Do Bud sales drive Eagles wins? Or do Eagles wins drive Bud sales…
By Brian Kurz – Data Scientist at Predictive Analytics Group
‘Philly Philly’ – Bud sales drive Eagles wins, or vice versa?
Growing up in the Greater Philadelphia area, I’ve always followed the Eagles. I don’t particularly subscribe to some of the more outspoken and aggressive sects of the fandom, although I can appreciate anyone with enough passion to climb a light post in excitement after an Eagles win. All in good fun, anyone who considers themselves an Eagles fan, or better said – not a Patriots fan was watching anxiously during the post-season in Early 2018. The Birds, against all odds steamrolled into their first ever Superbowl win. During this post-season, there were many Bud Light commercials that aired with a ‘Bud Knight’ with the catch phrase ‘Dilly Dilly.’ It wasn’t until the day before the NFL Conference Championships that a new commercial aired, this time using the catch phrase ‘Philly Philly’ that it became legend. With the Eagles Superbowl win and now famous ‘Philly Special’ – Also known as the ‘Philly Philly’ being one of the ‘Gutsiest play-calls in Superbowl history’1.
The phrase, and Budweiser’s involvement are seen hand in hand with the Eagles post-season march to victory. Intrigued, I wondered – could there be a quantifiable relationship between the Eagles performance, and Budweiser involvement during that post season, or historically. Budweiser’s impact is difficult to measure therefore instead I investigated – ‘What is the relationship between Eagles wins, and Budweiser’s Revenue.’ Unfortunately, Budweiser revenue is only available quarterly2, so a view since the 2015 season as of 11/15/2019 will suffice.
As we can see there seems to be a direct relationship year over year between Budweiser Quarterly revenue and overall Eagles wins, peaking in the 2017-2018 season when the Superbowl was won. This relationship has a R-squared of .69, and a p-value of .07, very close to statistically significant. Many may respond with incredulity, while others may think this relationship obvious. Therefore, lets analyze each possibility.
- Eagles Wins drive Budweiser sales
The first note to make is a big one – Budweiser is a worldwide brand, being present in over 80 countries3 (Though not always under the same trademark). This is in stark contrast to the 4 million people residing in the Greater Philadelphia area. This is a broad generalization as even if all 4 million were Eagles fans this would still make up a fraction of the Budweiser market.
With this knowledge that even an approximated number of Philly fans would have a marginal impact on Budweiser sales, how could they, and what would that mean?
Philly fans are intense, that’s something that has made headlines. With the January 20th proclamation of support for the ‘underdogs’ Budweiser decided to cater towards one of sports most loyal fan bases. Given this known attribute, and a well-placed marketing campaign it is well within reason to assume that on average, Budweiser became a more attractive brand to Eagles fans and supporters. Also, on average Budweiser may be purchased more due to consumer behaviors predisposition towards buying and engaging with brands that cater towards individual interests and sentiments.
So, under the assumption that Eagles fans (albeit small in comparison to their total potential audience) were influenced in the way proposed above there is a possibility that Budweiser sales have been influenced and have increased in the Region. Overall this increase cannot be concluded to have a significant impact on quarterly revenue, due to the multitude of factors and attributes of a multinational, billion-dollar conglomerate. But it’s nice to think there’s a possibility and that in the future a consumer-brand partnership could remain beneficial.
- Budweiser sales drive Eagles Wins
Well, this is a much funnier way of looking at market behavior, and as such will be harder to entertain and ‘prove.’
It has been reported that on average, home teams win between 55-60% of the time4 due in part to a home game advantage consisting of field familiarity, staying in one’s own home, and greater fan engagement. This paired with the knowledge that there are 8 home games a season (50%), and assuming more than 50% of fans at a given home game are fans of the home team (will root for the home team) gives us a basis to work off.
Based on our assumptions I propose that at home games, increased Budweiser sales would imply an increased percentage of Eagles fans that were on average X % more inebriated due to increased Budweiser sales (assuming they weren’t using Budweiser as a complementary good – choosing Budweiser over another brand of beer which would not imply an increased X % of inebriation rather the same amount given abv % held constant). And, due to the associated increased sociability as a function of inebriation up to a certain point we can say; Increased Budweiser sales could lead to an X % increase in inebriation, and therefore an increased amount of sociability and would create a louder, more excited crowd that would inspire the home team and lead to a higher number of home wins. This in turn would increase overall wins in line with our proposal and imply Budweiser sales drives Eagles wins.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, this is a stretch, but the amount of wasted resources to conduct research including clinical studies, consumer behavior studies, and ‘proof’ to back up either of these conclusions would be astounding. That doesn’t mean it’s not a conclusion another might stumble upon which is why I am making an example of it. Unfortunately, correlation does not imply causation and vice versa as much as we might want it to. Do I want Eagles Wins and Budweiser sales to compound each other in an infinite self-fulfilling relationship? Sure! It would be incredibly interesting, downright hilarious and a wonderful talking point. But are they related? More than likely not, but at least we have two solidly implausible arguments for their relationship – and something to fight about during Thanksgiving.
Data is a funny thing; it can give us insight into a problem, or entity, but it can also present false or misleading information. An often-overlooked problem in data science is data quality, cleaning, and validation. If your data is incorrect or your assumptions are misguided, even if your state-of-the-art model boasts a 99% precision and accuracy, it could be less predictive and robust than a simple linear regression. Always Ask Questions about your data, never assume a relationship that hasn’t been tested and above all approach your business problems with a healthy amount of skepticism and empiricism.
Disclaimer: This analysis was done independently using publicly available data and is not associated with Anheuser-Busch or The Philadelphia Eagles.
1Graziano, Dan. “Guts and Glory: Eagles Coach Doug Pederson Had Game for the Ages.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, February 5, 2018. 2“Anheuser-Busch Revenue 2007-2019: BUD.” Macrotrends 3Budweiser. “Budweiser Unveils Rise As One Global Marketing Campaign For 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.” PR Newswire: press release distribution, targeting, monitoring and marketing, June 30, 2018. 4Neil_Paine. “A Home Playoff Game Is A Big Advantage - Unless You Play Hockey.” FiveThirtyEight. FiveThirtyEight, May 10, 2017