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Monday, 20 December 2010

BBC Sports Personality of the Year results summary

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So the winner of the BBC Sports Personality concurred with the overall analysis that we undertook, which was Tony McCoy. As we stated yesterday, Tony McCoy was consistently at the top of the analysis that we did, based on tweets made during the past week.

The bookies generally had Graeme McDowell as second favourite, although in our analysis he was well down the list along with fellow golfer Lee Westwood.

The second placed person was Phil Taylor, who trended upwards in our analysis as the week wore on. He actually finished top of the list of the analysis of tweets made during the show, indicating a late swing towards him. However this wasn't sufficient to topple Tony McCoy but moved him into second position. In fact using our contextual analysis we can examine why this is the case. There are a number of words in close context to Phil Taylor in a negative context such as: superfit, insult, athletes, skill. This indicates that people do not think that there is great skill to darts, and that should he win it would be an insult to real athletes. There is also a great deal of negative comment on the fact that Phil Taylor does not exactly have to be 'superfit' to be able to win his championships. This gives an insight into why Phil Taylor didn't win.

In third position was Jessica Ennis, which let's be honest does not fit well with our analysis. Although she was shown in third position in our analysis of tweets made during the show, she was behind Amy Williams. In fact, in our analysis she consistently lagged behind Amy throughout. This is probably due to a couple of reasons, the main one being that the demographic that voted for her is not well represented on twitter.

The higher position of Amy Williams and Mark Cavendish in our list may also be due to twitter campaigns by followers of the respective sportsperson. Since twitter is a 'free' utility, it costs nothing for groups of people to retweet something along the lines of "Amy to win #spoty!" in order to try to influence other people's votes. We have seen this previously with analysis done on shows like the X Factor.

So overall, our analysis was able to pick the winner, and also showed trending for Phil Taylor in particular.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

BBC Sports Personality of the Year prediction during show

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The results of the analysis of tweets made during the TV show tonight can be seen below:

  1. Phil Taylor
  2. Amy Williams
  3. Jessica Ennis
  4. Tom Daley
  5. Tony McCoy
  6. Mark Cavendish
  7. David Haye
  8. Lee Westwood
  9. Graeme McDowell
  10. Graeme Swann

BBC Sports Personality of the Year prediction pre-show

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We have analysed the tweets made during today in the run up to the show itself. Our cut-off is 19:00, the time at which the show starts and the phone lines are announced so that the public can begin to vote for their favourite. We will keep an eye on when the lines will close but will look to close our 'tweet vote line' at about 8:30pm, to ensure our analysis goes up before the announcement of the winner.

In any case, the ordering based on the tweets so far today is:

  1. Tony McCoy
  2. Mark Cavendish
  3. Tom Daley
  4. Phil Taylor
  5. Amy Williams
  6. Jessica Ennis
  7. Lee Westwood
  8. David Haye
  9. Graeme McDowell
  10. Graeme Swann
It is perhaps not surprising to see Graeme Swann at the bottom of the list, given the abject performance by England in the Ashes this last weekend.  However his namesake Graeme McDowell is rather more of a surprise, particularly as Lee Westwood appears ahead of him in the list.

Another surprise is to see Mark Cavendish at number 2 in the list.  He has been up and down the ranking this week, perhaps reflecting a concerted twitter campaign by his key fans to try to garner extra votes.  In fact, our experience from the X Factor analysis has shown how this can easily bias the results.  However, in the X Factor, we were able to analyse the data to see that often there was a strong negative bias coming through the data, relating to the fact that people on twitter were reacting to the campaign, and basically stating that they did *not* want to see that person win.  We see a similar effect with two individuals so far - Tony McCoy and Mark Cavendish.  This would appear to suggest that some people at least are reacting to the campaigns to promote these two sportsmen - there has been a concerted effort by the gambling and horse racing community to promote Tony McCoy - and that this may count against them in the final reckoning?

Look out for our next update in just over an hours time when we will analyse the tweets made during the broadcast.

BBC Sports Personality of the Year prediction 19th December

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We have been tracking twitter in order to give an indication as to what the public are thinking with regards to the BBC Sports Personality of the year. Again we are keeping track of every tweet that is being made in relation to this topic, and using our contextual analysis method to try to ascertain who is the most likely to win, and to also give further insight into the reasons behind the public's voting intentions.

We have been tracking the tweets for the past week and the ranking of the contestants over this past week can be seen in the figure below:

BBC Sports Personality of the year ranking

The graph shows that Tony McCoy has been the favourite for most of the week, but that there has been some changes in the last few days. Based on yesterday's data, he has dropped down with Phil Taylor and David Haye in particular having huge surges of tweets about them. However, unlike other reality shows, the public can only vote during the show itself. We will therefore look to analyse the tweets made during the show to give an indication of who is looking the most likely.

