We are reaching the last moments of the phenomenon that has dominated the world of sport in the past 3 weeks: Le Tour De France. As promised we are back with more quantitative & qualitative social media analysis focusing on the actionable multilingual insights this international event is offering.
Why do people still speak about this internationally-recognized and widely-criticized event? What is the secret ingredient, the magic factor that despite of all the scandals, doubt, and disappointment, what draws audiences in front of their tv sets, to comment on the race on social media, and inspires them to travel thousands of miles from all around the world to France? The answer is very simple. Le Tour is a race like no other, never the same, not one year is like the previous one. It is simply the shock factor. No, wait. As a major cycling fan, I think I understand: it’s the “Tour-Factor“!
With every new year the bikes are lighter – over the 100 years of the tour’s history they have skinned down from solid 20kg/44pounds to less than 7kg/15pounds feather-light machines, teams’ budgets are monstrously bigger – Sky Team scoring No1. rank with unbelievable USD 45.6 mil budget from Sky solely (other sponsors contributed and helped this team with undisclosed figures) and their advertising value USD 550 mil and this can only lead to one conclusion – the pressure is higher big time!
Adrenaline circulating in your veins, your name painted on the roads lined up with hundreds of thousands of people, crowds roaring famous ‘allez-allez-allez‘, applauding, trying to touch you for a millisecond as you are climbing up those steep mountains of Alp d’Huez and Pyrenees! It takes not only two legs, but two hearts and two pairs of lungs to get on top of the highest Port de Pailhères (2001 m) – 15.5 km climb to 7.9 % average incline – Category H or the most difficult Mont Ventoux (1 912 m) 20.8 kilometre-long climb at 7.5% incline! And not only to get there, but to be there as the first!
Part “deux” of the Le Tour de France blog takes us deeper into the core of the conversation of four cycling geo-hubs France, Spain, Great Britain and United States. Powered by our Crimson Hexagon Forsight platform and its unique language agnostic functionality, these analyses allow us to understand multilingual insights through the granular user-defined categories of social media discussion on the most meticulous level.
The first step in the opinion analysis building process is to decide on what topics we ultimately want to track and measure. In order to define categories for our deep dive analyses, we used the buzz sentiment monitors from the first Tour de France blog post. They served as a foundation for the more sophisticated opinion monitors and helped us to figure out both – universal and also specific social media conversation clusters of the respective geo locations.
We tapped into “Explore” space in ForSight in order to discover the most dominant themes, where our ‘topic wheel’ gave us the answer and offered the qualitative lens on general discussion into topical groups and subgroups.
We first started with what we originally assumed to be standard topics, but as we progressed through the building process of the opinion monitors, for some locations these global categories never surfaced and grew into volume that would be significant enough and would tell us a story big enough to be categorized. But this does not mean we did not succeed or did not understand the conversation. In fact, the very opposite! These findings led us to new unique and geographically exclusive tiers of the social media conversation and uncovered the most interesting insights.
Some topics resonated globally and connected the dots between different regions and some were strictly isolated for a particular geo-targeted audience only. Social media authors from around the world agreed that three themes: “Excitement watching the tour” (taking from 29% to 9% of the proportional breakdown of the topical conversation), mentions of “Riders and Teams” in general (ranging from 38% to 16%) and last, but definitely not least, “Doping” (consuming from 21% to 8% of the discussion) were the most prolific topics across the board.
We also recognized that in all of these countries people spoke about Christopher Froome as the favorite one to win (GB 15% and FR 5%) and in relation to this the rivalry between him and Spanish rider Alberto Contador (ESP 15% , UK 8%, US 5%).
Every country “told” us also its very own story, specific based on the nature and historical background and contemporary circumstances.
We were able to look at the monitors through a compact lens and compare the results through our new cool feature called WorkSpaces, which allows you to export different visuals from any of your monitors under one “roof” and analyze the output comfortably in this unified shared universe.
Regional social media landscape on one hand pinpoints identical features of the conversation connecting the dots of our four targeted locales – FR, ESP, UK, US – and on the other hand helps to diagnose distinctive unique patterns of conversation proprietary for the individual geo-locations.
