As the silliest scandal in sports rages on with no end in sight, one question lingers as much as the doubts over the scientific validity of Bill Belichick’s deflategate theory: is this really a big deal?
That depends on who you ask. The story that’s played out in the media is that the Patriots’ fans find the whole situation petty and overblown, while the Patriots’ enemies (of whom there are many) are the ones fanning the flames.
Looking at audience engagement with Deflategate last week, the data tells a slightly different story, however.
Boston audiences are lapping up the coverage much more than other populations “affected” by the scandal. Anxiety over where the investigation might lead? Desperation for closure? Or is Deflategate simply becoming the latest rallying cry for Pats’ Nation in their “us against the world” outlook?
→ Deflategate might seem like an overblown media creation, but overall user engagement largely kept pace with the volume of stories published on the scandal. The height of attention came on Saturday, January 24 — the day of Bill Belichick’s surprise science class on all the ways his team’s footballs could have lost air pressure without anyone tampering with them.
→ iPhone users were much more engaged with Deflategate stories than their Android counterparts (61% to 23%).