regularly:

top-12-NFL-superfan-conversations

The last three months have seen a lot of change. NFL Players Opt-out saw the most mentions between July and mid-August. Since kick-off however, this talk has evened and out and though there are still questions around COVID-19, we see attention shift to NFL Players Highlights and Football Players Rankings with talk around Ryan Fitzpatrick and his style. For his part, Ryan ”Fitzmagic” kept it playful and gave superfans something to have fun with:

NFL-superfans-reacting-to-player's-beard

The NFL is wisely working to keep superfans smiling, and social media monitoring keeps them alert to consumer concerns.

Quid Social Captures Consumer Concerns

What do superfans want from the NFL? Quid Social shows top trending conversations from superfans over the past month:

Quid-Social-superfan-conversations

News often follows consumer sentiment and right away we see similarities to our market research – Sports Betting, NFL Social Justice and Best Quarterbacks are subjects they have in common. And there are new segments not previously seen, like conversations around Career Ending Injuries and NFL in a Voting Year. These subtle differences are why having both consumer and market intelligence is crucial.

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Due to polarizing events, every brand is under a microscope. We see some of these conversations present, and it’s a fine line for the NFL to walk. However, with a focus on its core values, they’re moving forward, and we see positive and neutral responses outweighing the red:

bar chart of NFL superfan sentiment

And social media monitoring reveals superfans sharing sentiment indicating they are ready to watch:

word-cloud-with-superfan-sentiment

They’re taking adjustments in stride:

reactions-to-NFL-canned-audience-soundtrack

And sharing additional ways the NFL can enhance their experience:

consumer-desires-for-NFL-streaming

So, the intel is there. And the NFL is listening on social.

But, they’re not only listening, they’re showing fans are heard by amplifying their voices – and that’s a super smart tactic as superfan’s excitement is contagious.

NFL Superfans’ Excitement is Contagious

We see superfans of the Saints dressing up and tailgating at their favorite bar, and uber Jets’ fan, Ira Lieberfarb — the famed “Ira from Staten Island  says going to games is “like chasing the Holy Grail.” And there are millions of fans missing out on their favorite pastime – tailgating.

Enter Pepsi-Gate.

Understanding that tailgating is as American as apple pie in the U.S., Pepsi launched a tailgating contest for one person to win the tailgate of their dreams.

Pepsigate-for-NFL-tailgating

Perhaps Pepsi knew that 46% of fans tailgate 6-10 times a season, and 42% spend over $500 a season on food and supplies. Pepsi was listening. And consumers are responding with love:

consumer-sentiment-around-opening-day-and-tailgating

The NFL had a similar idea, naturally. The Steelers, recognizing superfans’ desire to be in the stadium, and knowing that there are 4.2b people online, brought the stadium to a few who couldn’t come in person due to pre-existing conditions. Here’s one super touching story about a family of fans, amplified by fan favorite, former linebacker Ryan Shazier. And the responses are a touchdown!

Pepsi-brining-the-game-to-NFL-superfans

This is how humanize your brand, while encouraging authentic, meaningful amplification of your story to relevant audiences. It’s not magic, but it does take specific intel to find the prefect mix. And with all of the challenges in-person events are taking, particularly sports, a little magic couldn’t hurt besides. Social media monitoring and market research offer a brands a reliable and relatable Hail Mary pass. Be sure to reach out for a demo and we can demonstrate how that looks for your category, specifically!

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