Using Google trends to measure college football rivalries

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“According to Google Trends data from the last five years, there’s an equal amount of search interest in the Army vs. Navy rivalry as there is in the Michigan vs. Ohio State football rivalry,” says Sue Zoldak, owner of the Zoldak Agency, a digital public affairs firm in Washington, D.C. that specializes in grassroots and social media. “This is probably an unexpected statistic for the average or casual college football fan who incorrectly assumes that Army vs. Navy is for a niche audience. Obviously, Navy’s success is the most important factor in the program’s popularity, but also the repetitive nature of Army-Navy and playing that game most often in Philadelphia in the 3 p.m. mid-afternoon time slot. The annual nature of time and place and opponent matters a lot,” says Zoldak.

“When you take at the Google Trends data by state, what stands out is the online interest in most of Navy’s key recruiting hotbeds outside of the Midwest. This speaks to Navy’s success driving popularity in the program and in the program’s biggest game of the season,” Zoldak says.

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