According to emotion measurement AI company Canvs, sports programming was by far the biggest drivers of emotions among TV viewers from June 1 through August 7 — even more so than news or reality TV. And leading the way, unsurprisingly, was the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which resulted in over a million of Emotional Reactions (ERs) from viewers across the four-week tournament.
In the top ten most emotionally reacted-to programs during the period measured, all but two were sports-related (the 2018 BET Awards and Big Brother made the list at number 6 and number 10, respectively).
This is a bit of a departure from last year, where during the same time frame multiple non-sports programs made the top ten list, including HBO’s stalwart Game of Thrones (which isn’t returning until 2019), Pretty Little Liars, Big Brother and The Bachelorette.
But when it comes to specific drivers of emotion, Donald Trump wins (no shocker there), followed by the New York Yankees, who recently prompted scorn as they were swept by the Boston Red Sox, and Cristiano Ronaldo, who made waves during the World Cup.
Here’s the full top ten list of emotional drivers for the period measured, mostly dominated by World Cup teams and players.
As (American) football gears up and fall TV show premieres start landing, will sports remain king when it comes to viewer emotion? Or will other types of programming win out? Stay tuned.