The eggheads at Emory University’s sports marketing analytics department decided to examine the Twitter reactions in each NFL market in the days following Michael Sam’s public outing in February. Why good could come of this? Well, it enabled them to rank NFL markets by their collective approval of Michael Sam being a gay NFL prospect. Sure, why not?
Not sure what the study’s possible application could be other than shaming the cities that placed at or near the bottom, but it’s the off-season so we’ll take whatever mockery ammo we can get. As for the methodology:
In order to do this, we collected all tweets mentioning “Michael Sam” in the 31 NFL markets for the past 2 days (2/9 morning – 2/11 morning). The tweets were sorted by market, and analyzed for positive, negative, or neutral sentiment. Looking at the ratio of positive, negative, and neutral tweets allowed us to compare Twitter sentiment for Michael Sam across NFL Markets.
There are a number of issues with that process. For one, using a non-representative source like Twitter to engage the feelings of an entire populace. Another being that the researchers have no idea how engaged the average Twitter user in that market is to the football team located there. Not only may they not be fans of that team, they make not even like sports at all and have no plans to be near a football stadium where Sam might be playing. But that’s why pseudo-science terms like “snapshot” are helpful.
The cities with the most positive reaction to Sam’s outing were:
1. New York
2. St. Louis
4. San Francisco
5. Boston (New England)
6. Kansas City
7. Washington DC
9. Tampa Bay
Based on regional cultural stereotypes, Kansas City is probably the biggest surprise there, though Sam did play college ball for the University of Missouri, which may help to explain that.
And now for the bottom seven. For shame, Raider Nation, Cheeseheads, Yinzers and… what do Titans fans call themselves? Anyway, boo, Nashvillains, boo!
29. Green Bay
27. San Diego
As mentioned, this is hardly a conclusive study, not to mention one of little practical use. If Sam gets drafted by, say, the Packers, he isn’t gonna blurt out, “No way am I playing for that team. Their home market had the third most negative Twitter mentions when I came out!” Because that would make him Darren Rovell.
But if Sam does get drafted by one of the markets ranked near the bottom, it’ll just be another footnote mentioned in how difficult of a situation Sam is getting into. Which would be tough regardless of how many people are willing to say negative things on Twitter.