Interest in tennis hit high levels last month with Roger Federer's French Open victory, and it continues as Wimbledon gets under way. BuzzLogic took a closer look at the online conversations around tennis and favorite players, and found some interesting spins within the conversations.
- BuzzLogic started by taking a look at conversations focused around the French Open. Among the influencers, 12% discussed the live streaming of the men's final match between Feder and Robin Soderling on the Internet. Nine percent discussed four-time defending champion Rafael Nadal, who was defeated by Soderling before reaching the final rounds of this year's tournament. Interestingly, Federer's win was not mentioned in any of the top 10 influential posts, but the attempted fan attack during the final match was discussed in the fifth most influential post by Just Jared. The most influential post around the French Open, by Sports Illustrated, did not take a look at the final matches, but rather discussed Maria Sharapova's win over Nadia Petrova and Nadal's French Open winning streak. (BuzzLogic determines blog influence by factoring more than a dozen criteria, including posting habits and linking activity.)
- With the excitement of Wimbledon, the influencers are talking about their tournament favorites, with 31% discussing Nadal; 21%, last year's women's champion, Venus Williams; and 6%, Sharapova. The dominant topic of conversations is Nadal's knee injury, which caused him to withdraw from this summer's tournament. Architecture is also stealing buzz from the tennis pros: the new roof on Centre Court is the topic of two of the top five influential posts, including a post from Newsvine.
- In conversations about the popular male tennis pros, Nadal edges out Federer in number of posts, with two more influential posts than his rival. Within the conversations about Andy Roddick, his personal life seems to be getting more attention than his serve: 34% of the influential posts discuss model wife Brookyn Decker. Influential blogs within these conversations include: Bleacher Report, Craig Hickman on Tennis and Caught Offside.
- In conversations around some of the top female tennis pros, Serena Williams leads the pack in the total number of influential posts, followed by Sharapova, and Serena's sister Venus. The most influential conversation about Serena is BallHype's repost of a Los Angeles Times article discussing Serena's cheating accusation against Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez. In conversations about Sharapova, her comeback after nearly 10 months off for rotator cuff surgery dominates the top five influential posts. Twenty-two percent of the influential conversations pertaining to Venus Williams discuss her past Grand Slam titles.
- To satisfy curiosity about the sport, BuzzLogic also looked at conversations around “tennis.” The most influential post on “tennis” is from Slate, which discusses the need for more “insane parents” if the US is to end its tennis title drought. Nike tennis gear is discussed in 8% of the influential posts, and was the only brand to make the top 50. And, America's obsession with videos games is not lost on tennis: Sega's Virtua Tennis 2009 is discussed in 16% of the influential posts.
For PR and marketing executives looking to reach sports fans, it's important to notice the differences in the overall conversations in this tennis analysis. Using a narrow search that includes specific keywords such as names of tennis pros can surface very specific conversations about matches, injuries, and even personal lives.
When the search widened, using keywords around an event, influence can be found in more broad conversations about players, event history, and even the venue itself. When BuzzLogic looked at the broadest of topics, like tennis, marketers can surface conversations on topics that may be peripheral to an overall campaign, like video games, but topically relevant and followed by passionate consumers.
If you listen to the conversations, understand the nuances of how consumers discuss related topics, and apply that knowledge to hone messages, you will be on the way to reaching your target audiences more effectively.
Evaluation and analysis by BuzzLogic's Insights. Insights determines blog influence by factoring over a dozen criteria, including posting habits and linking activity. This report is based on the analysis of 1,720 blog postings from May 6 to June 19.