Goats Be Damned, Online Fans Pick the Cubbies to Win

By October 18, 2016 Uncategorized No Comments

It’s October again, and for the second year in a row the Chicago Cubs have made it to the NLCS – battling for their first World Series appearance since 1945. The difference this year is that they entered as the favorite to win it all.

With all of the pressure that comes with being the top dog, is this the year the Cubs will break through and win the World Series? Networked Insights took a look at social conversations to find out what people had to say about it.

To get to the Series, the Cubs will have to go through the Los Angeles Dodgers and their ace Clayton Kershaw, who pitched 7 shut-out innings in Game 2 of the NLCS, helping the Dodgers even the series at 1-1. The good news for the Cubs is that they have already won a game in the NLCS, a feat they did not achieve last year when they were swept by the Mets.

So who has the edge in the National League to earn their spot in the World Series?

If online conversation volume of the playoff teams during 2016 MLB season was the main determinant of who would be successful in the playoffs the Cubs would not be happy with the results. The Dodgers stand out as the clear favorite, with almost double the volume of the Chicago Cubs. That trend has carried into the playoffs as well, with the Dodgers discussed 6% more through the first two games of the NLCS. While the gap has closed significantly, Dodger Blue, not Cubbie Blue would be featured in the World Series based on volume alone.

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-5-08-06-pmShould Cubs fans start to panic?

Maybe not. Using Networked Insights emotional and motivational classifiers we were able to understand more about those conversations and get a higher definition look at what consumers are actually saying about these teams and their chance for success.

Even with 6% less total conversation volume in the playoffs the Cubs have 4% MORE conversation about success in the NLCS than the Dodgers. While many expect the series to be a tight one, it looks like consumers are picking the Cubs to move on, with 52% of conversations focused on Cubs success, as opposed to 48% for the Dodgers.


Who will the Cubs be meeting in the World Series?

As we saw in the analysis of the National League conversation, volume isn’t always the main determinant for expected post season success. The Cleveland Indians are currently up 3-0 in the ALCS and seem to on the road to the World Series, but is this is a surprise? Not necessarily.

After eliminating the Red Sox in a three game sweep, the Indians have become a bit of playoff phenomenon, but they aren’t exactly a surprise. After the Red Sox, the Indians are discussed the most in terms of fans mentioning World Series success.


Adding in emotional and motivational classification allows Networked Insights to get a deeper understanding of exactly what people are trying to convey, not just the volume of mentions.

With 31% of the World Series Success conversation going into the playoffs and 54% after 2 games in the NLCS, the Chicago Cubs are the standout favorite to win the World Series for their first championship since 1908.

Who is the real winner in the 2016 MLB Playoffs?

Regardless of whether or not the Cubs get to move on from the Curse of the Goat or the infamous Bartman incident, the biggest winners this year have to be the fans. Interest in the games have skyrocketed this postseason with conversation about the games increasing 22% over 2015.

Other winners include the MLB Network and FS1 which are experience record setting ratings this season as the Cubs are drawing more eyeballs than ever. Game 2 of the Cubs-Giants NLDS series was the most watched game in MLB Network history and Game 2 of the Cubs-Dodgers NLCS was the most watched telecast in FS1 history.

Regardless of who wins and loses the next handful of games, fans everywhere should take a minute to appreciate the quality of playoff baseball they are witnessing and Cubs fans, keep those fingers crossed, this may be the year.