Every summer Wimbledon becomes a hot bed of activity as tennis-fans from around the globe come to watch what is (in our opinion) the world’s premier tennis tournament. Here at Say, we love all the excitement that this event brings (even if it does become slightly harder to get a seat on the Tube and the queue for our morning coffee gets even longer!), but what we love the most is following the twists and turns of the tournament on social media. As you may have noticed last year, we monitored and analysed the hopes of tennis fans as the tournament was taking place, but this year we’re going one step further by launching our ‘Say Wimbledon Social Media Championship Award’. We will track how many mentions the players that have been most tipped to win are getting on social media platforms and at the end of the tournament we will provide an (honourary) award to the winner.
We’re running this for both the Men and Women’s tournament, using our very own Listening Station media monitoring system to provide the data, which we have then used to create a visualisation that we will update as Wimbledon progresses… so make sure to bookmark this page!
This is the page for the Men’s Championship – you can find the Women’s here.
Visualisation made using Flourish
2nd July: We’re starting the blog for the Men’s Championship later than the Women’s, but with data from exactly the same period. We might be biased (being a largely British agency), but the main story so far has been the increase of Andy Murray’s share of voice, to the top of the chart, and his abrupt fall after his withdrawal from the tournament. His number of mentions in relation to Wimbledon actually broke the 10,000 mark on the 1st July, which goes to show how much of an impact these kinds of announcements can have on online mentions (although in this case Murray’s peak is as much an indicator of disappointment than popularity).
Other key stories from the past week or so include Nadal largely playing second fiddle to Federer in terms of mentions (which is a good example of social media share of voice mirroring a real-world rivalry) as well as Cilic’s rise in popularity due to his win over Yoshihito Nishioka today. This victory has led to speculations as to whether he could be a title contender, and it has certainly made him a contender for the Wimbledon Social Media Championship.
3rd July: As we come back for day two of Wimbledon, perhaps the most interesting thing that jumps out about the social media rankings is that Murray has remained in either 1st or 2nd place for the last three days despite having pulled out of the tournament on the 1st July. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, Murray has been coaching Katie Swan, a British tennis player who has managed to reach the second stage of the women’s tournament, which has led to mentions of Murray in relation to her victory. Second, and perhaps somewhat more bizarrely, England fans are using Murray’s absence from Wimbledon as a sign that this could be England’s year to win the World Cup. Their basis for this? Murray wasn’t playing in Wimbledon in 1966 either, when England last won the World Cup. Multiple accounts (here’s an example) have put that particular theory forward.
5th July: We’re back and taking a look at the Wimbledon Men’s social media rankings now that we’re nearing the end of a rather hectic second round of play. Cilic has yet again proven that the best way of getting to the top of the charts is to lose (although this isn’t recommended as a long term strategy). Federer’s movement pattern in the charts is also worth inspecting – although the King of Tennis’s lead before the tournament was unbreakable due to the stratospheric height of his fame, as games are played and discussed on social media that lead looks much less assured. That said, based on the data we have so far, the best way for Federer to win the social media tournament is probably to get to the final – and lose.
6th – 11th July (data for the 11th recorded before the beginning of play)
We’re back, and it has certainly been a busy few days on social media for Wimbledon Men’s Singles, even as national attention turns towards tonight’s England vs Croatia match in The Other Tournament.
First things first, as you may have noticed, Cilic, Kyrgios, Zverev and Murray have all dropped off the chart, and have been replaced with Del Potro, Nishikori, Isher and Raonic. We did have a look at the data for all four of the players that have departed the Wimbledon Social Media championship in the time between now and the last update; Cilic’s share of voice nosedived quickly after his defeat, as did Kyrgios and Zverev after theirs. The latter two have, over the past two days, barely generated two digit worth of mentions. Murray is a slightly more interesting case, with Twitter users in particular still sharing World Cup jokes which mention the British tennis star. There are even a number of Twitter users claiming that Andy Murray clearly decided not to compete because he didn’t want to have to be playing tennis during the World Cup final.
That, then, brings us to the new entrants. Del Potro has maintained a healthy ranking throughout the tournament, being one of the more highly rated seeds before the tournament. In particular, he rose to third, above Djokovic , on the 29th due to discussions about the tournament draw. Whilst this gave everyone a boost, Del Potro appears to have been the subject of more discussion than most, with the Spanish-speaking Twitter world speculating about Del Potro’s chances. Del Potro then exhibited the standard pattern that we’ve seen across the tournament, peaking during early matches when speculation is rife before settling into 4th below Djokovic as those commenting on Twitter decide their favourites. That being said, the fact that Del Potro will be facing Nadal today does seem to have boosted him in the social media rankings, although potentially not for long.
