The Germans’ new Wonderwall is a Giant form the darts world
The PDC Darts World Championship has just concluded, and both British and German audiences were overjoyed with how it played out. Read the story that our online data tells about the sports event!
The 2023 PDC World Darts Championship took place in Alexandra Palace (Ally Pally), London, between December 15, 2022, and ended on January 3, 2023. Being the most prestigious event of the darts world, thousands of fans follow the championship across continents, and especially in Europe. To evaluate opinions and shed light on its appearance in online media, we’ve collected and analyzed mentions of the game and five of the most important players, in four European countries (Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium and the Netherlands), between the 1st of December and the 15th of January. The countries were chosen because some of the most successful players of the tournament hail from these places.
The event had the highest mention numbers in the Netherlands and in the UK, and there was still some decent interest in Germany, but there were very few mentions in Belgium. The championship had more positive than negative mentions in each country, but the Germans especially expressed warm opinions, as can be seen in the Net Sentiment Score chart. The reason behind this is Gabriel Clemens’ (nicknamed the German Giant) performance: he became the first German player ever to get to the semifinals at the PDC World Championship.
The Net Sentiment Score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of negative online mentions from the percentage of positive online mentions for a brand.
Besides Germany, fans from the UK were also naturally very happy about how the event unfolded, since an English player, Michael Smith ended up winning the championship for the first time. In the Netherlands, the ratios of favorable and unfavorable opinions were much closer to each other, as their three-time champion Michael van Gerwen lost the final match against Smith.
It was in the Netherlands that the event had the most versatile coverage in terms of platforms, too: users mentioned it on forums, Facebook and Twitter, and the press also covered it in almost 5000 online articles in the examined period. In the UK and Belgium, Facebook was the most dominant, while in Germany there was also a high number of articles (over 500), but forums were not significant.
Which pieces of content expressed the mood in the four countries best?
As mentioned previously, the Germans were overjoyed with Gabriel Clemens, singing along to his walk-on music, Wonderwall, and affectionately referring to him as ‘Gaga’; and all the most engaging content tells this story. Sky Sports DE reported on his success both on Instagram and Facebook, and had the highest amount of interactions on the posts, but other sites also took part, like Blaulichtreport-Saarland (Clemens is from Saarland) and dartn.de.
The biggest interaction peak in the UK was caused by the official Twitter account of PDC Darts, because retweeters of this tweet could win tickets to the final. Sky Sports, much like in Germany, also generated a lot of engagement in the UK around the event. Other than this, what the audience loved was of course posts about Michael Smith’s win, like this one by St Helens Star’s Facebook, but also this tweet again on PDC Darts’ official channel. Fans in the UK had one more player to root for though: the Welsh competitor Gerwyn Price, who - unfortunately to them - suffered a big loss against Clemens.
The Belgian audience was rather only interested in their own players: the match between Belgium’s Dimitri Van den Bergh (“Dancing Dimi”) and Kim Huybrechts, and later, van den Bergh’s exit were the topics of the posts that collected the highest amount of reactions and comments.
Funnily enough, the top post in the Netherlands came from De Speld Sport, a site which generates entertaining fake news about athletes: they wrote that footballer Mohamed Ihattaren, who has recently had a fair amount of scandalous press coverage anyway, even ranked at the bottom of the PDC Darts World Championship. Other than this, the dramatic final match between Smith and van Gerwen of course ranked among the top content, as reported by dumpert.nl, for example.
What did the audience think of top players?
To answer this question, we’ve collected mentions of Michael Smith (yellow), Gerwyn Price (red), Michael van Gerwen (blue), Peter Wright (gray) and Gabriel Clemens (green), and, using Neticle’s sentiment analysis, scored the mentions based on the polarity and strength of the expressions found in them. The Net Sentiment Score chart below shows that Gerwyn Price was the only one about whom the audience formed more negative opinions than positive ones, at least in three countries out of the four.
This is due to his devastating loss against Clemens, during which match he tried to block out the distractingly loud German audience by wearing earmuffs, and afterwards said that he might never play in this championship again.
The Closing Web Opinion Index chart also shows the overall amount of love pouring in, not only the positive minus negative ratios.
Here we can see that the overall winner, Michael Smith was the most loved player of the championship (yellow columns), but the Germans seemed to love Gabriel Clemens (green) much more than what the British expressed towards Smith, and they were enthusiastic about Michael van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price and Peter Wright as well.
All in all, it looks like the audience was super engaged with the World Championship in most places, even if darts is not the most mainstream sport. The national champions brought a lot of joy and kindled newfound enthusiasm towards darts, especially in Germany.