Birmingham, Ala. -- Another historic SEC Media Days is now a week behind us. The well-attended three day event at the Wynfrey Hotel serves as the official "kickoff" to the 2012 football season, as we get prepared for what many league fans hope is another championship level year in the SEC.
While the excitement and coverage level for media (1,085 credentials issued/33 radio stations broadcasting live) continues to grow, the same can be said for the conference's fans. In today's column, I break down just who watched SEC Media Days on the league website, while also comparing trends from a year ago. This does not include any traffic from ESPNU, which televised the event, or the ability to watch press conferences on any of the Watch ESPN apps. These numbers are strictly from the SEC website.
Why only two years of stats? Well, the SEC website has only shown a live stream for three years total, and the first year it was put together in a very short time period. The past two years are a more proper barometer for comparison, just due to the implementation and time frame of the event coverage.
For the sake of this article, no actual traffic numbers will be released. But, the rankings and trends come straight from Google's analytic tracker and will be examined below.
The Top 10 States (Total Viewers)
4. South Carolina
9. South Carolina
10. North Carolina
10. North Carolina
Analysis: HOWDY! Texas A&M fans were clearly excited to be watching their first SEC Media Days, as the state jumped from 8th overall in 2011 to number one a year later. There were more Texas eyeballs on the SEC website in 2012 than Alabama fans in 2011. Granted, there is a much large population in Texas.
Missouri fans were also pumped, as they jumped from 19th (2011) to 7th (2012). Also of note is North Carolina, a state without an SEC team, being in the top 10 both years.
Point Of Reference: Just how many people watched SEC Media Days on the conference website in Texas? The total Texas numbers were as much as numbers seven (Missouri), eight (Mississippi) and nine (South Carolina) combined. Also, states number 13 and 15 in total viewers were New York and California, respectively. The least watched state? Maine.
The Top 10 Cities (Total Viewers)
1. Birmingham (AL)
1. Houston (TX)
2. Atlanta (GA)
2. Dallas (TX)
3. Columbia (SC)
3. Atlanta (GA)
4. Nashville (TN)
4. Birmingham (AL)
5. Knoxville (TN)
5. New Orleans (LA)
6. Little Rock (AR)
6. Baton Rouge (LA)
7. Shannon (AL)
7. Nashville (TN)
8. Jackson (MS)
8. Knoxville (TN)
9. Huntsville (AL)
9. College Station (TX)
10. Baton Rouge (LA)
10. Huntsville (AL)
Analysis: Houston is now SEC country. Two Texas towns were tops in total viewers in 2012, experiencing a large jump from their totals a year ago. Houston had over double the amount of traffic, while Dallas nearly doubled as well.
The biggest jump in Texas came from College Station, who had 18 times the amount of traffic watching the event than in 2011. While that can definitely be attributed to Texas A&M being in the league this year, that significant of an increase speaks to the Aggie's excitement of being in the conference. Atlanta and Birmingham remain loyal SEC towns, along with Nashville and Knoxville.
Point Of Reference: Nearly as many people watched the live stream in Charlotte (NC) as did in Chicago (IL). The city of St. Louis (MO) had five times as many watchers in 2012 than 2011. Columbia, Missouri experienced a 22-fold increase. New York City had more viewers than Jacksonville, Tampa and Orlando combined.
The SEC Social Network
How did fans find the SEC website? Google was the preferred method, with almost 40 percent using the popular search engine to find our Media Days Central page. The rest of the top 10 traffic sources are listed below.
2. Direct Traffic To SEC Website
3. Facebook (Both from SEC page and others)
4. Twitter (Both from SEC page and others)
5. Facebook Mobile
6. Referrals from www.texags.com
9. Referrals from www.tigerdroppings.com
10. Referrals from www.al.com
Analysis: Social media interaction is powerful. As we already know, many of the league's fans get their news from Facebook and Twitter, and are even doing so now on their mobile devices. While desktop search engines remain impactful (three of top 10), being able to spread the word internally is just as important.
These numbers also show there is strength in community, with two inclusive websites referring traffic. Fans want to watch among groups they converse with on a daily basis, whether in real life or online.
Point Of Reference: There were 812 different types of referring search engines or websites that linked to SEC Media Days. That's a lot.
-- 52 percent of visitors to the SEC website during last week's event were calculated as "new" by Google.
-- Apple dominated mobile viewing of this event, as the Iphone and IPad were the two most used devices in this capacity, combining for 72 percent of the final mobile total.
-- SEC fans couldn't get enough of the schedule. After the media days page, the most popular story on the website last week was the release of the early season TV games.
-- 98 percent of fans viewing the page came from the United States. No one else registered more than .20 of a percent.
-- Internet Explorer is still by far the most popular web browser amongst SEC fans. 37 percent of those that viewed used the Microsoft product.