Will Super Bowl set social media records?

February, 1, 2013
2/01/13
12:00
PM ET
The Super Bowl has become as one of the biggest events on social media. You can bet Super Bowl XLVII will be no exception.

One of this year’s prop bets is “What will be the highest tweet-per-second rate during the Super Bowl?” The bar is set at over or under 17,000. And while this in no way constitutes gambling advice, that number might seem a bit low considering last year’s game twice set a record for most tweets during a sporting event, first with Madonna’s halftime show (10,245 tweets per second), topped by the game’s dramatic finish (12,233 tweets per second). That was more than three times the then-record-setting 4,064 tweets per second sent during Super Bowl XLV, when fans broke the sporting event tweets-per-second mark six times. The current sports tweets-per-second record stands at 15,358 tweets per second, set during the Euro 2012 championship match.

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As for Twitter itself, the site has created a page to help fans follow the game.

Not surprisingly, Ray Lewis is generating big buzz heading into the final game of his career. According to Salesforce Marketing Cloud, the Baltimore linebacker has generated more than 188,000 mentions over the past two weeks, almost five times more than any other player.

Of course, not all of those mentions were positive. Analyzing tweets referencing Lewis ahead of the Super Bowl, social media company Fizziology found 1 in 5 users tweeting about Lewis had negative or mixed feelings about the Ravens star. That’s compared to 2 in 5 who viewed him positively and 2 in 5 who had a neutral opinion about the polarizing player.

Another major storyline: the Harbaughs. And while the brothers’ respective teams have been generating a similar number of mentions, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh has a major edge over older brother/Ravens coach John Harbaugh in the social space. According to Twitter, there have been three times more tweets about Jim.

As for some other interesting Super Bowl social media facts:

The 49ers may hail from Silicon Valley, but Ravens fans are twice as engaged on social media, according to Crimson Hexagon.

Women make up 45 percent of the NFL’s fan base, yet Crimson Hexagon found women only account for a quarter of fans tweeting about this year’s Super Bowl contenders.

Facebook had a visual geographic breakdown of the football fandom. The Ravens hold an edge on the East Coast, but the 49ers dominate the map.

Also according to Facebook, the most-mentioned Super Bowl-bound players on the site are (in order) Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Colin Kaepernick, Joe Flacco and Ray Rice.

Elsewhere in the social mediasphere

The NCAA shot down Akron’s request to put the team’s Twitter handle on its jerseys.

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is one of the early adopters using Vine.

The Los Angeles Dodgers launched a social media rewards program.

MLB announced the 52 fans who will be vying for a chance to document the 2013 season via social media in the league’s Fan Cave.

The WTA unveiled a list of its most popular players on social media (spanning Facebook, Twitter and Chinese platform Sina Weibo). World No. 5 Li Na takes the top social spot with 15.3 million social media fans, followed by Maria Sharapova (9.7 million), Serena Williams (5 million) and Venus Williams (2.1 million).

Got a story we should feature? Have a site we should check out? Who's on your must-follow list? Tweet me at @BurnsOrtiz. If your idea gets mentioned in this column, so will you. Follow Playbook on Twitter at @ESPNPlaybook.
Maria Burns Ortiz covers social media for ESPN Playbook. She began writing for ESPN.com in 2006, covering college soccer for ESPNSoccernet.

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