The UEFA Euro 2016 competition started in France last week so LexisNexis BIS took a look at social and traditional media coverage of the top seven teams to find out which is the fan favourite to win, and whether media profiles offer insight into the ultimate winners of the competition.
France plays host to Euro 2016 this year, with their first game against Romania at the Stade de France in Paris on the 10th June. Despite the expansion from 16 teams to 24 in this year's competition, the bookmaker's top seven likely winners is a familiar list; France, Germany, Spain, England, Belgium, Portugal, and Italy.
Bookmakers are rarely wrong and while odds are calculated not only on each team's perceived chance of success but their potential for betting popularity, we analysed the media profile of the top seven teams to see if it shows a clear fan favourite. Using LexisNexis Newsdesk, we analysed each team's media profile across social and online news, analysing 'Share of Voice', 'Social Buzz', 'Popular Mentions' and 'Mention Sentiment'.
'Social Buzz' confirms France's position as the bookmakers favourite to win the competition on home soil, although its role as tournament host means the team has unfair advantage when it comes to talk on social media. Home advantage may also have influenced bookmakers' decision to place France as the clear favourite.
Germany and Spain are close behind with odds of 4/1 and 5/1 respectively, and have been battling for second and third place in terms of social buzz since the beginning of March. Germany had more support on social media until the middle of April, when buzz around Spain increased substantially. As the tournament edges nearer, social buzz around the two teams remains pretty consistent.
Although England are fourth favourites to get their hands on the Henri Delaunay Trophy, the team has been a leader in social buzz in the two months leading up to the tournament. Currently, England is a clear second and the buzz surrounding the team has been steadily increasing.
Unsurprisingly bearing in mind the media's interest for the England team, England is dominating 'Share of Voice' of the media profile surrounding the competition at nearly one quarter, with France closely following at just under 22%.
England manager Roy Hodgson has also dominated 'Popular Mentions' in the lead up to the competition, with several of the team's players also making an appearance in the 'Popular Mentions' analysis, led by the striking trio of Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney.
Using LexisNexis Newsdesk's analysis of the sentiment of Hodgson's mentions, the results show that despite a substantial number of articles being negatively focused, sentiment is positive overall. Hodgson's domination of the media landscape, particularly at a time when Manchester United were in the process of replacing former manager Louis van Gaal with Jose Mourinho is extraordinary – as evidenced in the chart below.
Defending champions Spain—who won the title for the third time at Euro 2012—will be looking to retain their crown this year. Using Nexis Analyser to look back at the media profile surrounding the previous competition in Poland and Ukraine shows that predictions based on media profile alone do not always produce accurate results. Whilst Spain enjoyed a brief lead in media profile in the run up to the competition, they fell to a concrete fourth in the month before, yet still went on lift the trophy.
Predicting the winner of this year's competition through media and social sentiment may therefore be unreliable, but analysing the overall media profile of the competition, the leading teams and the individuals people are talking about, does provide insight into other aspects of the tournament.
As fans' favourites, England can expect a great deal of comment if the team exits the tournament early. Despite Michael Owen's pep talk to the England players imploring them to "play without fear", for a team traditionally unable to find the right amount of inspiration on the night, the media hype surrounding their participation may do more harm than good.