By LexisNexis, Special for USDR
What’s a hotter media topic, Super Bowl 50 or the presidential election?
If you’re one of the estimated 189 million people expected to watch, stream, or follow Sunday’s big game – or if you’re a fan of the Panthers or Broncos – you might say the “most super of all Super Bowls” is all anyone’s talking about. If you’re a political junkie and Election 2016 enthusiast, you might err on the side of the tight presidential primary race.
Actually, you’d both be right. Kind of.
It’s certainly no secret that coverage of the candidates has become a daily breaking news topic in America’s newsrooms. Fierce rivalries have surfaced as President Obama prepares to exit the White House, and an atmosphere has been created in which everything from frontrunner lead changes to casual comments on the trail become front page stories. Adding fuel to the media fire is the fact that primary races on both sides are only getting tighter.
The Iowa caucuses were the first true test of candidates’ mettle, and the days leading up to and following the events show some interesting trends. Data visualization powered by LexisNexis®Newsdesk tells a compelling story.
While Democrat Hillary Clinton has seen more ink and air time than her rival Bernie Sanders throughout the campaign cycle, her narrow victory in Iowa leveled the playing field: Clinton and Sanders are now enjoying nearly equal share of voice.
Meanwhile, coverage of the two leading GOP candidates, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, has begun to even out after Cruz’s win inIowa. Prior to the caucus, Trump enjoyed both a lead in the polls and nearly threefold the coverage of any other Republican candidate. Now, he and Cruz are in a dead heat for media share of voice. Even with candidates dropping out of the Republican race, there’s still plenty of fodder for articles, blog posts, news releases and broadcasts.
What does all this media coverage have to do with football? Quite a lot, actually. Super Bowl 50 is the first event to even come close to challenging the firm grip of primary season on media coverage. It may seem counterintuitive that with only eight days between theIowa caucuses and the Feb. 9 New Hampshire primary, there wouldn’t be a chance for media coverage to wane. Not so, say researchers at LexisNexis.
Even as the calendar creeps closer to the next primary election, media coverage of the Super Bowl is on the rise. In fact, Sunday’s big game now enjoys nearly the same share of voice as coverage of the presidential race in general. What’s more, according to the LexisNexis analysis of all print, radio, broadcast and digital media in the U.S., Super Bowl coverage has officially surpassed that of the top five presidential candidates combined.
As in every election season, media coverage will shift again. Share of voice and sentiment will fluctuate week by week, day by day, hour by hour… that much is true. But it’s also true that Sunday’s Panthers-Broncos matchup is almost as exciting to Americans as this year’s race to the White House. Could it beat out election-related coverage by Sunday? Or will the fever of Election 2016 continue to dominate news cycles?
Just like the outcomes of the primaries, it’s impossible to predict with 100 percent certainty. But LexisNexis analysis will soon tell the story. For more insights on the intersection of media and the presidential election, follow the LexisNexis Biz Blog or connect on Twitter @LexisNexisBiz.
Data and information powered by LexisNexis Newsdesk.