On Wednesday (July 16), the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards (or ESPYs) on ESPN lit up Twitter feeds around the globe, with more than 1.1 million tweets sent during the show. The show was hosted by Drake – Toronto Raptors global ambassador and recording artist – whose parody performances and outlandish jokes throughout the evening caused sports fans, artists, and music lovers to flock to Twitter and share their favorite moments.
In response to the massive volume of viewer-provided content surrounding Drake, a visualization was made public courtesy of Twitter Reverb showing Drake’s most-mentioned #ESPYS moments. The chart helps viewers visualize how their conversations unfold on Twitter (See @TwitterReverb).
— Twitter Reverb (@TwitterReverb) July 17, 2014
A Tweet from @ESPN helped create the first major spike in show-related activity with more than 6.7K retweets and 5k viewers liking the post.
— ESPN (@espn) July 17, 2014
Drake’s spoof video, performed with Los Angeles Clippers Blake Griffin and cameo appearance by known rival Chris Brown, caused another major spike in Twitter activity. The conversations peaked on Twitter as a result, at one point during the skit at 7,600 tweets per minute (or TPM).
The most memorable performance of the night ignited a Twitter blaze, as Drake’s #SterlingNeverLovedUs performance caused viewers to post at an accelerated rate of 20,325 TPM. The parody song ruthlessly made fun of LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who is currently banned from the NBA league after being caught making racist comments during a phone conversation his girlfriend.
In response to the performance, recording artist Demi Lovato tweeted “#STERLINGNEVERLOVEDUS well done drake..”, which helped spur the storm of tweets, receiving 5.6K retweets and 8.5K Twitter likes.
#STERLINGNEVERLOVEDUS well done drake…
— Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) July 17, 2014
Drake’s musical performances dominated the night’s top moments, causing an accelerated volume of tweets. Drake’s “Honorable Mentions” song not only made fun of runners up in sports but also did not shy away from kindly mocking fellow recording artists like Iggy Azalea and Macklemore. The song debut caused 13,351 TPM.
Drake’s last song of the evening, “Side Pieces,” ended the show with a bang. The unforgettable performance featured 16 times Grammy Award nominee Brian McKnight and spurred 19,550K TPM.
As a result of Drake’s debut performance, “Side Pieces” charted No. 1 on Billboard’s Trending 140 as well as “Honorable Mentions,” which peaked at No. 4. As seen in the analytical proof, Drake’s performance as ESPYS host made a massive social impact online as well as creating a very memorable awards show.