The US monitor was the most comprehensive and most surprising one. We had an amazing opportunity to get the best out of our slice&dice capabilities creating eight insightful categories. Next to the other categories that cropped up in other regions as well, we could not ignore the very strong fanbase of Slovak cyclist Peter Sagan who scored an impressive 18% of the conversation. The verbatim surrounding Lance Armstrong was bringing very high volumes as well, but it was not only negative comments, humor and mocking 13%, it was interesting to see that more than 2% recognized Lance Armstrong and his achievements.
— PacoPé (@PacoPeins) July 14, 2013
I have worked hard and to prove it, I have the exact same number of Tour de France titles as Lance Armstrong.
— Todd stottlemyer (@Rippersith) July 7, 2013
— Kelly Pierce (@kellpossible) July 2, 2013
Mark Cavendish had URINE thrown at him during the Tour de France today! Could have been worse though… pic.twitter.com/gL83O5D0F0
— Dai Lama (@WelshDalaiLama) July 10, 2013
We had almost 100,000 posts returning from UK, referring to the new super strong generation of leaders of the two-wheel sport. This has been reflected in the British pride (38%) and celebrating national favorite Chris Froome, who confirmed his ‘pole position’ across all the regions, Mark Cavendish the controversial sprinter and the fastest bike rider on the planet became a prolific geo-segment as well with more than 20% of the overall discussion.
— Laura Jones (@YICETOR) July 14, 2013
Was the bottle of piss thrown at Mark Cavendish simply Lance Armstrong trying to avoid another drugs test? #TDF
— Andrew Rowe (@rowemeister83) July 10, 2013
Spain has a very good team rallying on the French roads as well. Their greatest hope is Alberton Contador whom they were able to trust again after the “steak scandal” that resulted in two years suspense. But “El Pistolero” is back again, getting 4% positive with this geo-privileged topic and supportive comments, fighting hard with Froome for the yellow jersey, which was clearly demonstrated in 15% of the conversation.
— Javier Faro (@jff01) July 6, 2013
“It was not your day #AlbertoContador #Contador but #LeTourdeFrance is long. Let’s go champion.”
— Llure Esteve ||*|| (@Llure19) July 6, 2013
“Let’s go @albertocontador! I do blindly believe in you! You pick yourself up from here and you turn the situation around! YOU CAN CHAMPION!!! #tourdefrance”
Tiempo de Tour de France, 3 semanas de bicis. Haber si Contador puede estar al 100%, porque Froome es demasiado.
— Jabi Recio (@JaviRp15) June 29, 2013
“It’s the Tour De France time, 3 weeks of biking. Let’s see if Contador can be 100%, because Froome is just too much.”
The home of Le Tour de France hosted the most general conversation. French audience is a tough crowd and they comment on the event endorsing scandals with merciless sarcasm. But they enjoy themselves watching this sport event not only in front of their TV, but in person too. The biggest portion of the discussion was dedicated to the mentions of various riders 39% and simply just commenting on the every day results 30%. The individual attention was paid to Froome, who was traditionally favorite to win. Cavendish and Contador, were also subjects of the social media conversation in France.
Demain le tour de france juste sous mon balcon :)
— Alexandre Bnst (@BenoistAlex) June 30, 2013
“Tomorrow LeTour de France from my balcony.”
Si Contador a mangé un steak, Froome a mangé toute la vache… #tdf
— Alessandro (@Alessandro030) July 6, 2013
“If Contador ate a steak, Froome ate the whole cow.”
— Gilles JOHNSON (@actupol) July 14, 2013
“In short #Froome has already won le #TourDeFrance #MontVentoux”
The Tour is almost at its end. But not quite there yet! 447.5 more kilometers to cycle, six more key cities to cross, three more days and three more finish lines, this is what it takes to cross the last one as a winner.
Who will be wearing the ‘maillot jaune‘ yellow T-shirt this year? Who will be crowned with the green wreath, standing on top of the podium celebrating his triumph under the Parisian “Arc Du Triomphe“? Chris Froome is 5 minutes ahead of Alberto Contador and you would think he is safe. But this is Le Tour, a race like no other! One little mistake can take the victory away from you! With nerves, drama and last-minute surprises, nothing is decided until you cross the finish line of the last stage. So who will be greeted by the grand ovations spreading across the world? Who will be the winner of 100th edition of Le Tour de France?