The other new entrants have seen very up-and-down performances on social media, with Raonic receiving the most surges in mentions over the tournament. The one that made the most impact came on the 2nd and 3rd July when he rose into third place for two days straight with many declaring him their favourite, in part due to his status as a 2016 finalist. However, the number of mentions in real terms was fairly low on those days (in the hundreds, not thousands). This makes Nishikori look rather unlucky, as he has not risen above 4th once in these rankings, despite receiving around over 1000 more mentions than Raonic, due to the escalating number of mentions generated by others over the past few days. Isner has generated the least buzz of all players left in the Social Media Championship, mostly bumping along the bottom of the rankings.
This could, however, all change today with the quarter finals; whilst Federer and Nadal have been firmly sat at the top of the charts for a number of days, an upset at the quarter finals could change that.
12th July: Well, that was quite an afternoon for the Wimbledon Social Media Championship. You may notice we’ve retrospectively included Anderson – to provide a bit of a peek behind the curtain, we decided not to include him in the graph to save space, as he was playing Federer. For the first two sets it looked like it might have been the right decision, but of course we couldn’t have been more wrong.
The upside to this is that we get to see what a post-Federer Wimbledon social media landscape looks like and whilst it could be worse for him, Federer has seen a rapid decline in the rankings today as the speculation for the Semi-Finals intensifies around those players still in the tournament. Still, we’ll be keeping him (and the rest of the final eight) in to observe exactly what happens.
Anderson himself has had quite an interesting tournament on social media, staying at the lower end of the rankings until a steady climb to the top began on the 9th, when he became the first South African man to progress to the quarter-finals in twenty-four years. If Nadal and Del Potro’s quarter-finals showdown hadn’t been quite so close, and widely talked about, he may have ended up in the top two today (although there’s plenty for time in the day left for that to change).
Final Update (16th July): The last three days of the Wimbledon Men’s Social Media Championship have ended up as one of the most exciting periods of the whole tournament, with the top three places all changing hands every single day from the 13th – 15th July.
As anyone who watched or listened to the last few days of the tournament will be able to guess, the most tumultuous day was the 13th when there were over 120,000 mentions of both Anderson and Isner. These mentions were driven by their epic six and a half hour long match. Twitter users highlighted the fact that this was the longest Wimbledon Men’s semi-final, as well as Isner’s history of record breaking matches (in 2010 he played a three day long first round Wimbledon match against Mahut) and Anderson’s plea for a tie break to be implemented in the fifth set for future championships. The two were very close in terms of mentions, with Anderson being mentioned approximately 63,000 times and Isner being mentioned 60,000 times. The difference between the two largely appears to be a result of South African Twitter users celebrating Anderson’s victory, the first time in 97 years that a South African has advanced to the Men’s final.
Compared to the tumult of the 13th, the rest of the tournament was relatively calm on social media. Djokovic played second fiddle to Nadal on the 14th (when their semi-final game was finished) due to Twitter users sharing the news of Nadal’s defeat, before rising to the top of the chart on the 15th after making short work of Anderson in the final.
This means that after two weeks of online chatter, speculation and commiseration that Novak Djokovic is the 2018 Wimbledon Men’s Social Media Champion! It might seem obvious that the winner of the physical tournament would be the subject of the most online discussion, but this certainly isn’t always the case. In the Women’s Championship, for example, Serena Williams won the social media championship despite being defeated in two sets by Kerber in the final, due to her massive pre-existing online presence as well as her heartfelt post-match interview in which she said that she was playing for mothers everywhere. Followers of his blog will also know that being defeated can actually cause a short-term boost to online mentions, although this generally seems to occur when the loser is a more prominent player than the winner.
Yet, in this case at least, Djokovic’s rocky performance in recent years seems to have propelled him to the top of the social media rankings, securing his digital victory and igniting online discuss about what this means for the US Open in August.
All that remains is for us to thank all of you who have read this blog, and followed the online tournament through it. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it together.
If you’d like to find out more about the Listening Station, and our social media monitoring services, feel free to get in contact with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.