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FC Barcelona and Real Madrid play again one of these ‘definitive’ games that they are living these last seasons, 21 April 2012. FC Barcelona and Real Madrid are the leading global brands in football, one of most popular and global sports. Even if they are fighting for the local national championship, the Spanish Liga BBVA, this sport event attracts attention not only from Spanish aficionados, but also from football supporters and lovers from all over the world. International media attention is huge, as well as TV broadcasting.
FC Barcelona and Real Madrid are the most powerful football brands, in almost all perspectives. For instance, according to the studies carried out by our sport related research unit, Economics, Sports and Intangibles, ESI Universidad de Navarra, FC Barcelona is the number one in the world in terms of global media coverage in season 2010/11, with 98.1 points, followed by Real Madrid with 86.1 points. Third club in the ranking is Manchester United, but far away, with 65.6 points. (You can download here a summary of the report in Spanish)
Source: Football Media Value Report, season 2010/11, ESI Universidad de Navarra
Media value provide a direct measure of the power of football clubs as brands, and media value is the key variable for explaining the commercial power of football clubs, as we have statitstically confirmed in several studies (see for instance Report about Media Value in Football, season 2007/07, chapter 4, in English, or otherwise season 2009/10, chapter 5, in Spanish). If you consider direct measures of financial power, we find again that Real Madrid and FC Barcelona are the leading players in world football sector.
Source: Football Money League 2012, Deloitte
Every single Clasico (FCB Vs RM) is in a sense a crisis, where every single event and incident happening aroung the game, before, during and after it, usually provocke massive media impact, with their positive and negative effects in Barcelona and Real Madrid brands.
We have analysed in the past the media impact of Clasicos, under different perspectives. You can check for instance the analysis in this post concerning the impact in Real Madrid image of the controversial statements by Real Madrid coach José Mourinho in a press conference accusing UEFA of conspirancy against Real Madrid interests. (Check Mourinho Reputation. The Impact of UEFA Disciplinary Case in Real Madrid Image)
Now we propose an analysis based in social media impact. We have monitored Twitter concerning El Clasico. As Twitter is a completely open and free source, accessible to all, and run by anonymous individual users, the analysis of twitter communications and flows can provide information about social media power of brands Real Madrid and Barcelona, as well as the power of the different football stars.
We present first the results concerning mentions about players from Real Madrid and Barcelona, in order to check their relative visibility among Twitter users. WE have monitored the two days before the game, 19 and 20 April 2012. Our results tell us that FC Barcelona counts with a slight advantage, as FC Barcelona players generate 53% of all tweets about the Clasico, and 47% for Real Madrid.
Second step is individual analysis. First move concerns the relative power of top mega stars, Argentinian Leo Messi from FC Barcelona and Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid. They arrive to the Clasico showing a really extraordinary performance. Each one has scored 41 goals in previous 33 games. These figures are already all time high records, when there are still five games more before the end of the championship. Our results indicate that there is again a great balance, with a slight advantage for FC Barcelona Leo Messi, with 53% of all tweets, and 47% for Cristiano Ronaldo.
In the chapter of coaches, we observe an overwhelming domination of Real Madrid sport manager, Portugues José Mourinho. He is the reference in 71% of all tweets about the coaches, for 29% for Barcelona coach, pep Guardiola. This domination is more significative if we consider that Mourinho is refusing to provide press conferences since several weeks, and questionning is perfomed by aid trainer Karanka.
In the following two figures we show the visibility reached by each component of teams Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. In both cases, franchise players Messi and Ronaldo are responsible for some 35% of all social media impact of all team members.
El Clasico Ultimate Duels: Messi Vs Cristiano Ronaldo
Monitoring Twitter communications is becoming a critical tool for capturing social media mood concerning corporations, celebrities, public personalities, institutions or events. Twitter analytics will provide new sources of knowledge for better understanding corporate reputation. There are many PR and CRS experts that view social media in a very skeptical way. This is not our perception, and we perceive at MRI Universidad de Navarra social media driven information (specially coming from Twitter and Youtube) will play a determinant role in advanced brand management strategies.
In this section we present some findings apllying basic Twitter content analysis.
Rea Madrid and FC Barcelona arreive to this 2012 Clasico in a context of extraordinary and unprecedented sport performance. They completely dominate the local league, as third ranked team, Valencia has an historical gap of 29 points. Real Madrid has reached the all time record in goals scored in a regular season, with 107 goals (3.24 goals per game), and there are still 5 games to play. FC Barcelona is not far away in this ranking, with 96 goals. Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi are top scorers in the league, both with 41 goals. This is top scoring marks in Europe, and represents also a top scoring record in Spanish Liga. Goalkeepers Valdés (FCB) and Casillas (RM) are leading their ranking. Finally, the arch-rivalry between both clubs is translated into their sport managers, Mourinho and Guardiola.
This is a game of ultimate duels. The question is how people perceive this match as a matter of personal duels or, instead, each club supporters follow their own stars without considering what happens with the rival star. Answering this question is quite difficult, for instance by using news analysis or surveys. But Twitter messaging behavior may be revealing for dealing with this topic.
