Call us nerds but we love social media data. Monitoring social media trends and topic data and then tearing it all apart is lots of fun (to us anyways). We also love sports. When these two collide, we get pretty excited.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably pretty familiar with Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel. These two were taken #1 and #2 in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and both have shown the potential to be completely franchise-changing all-stars. McDavid is the Canadian boy wonder selected first overall by the Edmonton Oilers and Jack Eichel is the American superstar selected second overall by the Buffalo Sabres. Both players played their first ever NHL game on October 8th, 2015 and we were standing by to capture some Twitter data.
We used Nuvi to monitor Twitter for North American mentions of “McDavid” and “Eichel”. Needless to say, we captured a lot of data. We’ll break things down a bit more in future blog posts but I thought it would be fun to share a few interesting tidbits while they’re still fresh in my mind (and on Twitter)…
The Pregame Buzz Was Pretty Even
Both of these guys are going to go on to become incredible hockey players but it’s safe to say that McDavid really stole a lot of the off-season hype (whether he liked it or not). We expected to see this carry forward right up until game time but we were pretty surprised that the mentions were close leading up to puck drop. We started our monitoring at 3:30MST – 1.5 hours before the Buffalo vs. Ottawa game and 2 hours before the Edmonton vs. St Louis game. In the 1.5 hours prior to the Buffalo game, McDavid had more mentions than Eichel but it was far closer than we expected.
Things Escalate Very Quickly – The Goal
Things were humming along quite nicely for the majority of the night. Both players were receiving a steady stream of Twitter attention and I was busy pulling interesting stats and trends out of the data that was being collected.
And then this happened…
At 7:19 MST, Jack Eichel scored his first ever NHL goal… and things went a bit crazy. Don’t believe me? Check out the maps below…
Here’s a geographic display of “Eichel” mentions just before the goal.[/caption]
The hockey world was abuzz with Eichel chatter. After cruising along at about 8-10 Tweets per minute during the first few periods, “Eichel’ mentions jumped to over 50 Tweets per minute (I saw it momentarily top out at about 65 Tweets per minute). Here’s a screen grab as it was trending. You can see the difference in Tweets between Eichel and McDavid.
The Fastest Fingers in Buffalo
Ever wonder who breaks a story on Twitter? In this world of instant news and analysis, the ability to break news first is a real skill… or sometimes it’s just luck and some really fast fingers. I went back and analyzed the seconds leading up to Eichel’s goal in an attempt to identify who Tweeted about it first (this is a great example of my “data nerd” side shining through). Take a bow Nick Wojton… for a brief moment in time, you won the internet.
I gave Nick the great news via Twitter and he was happy to bask in the glory of this amazing accolade…
@strongcoffee fastest fingers in Buffalo
— Nick Wojton (@Nick_Wojton) October 9, 2015
So you might be sitting there wondering what happened to our good friend Connor McDavid. Don’t worry… although he didn’t score a goal, he still created a huge buzz on Twitter. The Oilers are back in action on Saturday and we’ll flip the monitors back on. If this is the reaction that Jack Eichel’s first goal received, McDavid is poised to break Twitter when he lights the lamp. We’ll be there to capture all the data.
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