Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Who's searching for LeBron James?

In the previous post we analyzed the trend and seasonality in Google searches for Kobe Bryant. But how do these compare to the other most talked about superstar of the moment, Lebron James?

Here's the raw data from Google Trends:

Using the same decomposition analysis detailed in the Kobe Bryant post, we get the following results:

So what can we observe?

Well, the overall trend has been an increase since 2008 although there was a significant uplift in mid-2010 followed by a drop early 2011. Things have pretty much flattened since.

Similarly to Kobe, their is a strong seasonality in the searches, the amplitude of which has steadily increased over time. But unlike Kobe for whom the pattern was rather complex with a clear distinction between off-season, regular season and playoffs, Lebron's searches are not very different during the off-season and regular season, they only take off at the end of the season and during the playoffs.

But the residuals are really interesting here: look at that massive spike in July 2010. The playoffs were over by then, so what happened?

Well, Lebron became one of the most hated athletes (except in Florida perhaps) as he announced in a big show called "The Decision" that he would leave for the Miami Heat in the following season.

The other two spikes are in June, the first one when the Miami Heat lost to Dallas in the Finals, the second when Miami beat Oklahoma in the Finals.

However, if queries continue to spike regularly in June, the decomposition will incorporate those spikes as part of the seasonality, and the only big outliers will be major events like "The Decision" (there are rumors of Lebron returning to Cleveland, I anticipate an even bigger spike if that happens one day).

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