Based on all the tweets gathered thus far, Tony McCoy is still the overrall favourite to win, with Amy Williams likely to be the winning female contestant.

We will update the analysis during the show.

Strictly Come Dancing post result analysis

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Our analysis last night during the first part of the Strictly Come Dancing show indicated that although Matt was the favourite individual contestant, that Kara and Artem as a couple were more favoured, and that this could influence the final outcome of the competition.

Unfortunately we had not realised that there was to be a second window for voting, and so were unable to present the results of tweets made during this second show at the time (we wrongly thought it was a straight forward results show). However we can look back now and see what the analysis of the tweets made between 21:05 and 22:00 last night tells us (i.e. after Pamela was told she was in 3rd position).

The analysis shows a huge trend towards Kara, and this is highlighted in the graph shown below:

Voting trend in Strictly Come Dancing

This graph shows the trend of votes over the course of the past week, and shows the proportion of the score for each contestant when compared against each other (the person with the highest score has 100%). Initially, and up until the show itself last night, Matt was the clear favourite, with Kara and Pamela, level pegging behind him. Then during the course of the 1st show last night, Kara experienced a surge in popularity, taking her to an equivalent score as Matt, leaving Pamela behind. This surge of votes resulted in Pamela being voted out of the show in 3rd place.

There then followed a 2nd show, where the voting lines were re-opened. Both contestants had a further dance, and we can see that with Pamela out of the show, the vast majority of votes appears to have transferred directly to Kara - her score catapults above Matt's and shows her to be the clear winner, based on twitter data.

This gives us an insight into the voting intentions of the public, and perhaps indicates that despite Matt being the favourite all week, he had very little chance of winning since Kara's votes may well have transferred to Pamela had she been placed in 3rd.

In addition, we can see that the trend for the dancing partners was an important factor in the outcome for this year's competition. Aliona received only 30% of the score that Artem did in the final segment of the show, indicating either that everyone loved Artem or that they did not like Aliona, or both.

This shows again the power of this type of analysis and how it can be used to track a changing public opinion, and give an insight into the reasons why.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Strictly Come Dancing prediction 18th December post-show

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Just as in the show, we have collected tweets up until the 8:30pm cut off, and undertaken analysis on the tweets that were made during the show and immediately before and after. This resulted in approximately 10 thousand tweets being made and downloaded, and we have updated our prediction based on this analysis.

The new ordering based on the public's reaction on Twitter to the performances of the celebrities during the show is:

  1. Matt Baker
  2. Kara Tointon
  3. Pamela Stephenson
This ordering has the same winner as previously, and would indicate that Matt has been a consistent performer in terms of voting intention from the tweeting public, if not the general public.  

However, if we include the scores from their dancing partners as well, then we get a completely different picture.  Previously the scores of the dancing partners were not high enough to alter the overall picture, but in this analysis they are sufficiently high to dramatically alter the ordering, as shown below:
  1. Kara Tointon and Artem
  2. Pamela Stephenson and James
  3. Matt Baker and Aliona
This seems to indicate that the winner is particularly open this year.  The extra score for Kara and Artem may reflect the ongoing story relating to their romance?  If so, it would appear to be a good tactic to obtain additional votes.

We should also comment on Pamela's vote - the demographic of her voting public is likely to be older (as she is also older) and it is unlikely that this demographic is well represented on Twitter.  This may mean that her score is being under represented here.  However as shown above, the three contestants are very close in scores based on the tweets made during the show, so the contest appears to be very tight - anyone can win!

Once the results are out we will revisit the contextual analysis of each of the contestants and see if the Twitter data can give us an additional insight into the reasoning behind the public vote.

Strictly Come Dancing prediction 18th December pre-show

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We are going to do a couple of blog posts this evening, to see if the public are changing their mind on who they would like to win in the Strictly Come Dancing final. Yesterday we published the results of our analysis of Twitter data, which showed that Matt seemed to be the favourite, with Kara second favourite.

However analysis of the tweets up to about 18:30pm tonight show a slight swing towards Pamela Stephenson, with the ordering based only the tweets from today so far and yesterday as:

  1. Matt Baker
  2. Pamela Stephenson
  3. Kara Tointon
We will update this analysis after the show tonight, to see if there are any late surges for any other contestant and whether either of the girls can displace Matt from the number one position.

Note as always, that this analysis is based on Twitter data only, and therefore the demographic of the tweeting public may not match the demographic of the voting public, therefore these results are indicative only.  This is particularly true for Strictly, as we have not analysed this show before the final before, and so do not how well (or badly!) the twitter scores match against the actual voting trends of the general public.