Sentiment Analysis Showdown: World Cup vs Super Bowl

Niraj Sharma |
 06/20/18 |
3 min read

Here in the States we think football is the sport – but for the rest of the world, “football” is a sport we know as soccer. How do the two compare? Let’s dig into some sentiment analysis and find out!

What Are People Talking About?

First, let’s start with the obvious: Though one could argue the entire football season leads up to the Super Bowl, that final showdown only lasts for one night.

The World Cup on the other hand is a month-long event, featuring 32 teams – meaning there are a lot of people with stakes in the action.

Speaking of action, it’s one of the big terms in the NetBase Pro Attributes cloud. The only one getting more volume is “time” – as in, “It’s time for the World Cup!”

There’s a lot to sift through here:

  • Fans discussing their favorite teams and players – “best player,” “greatest individual performances”
  • Which World Cup song is the best – “help us settle this,” “best world cup song,” “best world cup”
  • Favorite moments of the games – “favorite moment,” “champion,” “great world cup goal”
  • And even a brand shout-out – “#@Budweiser #ManoftheMatch award”

That’s great guidance toward what has fans excited here. These are conversations worth joining.

The Emotions word cloud shows a lot of love – literally:

What’s behind these passionate declarations? Lots of things:

Underdog stories…


And a general sense of excitement and readiness…

Not surprisingly, the most popular behaviors are about watching – or not watching:

Sports channels are letting people know where to catch up on anything they “miss” – while others are “boycotting” for political, or other, reasons. Be sure you know the specifics before interacting on these topics.

Football vs. Futbol

But what of our Super Bowl comparison? Is there really so much more passion for the World Cup?

Well, let’s look back at the NetBase Industry Report 2018: Super Bowl Advertising for some data.

Analyzing the performances of top representative brands from two weeks prior to two weeks after the Super Bowl there were some strong numbers, and pretty good sentiment and passion:

But we’re only a few days into the World Cup and already our Live Pulse is overtaking those numbers:

Note, these numbers are just for the previous hour. NetBase Pro has the overall totals thus far, and they’ve already surpassed those of the Super Bowl:

What’s interesting to note is where this engagement is happening:

Though the U.K. is right behind, with Nigeria picking up steam, the U.S. is carrying a lot of the conversation. Would you expect that? This is why you need social analytics.

And it’s also why you need tools that capture international insights – to move you beyond what you think you know, and show you what’s really out there. Think about the money you spend on Super Bowl ads – and that’s just a fraction of the audience available during the World Cup!

The Buzz and Where to Find It

With a long-term event like the World Cup, it’s important to follow along in real-time, as topics and sentiment will change rapidly based on what’s happening in the moment.

Consider this look at our Live Pulse, snapped an hour after the image above:

Sentiment has jumped 15%, and “winner” is the top emerging topic. Given that England captain Harry Kane scored the “winner” in their match against Tunisia, it’s no surprise he’s a big part of the trending topics as well:

We outlined some of the World Cup trends to watch in a recent post, but social is a place where anything can happen, so don’t look away for too long. You might miss an amazing opportunity to engage your audience – or worse, hand that opportunity to a competitor.

With sentiment analysis, the key is always to follow the passion. Find the people talking with the greatest emotion about the topics that matter to your brand, and engage them in any ways that make sense.

And never assume anything. Otherwise you’ll miss out on things – like the biggest sporting event of the summer. And Super Bowl Sunday is a long way off.

Want to set up your own Live Pulse for an event or campaign? Get in touch and we’ll show you how!



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