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This Single TV Broadcast Drew An Astonishing 3.7 Million Social-Media Comments

Bluefin Labs Parses the Numbers for a Powerhouse Social-TV Genre

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If you're even an occasional reader of Ad Age 's ongoing social-TV coverage, you know that the reality-competition genre tends to do really well in terms of social-media engagement. But a different sort of competition -- and a different sort of reality -- with sky-high social engagement tends to get short shrift in the social-TV conversation: sports.

Our editorial partner Bluefin Labs, the Cambridge-Mass.-based social-TV analytics company, has been keeping track of the most socially engaging sports telecasts this month so we could present today's Top 5 list.

Scroll down below the graphic for some notes and context.

  • The data is for sports telecasts in the U.S. in all dayparts, from June 1 to 17.
  • The No. 1 sporting event in June so far is the NBA playoffs and finals. The 11 telecasts tracked by Bluefin have garnered more than 22 million social-media comments across Twitter and Facebook. (Twitter, as always, dominates.)
  • For the purposes of this chart, Bluefin tracked only English-language tweets surrounding sports telecasts. If all social-media comments in all languages were tracked, you can bet that the totals for our No. 2 finisher, the UEFA European Football (soccer) Championship, would be much higher. It's also worth noting that tweets from English-speaking countries such as Britain surely inflated the UEFA Euro's standing somewhat, thanks to global simulcasts, compared with events that weren't broadcast as widely.
  • Sports telecasts get a boost in social-media standing overall in part because they invariably take up more airtime than other shows (a multi-hour game obviously has a big edge over a 30-minute sitcom in terms of potential tweet volume) and because games tend to serve up non-stop "hooks" -- fouls, star turns, miracle shots, etc. -- that can prompt individual fans to tweet pretty much nonstop 'til the very end.
  • The "1.5B Earned Impressions" number on our chart refers to the theoretical reach of all the social-media comments surrounding the June 12 NBA telecast; Bluefin keeps track of the extended networks (i.e., the total number of Twitter followers of those who tweet, or Facebook friends for those posting updates) of every person who uses social media to comment on specific TV broadcasts. The mileage of any given social-media comment will vary, of course.
  • "On June 12," says Bluefin's Mike Guigli, "Game 1 of the NBA Finals accounted for more than two-thirds of all social-TV comments in prime time. That telecast is now the all-time 4th-ranked for most social-media comments among all show types, and No. 2 among all sports telecasts, only behind Super Bowl XLVI."

Stay tuned to AdAge.com for more data from Bluefin Labs. For more about Bluefin, visit its website.

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. Follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.