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Bengals, Rams Earn Place on Football’s Biggest Stage

Super Bowl Offers Immense Branding Opportunity

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Social Media
February 3, 2022
June 21, 2022
 min read

After the thrills of the NFL’s divisional round playoffs – with all four games ending on the final play – it was reasonable to expect a letdown during conference championship weekend. And throughout much of the first half of Sunday afternoon’s AFC tilt, it appeared the Bengals’ surprise postseason run would unceremoniously end at the hands of the two-time defending conference champion Chiefs. But Cincinnati’s defensive stop to close the second quarter left the door open for what would ultimately be a comeback victory for the ages, sending the Bengals to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1988 season. Their opponent in that Super Bowl was the San Francisco 49ers, who appeared primed for a rematch as they clung to a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship. But like the Bengals earlier in the day, the Los Angeles Rams mounted a comeback to earn a place in Super Bowl LVI, which will be played at the arena they call home – SoFi Stadium. Throughout the back-and-forth action, the four teams collectively used 424 organic social posts to generate $2.9M worth of post value. For the final installment of our NFL playoffs social series, we analyzed text, image, and video content across each of the four teams’ Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter channels last Sunday to establish which franchise attracted the most attention online.

Twitter, Instagram Yield Similar Social Value

The social platform metrics during the NFL’s Super Wild Card Weekend and divisional round playoffs told a similar story. Twitter’s post count dwarfed that of Facebook and Instagram, but IG received roughly half of all post value. However, another constant throughout the first two weekends led to a social shift during the postseason’s penultimate round. The Cincinnati Bengals consistently outperformed their fellow playoff participants on Twitter. As the field dwindled, their dominance on the platform became more impactful to the overall figures. This past weekend, Cincinnati was responsible for 31.93% of the teams’ posts on Twitter and a whopping 65.88% of the total engagements. The team generated $616,319 worth of post value on Twitter alone, helping boost the collective value on the platform among all four teams to $1.17M. The figure narrowly trailed the $1.24M generated by the teams on Instagram, but for the first time this postseason elevated the share of value earned on Twitter above 40%.

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Bengals Buzz Bests the Rest

The Bengals’ performance on Twitter was nearly enough to eclipse each other team’s overall social experience. Their 1.79 million engagements and 33.97 million impressions on the network outnumbered totals across all three platforms for the 49ers, Chiefs, and Rams. But Cincinnati’s social superiority was not limited to Twitter. It also led all four teams in value earned on Facebook and was second to the 49ers by only 0.04% on Instagram, resulting in a total post value of $1.18M for the AFC champions – 77% higher than San Francisco’s total, which finished second in our rankings at $662,471. But the 49ers’ figure was notable for another reason. By generating more post value than the Rams, San Francisco became the first losing team this postseason to finish with a higher total post value than its opponent. Nevertheless, Cincinnati’s supremacy meant the weekend’s winners averaged 66% more engagements and 36.5% more post value than the conference runners-up.

Familiar Finish Leads to Social Echoes

The most electrifying game of this year’s postseason was Kansas City’s overtime victory against the Buffalo Bills in the divisional round. During a furious fourth-quarter comeback, Buffalo QB Josh Allen twice gave his team a late lead. But after the Chiefs tied the game at the end of regulation, they won the coin toss and proceeded to score a touchdown on the first drive of overtime, thus ending the game without allowing Buffalo’s offense to possess the ball. In the AFC Championship, history repeated itself as Kansas City once again forced overtime by making a field goal on the final play of regulation. The similar circumstances prompted Allen to tweet “Pain.” immediately prior to the extra period. The post went viral almost instantaneously. By night’s end, it had earned 554K engagements, more than any other tweet from an NFL player in the last six months and at least 4.6x more than any NFL athlete generated on Sunday. Furthermore, its virality created $190.3K worth of post value, a figure 2.65x higher than Cincinnati’s celebratory post on Instagram, which was the most valuable post among the weekend’s participating teams.

Focus Shifts to Super Bowl LVI

Annually, the Super Bowl is the most-watched sporting event in the U.S. This year’s game figures to be no different, as the Bengals aim to hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in franchise history and the Rams vie to win the sport’s grandest prize in their home stadium. While Los Angeles enters the game as the favorite on the field, fans on social media have abundantly expressed support for the underdog Bengals on social media. Regardless of the game’s outcome, the teams share an unrivaled opportunity to tell their stories and promote their partners before, during, and after the contest. MVP will continue to monitor social metrics as part of our comprehensive Super Bowl LVI report, but we will also use our broadcast platform to showcase viewership trends and the sponsorship valuation journey for brands and partners. Look for it in the coming weeks.

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