One in four web users in the US visited sites in the sports category during the week of July 31,? according to data from The Nielsen Company. Compared to weeks during the off-season, the flurry of activity to NFL’s network of sites during the first full week after the NFL lockout ended more than doubled their audience. About 42.5 million Americans stopped by, for?a 258% increase in unique US visitors.
Yahoo Sports attracted the highest number of visitors, with 14.9 million unique US visitors during the week ending July 31, which is about 8.9% of active web users.
The ESPN Digital Network followed with 9.5 million visitors, while Major League Baseball winds down the top five list with 4.9 million visitors for the week. Historically the months of August and September are the busiest for sports sites,?Nielsen said.
Among NFL teams, the NY Jets generated the most online buzz during the off-season from blogs, message boards/groups, Twitter, Facebook, and online news posts. The Dallas Cowboys continue to generate national interest in online discussions, although they were topped by their rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles, who led NFC teams and were second in overall pre-season buzz. The NY Giants, and their regional rival, the New England Patriots, round out the top five teams with the most pre-season buzz.
Looking at players who have changed teams ahead of the 2011 season, Reggie Bush received the most buzz during the off-season with 194k mentions. In comparing buzz about NFL players who joined new teams through free-agency or trade in recent weeks, Plaxico Burress led this group of players with more than 13 thousand mentions during the week of July 31 – August 6, followed by Reggie Bush, Nnamdi Asomugha, Chad Ochocinco, and Donovan McNabb.