WORLD CUP: Facebook Data Science Team Examines Shifts In Rooting Interests

By David Cohen 

WhosCheeringForWhichTeam650Prior to Sunday’s final match of 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, the Facebook Data Science Team analyzed posts from each of the 32 countries that participated in the tournament, examining how support moved from one team to another after clubs were eliminated.

The following types of posts were included in the Facebook Data Science Team’s analysis of aggregated, anonymized posts:

  • Users who shared that they were watching certain matches and chose one of the two teams’ flags.
  • Results from the poll on Facebook’s Trending World Cup page.
  • Shared mentions of teams, such as, “Go Team USA,” “Vai Brasil,” or “Allez les bleus!”

Following are some of the findings by the Facebook Data Science Team:

Latin America:

  • Brazil gets 90 percent of its support from Brazil, 5 percent from the U.S., and barely above 0 percent from other countries in the region.
  • Argentina gets 78 percent of its support from Argentina, 11 percent from the U.S., 4 percent from Brazil, 2 percent from Mexico, and small shares from other countries.
  • Costa Rica had the most spread-out support through the region, with 49 percent coming from the U.S., 17 percent from Costa Rica, and the rest from throughout Latin America.
  • Supporters of losing teams gravitate toward the next opponent of the teams that knocked their squads out, with 61 percent of Chile’s supporters in the round of 16 migrating to Colombia, Brazil’s next opponent, following Brazil’s elimination of Chile. Meanwhile, 12 percent supported Brazil, and 11 percent Argentina.

Mexico and Europe:

  • 50 percent of Mexico’s supporters are in the U.S., and 43 percent in Mexico.
  • Germany’s rivalry with Italy was reflected in the results, as the number of users in Germany supporting Uruguay was almost equal to that supporting Italy.
  • In Germany’s group, France supported Portugal by nearly a 2-to-1 margin.
  • After Portugal was eliminated, 43 percent of users from that country shifted their support to Brazil. Spain showed a similar tendency to support Latin American countries after its squad was eliminated.
  • 65 percent of fans in the Americas chose countries from their own region, while 35 percent supported teams from Europe and elsewhere.
  • 55 percent of fans in Europe supported European clubs, while 45 percent took their rooting interests elsewhere.

Final match:

  • The pre-match trend of global support was 55 percent for eventual winner Germany and 45 percent for Argentina.
  • Not surprisingly, 95 percent of users in each of the final match’s participating countries supported their clubs.
  • 81 percent of fans in the Netherlands supported Germany, while just 19 percent chose Argentina, which eliminated the Netherlands in the semifinals.
  • Following Germany’s 7-1 demolition of Brazil in the semifinals, 71 percent of Brazilians shifted their support to Germany, while 29 percent went with Argentina.
  • Support for both final match participants was dead even in the U.S.

Readers: Any surprises?