We have monitored the tweets conerning all these potential duels, in order to evaluate their intensity. Our strategy consists in identifying the share of tweets that refer exclusively to one of the two contendants and the share of tweets that refer to both of them. The scarcity of space (the mytical 140 characters) make that the Clasico is considered as a duel for the couple considered if they appear both in the same message.
Messi Vs Cristiano Ronaldo
You can find in the infography below the statistics concerning the extraordinary sport performance of both football stars.
Source: Marc Creus / Carles Javierre, Diario Sport
We show first the results concerning the main stars in the pitch, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. According to our results, the game in Camp Nou is seen clearly as an exciting personal duel between both mega stars, as they appear in the same tweets in 43% of all tweets about Messi and/or Cristiano Ronaldo. Twitter analysis refer to tweets published between 18 and 21 (12h CET) April 2012.
Notice that now the share of exclusive tweets referring to only one of the stars, Messi increases his advantage with Cristiano Ronaldo, with a share 34% Vs 23%.
Iker Casillas Vs Víctor Valdés
Second duel analyzed in this post is team goalkeepers. Víctor Valdés from FC Barcelona has conceded less goals (24) than Real Madrid keeper Iker Casillas (29). Iker Casillas is more veteran in number of Clasicos disputed. Striker stars will be determinant in the final result of the game, but goalkeepers may also play a major role.
According to our results, Twitter users perceive the Clasico as a personal goalkeepers duel in 18% of all tweets. If we compare this value with the one concerning Messi vs CR7 (43%), this is telling us information about the intensity of the expectations about the combined performance of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Looking at exclusive individual tweets, we observe that Twitter community focus much more on Iker Casillas role (75%) than to Valdés (7%).
Seizing Social Media Mood: El Clasico Forecasts by Twitter Users
One of the greatness of sport is that the final outcome of the game is never fully predictable. Result incertitude is higher in football (soccer for North American readers) than in other sports like basketball or tennis.
Predicting football game results is something almost intrinsically linked to professional sports. Betting may be a matter of gambling in the expectation to correctly guess the result and make money. In big games like the Clasico, it is also very typical to run ‘porras’ among friends, by creating a common pool of money to be distributed among a close set of bettors, like friends, co-workers or members of associations.
There are also many on-line newspapers (sports oriented or not) asking readers to chose the expected result. Newspapers normally publish the global result prior to the game, as means to provide information about public sentiment about the outcome of the game. These global results tend to be systematically biased, as there is no newspaper that attract the representative share of supporters from both competing teams.
We have a clear indirect reference of actual perception of the expected game result by checking the information of the offered odds by on-line betting firms. Odds are established by stratistical models, and are adjusted by actual demand by bettors. We count with the information about what gambling firms offer as a bet, but they do not provide direct information about actual betting distribution.
We propose in this blog to consider the valuable information that an open social media channel like Twitter offers for measuring directly the public sentiment towards different events, like the expected outcome of the football game FC Barcelona Vs Real Madrid.
Many Twitter users publish spontaneously their prediction about the result of the Clasico. In some other cases it responds to questions launched by other Twitter accounts. There is no an ex ante reason to assume that the amount and distribution of predictions are biased towards one of the two teams. There is no strong reason to affirm that the share of RM-FCB people interacting in Twitter is different that the actual one outside the Twitter community. It may eventually be different, but it is impossible to say a priori if the bias is in favor of one or the other team.
We present you the results concerning the predictions made by Twitter users about the expected outcome of the Clasico of 21 April 2012, as shown in the figure below.
According to our results, the most probable result of the Clasico is 3-1 for Barcelona, chosen by 17.1% of total forecasts; second most popular choice is 2-1 for Barcelona (12.3%). The third result more frequently predicted is a win for Real Madrid, 1-2, in 9.2% of all cases.
If we sum up the combined results of all predictions, we have the global forecasting picture as shown in the following figure. Our results say that 60% of Twitter users (writting in Spanish) expect that FC Barcelona will win the Clasico. In the other side 22% of Twitter made predictions expect that Real Madrid will win in Camp Now. Another 18% expect a draw between both teams. FC Barcelona needs a victory to still hope for winning 2011/12 Liga Championship.
About Media Impact and Sport:
See our studies about measuring media impact and media value in football and other sports in our site, Economics, Sport and Intangibles, Universidad de Navarra
Also, other posts about sport and media analysis in this blog:
Appendix 1: Youtube Videos El Clasico 2012 Barcelona Vs Real Madrid 1-2 Highlights
We put in the appendix information from external sources.
One information that may be interesting for people reading this post, specially when time will go on, is to watch tha highlights fo the football match.
You can watch below some video highlights.
Video 1. Game Extended Highlights. Comments in English. Duration: 22:15
Extended highlights video (Dailymotion)
Video 2. El Clasico Slow Motion
Appendix 2. Football Game Tactics Analysis
You can check here a detailed tactics analysis by ZonalMarking.net
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