Forget Pumpkin Spiced Lattes: It’s Football Season!
Who says soap operas have all the drama?
The start of the football season has already proven to have an abundance of drama, mostly sparked by the turmoil with Antonio Brown. The infamous wide receiver, currently now a “FREEEE” agent after the Raiders cut him, has had his name in the spotlight with his odd foot injury and more recently with sexual assault allegations. Brown has had several quick stints with multiple teams already this season, including the Oakland Raiders and the New England Patriots.
Curious about how the publicity affected the player, we took a look at the search volume for Antonio Brown on Google from August 2018 to September 2019.
Year-over-year for the month of August, Brown’s search volume has increased over 600%. For September the volume rose 2300% over September 2018.
Other players have had some increase in search volume including fan-favorite, New England Patriots Drew Brees. Brees’ volume of searches increased by over 300% YoY for the month of September from 2018 to 2019.
On the other end of the spectrum, Khalil Mack, outside linebacker for the Chicago Bears, has seen a decline in the number of searches for his name YoY. His search numbers declined from the high volumes of 2018, down almost 90% for both August and September this current season.
Football Fans Show Loyalty Online
Frenzied football fans don’t just search for specific players; they also spend a lot of time searching for news and sites about their favorite teams. We looked at data surrounding traffic to team pages for NFL teams August 2018 – September 2019 to get an idea of how loyal fans are to their favorite teams online.
As a whole, the Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams, and New York Jets have pretty loyal fans based on the traffic to team pages. In the time period analyzed, the three teams maintained positive growth for searches for their team pages, although the Rams saw a slight decline in August and September of 2019.
The New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints have shown great growth in traffic this season: both teams are up over 120% in search volume for August and September 2019.
The Cowboys and Packers have the biggest fanbases in terms of site traffic, both bringing in more than 6M site visitors in August and September of 2019.
New Year, New Gear
August is a big month for NFL gear. It’s a new sports year, so fans want new gear. We see the highest number of sales for gear on both sites in August, more than double than what it was in subsequent months. Fanatics.com is the winner in terms of traffic and conversions throughout the season.
As the season progresses, conversions on both marketplaces taper off. For the current season, conversions on Fanatics.com dropped by half from August to September 2019.
It’s interesting to see the flood of obsession in football teams, gear, and players as the season begins, and how it slows down over the following months. Football players have become celebrities in their own rights, and drive much of the online searches during the season and beyond.