450 Words: One Big Weekend

450 Words One Big Weekend

June 11, 2015 6:00pm

Last week was a celebration of all forms of motorcycle racing. From the oldest form of racing—flat track—and Moto X QuarterPipe making their debuts at X Games, to Lucas Oil Pro Motocross being shown live on NBC, and Mike Brown winning gold at 43, various disciplines received huge attention.

It can be debated that interest in X Games amongst core moto fans has declined in recent years. But the games still draw huge numbers when it comes to extreme sports, including moto, which is never a bad thing. In its first trip to Austin in 2014, X Games saw its largest audience—160,000 attendees—while more than 130,000 fans attended the four-day event in 2015.

TV numbers haven’t been released for this year, but in 2014, X Games Austin reached 32 million viewers, up 10 percent from 2013, according to Nielsen ratings.

France’s Thomas Pages won gold in Moto X QuarterPipe with an incredibly bike flip.

We’re not here to debate if X Games is more popular than racing, or if X Games has lost its luster. Any avenue that spotlights the accomplishments of a Mike Brown or Nate Adams or Bryan Smith (flat track gold medalist) to a massive audience and grants them the respect they deserve is okay by me. But, with the X Games reaching a ton of viewers on ESPN, and with Lucas Oil Pro Motocross being shown live on NBC and via the Internet, it sparked a question: How much does an athlete’s recognition rise during this time?

While it’s difficult to quantify such a number, thanks to the guys at HookIt, we do know how many social interactions athletes received during the four days of X Games and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross at Muddy Creek.

We measured social interactions across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook beginning the day prior (June 3) and ending the day after (June 8) competition. As you will see, both the racers at Muddy Creek and the athletes at X Games picked up huge numbers over the weekend.

Below are the top Moto X athletes that medaled during the span.

X Games

Numbers provided by HookIt.
Numbers provided by HookIt.

Nate Adams, who won gold in Moto X Speed and Style, had the most interactions during the time period, garnering sixty-six thousand interactions. He also gained 8,600 new followers. Blake “Bilko” Williams earned silver in Speed and Style and was second in interactions with 59,300. He gained 6,400 followers.

Round four of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross at Muddy Creek took place the same weekend as X Games. How did the top five finishers in each class stack up in regards to social interactions over the same period? HookIt measured the same data, which is below.

250 Class

Numbers provided by HookIt.
Numbers provided by HookIt.

450 Class

Numbers provided by HookIt.
Numbers provided by HookIt.

Ken Roczen, a giant in social media, topped both classes (450 and 250) with 251,900 interactions. Ryan Dungey, who won the 450 overall, trailed with 106,100 interactions, but he did pick up 9,800 new followers compared to 7,200 for Roczen. Adam Cianciarulo led the 250 Class with 87,600 interactions and 7,100 new followers.

The top ten overall was an even split (five to five) amongst freestyle and motocross competitors in regards to social interactions.