Analysis by Graphs •

The photographic coverage of professional football & college basketball championships now transcends the actual athletic performances.  Evidence for this?

Only half the photographic coverage of both the Super Bowl and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship actually pictured the games themselves.

The four pie charts and 10 bar graphs below give a comparative overview of how 16 major news and sports websites covered the Super Bowl and the NCAA men’s basketball championship game — how much attention media gave to the “game,” and how much to to the surrounding entertainment culture.

The pie charts highlight the following points:

  • News outlets, taken overall, covered the “game” of football and basketball in remarkably similar ways.  Across the 16 sports and news outlets considered in the SportPix study, researchers found that roughly half of the photographs of the two events covered the on-the-field and on-the-court action, together with shots of players, coaches and scenes on the sidelines.  There were distinctions in what those “game” photos showed, but most of the differences reflected how the sports themselves are played — far more goal opportunities in basketball, for instance, led to three times more shots of scoring play in the NCAA than Super Bowl coverage.

Click to enlarge

This chart represents the breakdown of the “game-related” images (the blue wedge)  in the Super Bowl pie chart below.  Click to enlarge.

NCAA Game Photo chart

This chart represents the breakdown of the “game-related” images (the blue wedge) in the NCAA pie chart below. Click to enlarge.


  • But there were significant differences in what was covered beyond the play action.  Media covering the Super Bowl committed a significant percentage of their “sports hole” to photographs of Beyoncé’s halftime show, to general scenes of New Orleans and the stadium, and even to photos of the famed Super Bowl ads — in other words, the entertainment culture surrounding the game.  Media covering the NCAA Championship, by contrast, committed a significant percentage of their coverage to the fans, the award ceremony and the post-game celebration — in other words, media  more focused on the “sport” of the event.

Caption

This pie chart represents how breakdown of how all media photographically covered the Super Bowl, divided by the “content” of the image.  Click to enlarge.

Caption

This pie chart represents how breakdown of how all media photographically covered the Super Bowl, divided by the “content” of the image. Click to enlarge.


For a more in-depth evaluation, consider the following bar graphs below.  They document  how the specific sports outlets evaluated in this study apportioned their photo coverage of the Super Bowl and the NCAA Championship game among various categories of coverage, from on-the-field action to halftime coverage to post-game pictures.

  • Note for example that news outlets across the board ran more photos of the winners —   Baltimore Ravens and the Louisville Cardinals — than the losers… LOTS more.  Some of that imbalance was due to extensive post-game coverage, but not all of it.   Sports outlets also ran more photos of plays by the winning teams than by the losing teams.
Click each graph to see larger versions.  Note several of the charts show the coverage of more than one media outlet.
B:R Boards

Bleacher Report

CBS NCAA:SB Boards

CBS Sports


ESPN NCAA:SB Boards

ESPN

Fox:NBC Boards

NBC & Fox Sports


NFL:Yahoo:SBN

NFL.com / Yahoo! Sports / SB Nation

SI Boards

Sports Illustrated


USA Today Both Event Boards

USA Today


The following bar graphs roughly show how the hometown outlets of each team in the Super Bowl (the Baltimore Sun & the San Francisco Chronicle) and the NCAA Championship (the Detroit Free Press & the Louisville Courier Journal) — as well as the online papers for the venues of the games (Atlanta Journal Constitution & the New Orleans Times Picayune) apportioned their photo coverage among various categories of coverage, from on-the-field action to halftime coverage to post-game pictures.

Click each graph to see larger versions.  
BaltSun:SFC Boards1

Baltimore Sun & San Francisco Chronicle

Detroit/Louisville Boards

Detroit Free Press & Louisville Courier Journal

 

Stadium Boards

Atlanta Journal Constitution & the New Orleans Times Picayune


NB:  The total number of photos pinned to Pinterest during both the Super Bowl and NCAA championship game was 3,274.  
Researchers applied the same collection methodology for all the news outlets studied.  It is likely that the researchers on this survey did not collect every photograph published, and, on occasion, certain photographs that could be viewed were not collectible by Pinterest.  The total number of photographs studied, therefore, should be understood to be representative of those published on the news outlets, not an absolute set of all photographs published on all sites.  
Note that the total listed at the top of the SportPix Pinterest homepage is a subset of that number.  That pin count reflects only the number of pins added directly through the ICMPA Research account and does not include pins from researchers on group boards.