The World Cup opens tomorrow. For my fellow Americans, many of whom may have no idea that the US is in it, you might want to check out my personal experiences living in World Cup-mad Eng-er-land at the moment. And now the run-up to search and soccer is starting. Hitwise: World Cup and Soccer Searches over at iMedia Connection covers stats from Hitwise showing how Yahoo sent the official FIFA World Cup site the most traffic -- no surprise given Yahoo's a key sponsor. You can also see what soccer players are most popular among US searchers, with former women's team player Mia Hamm leading the pack.
I don't see any of this data over at the Hitwise analyst weblogs yet or in news releases. But watch the blogs. I guarantee Bill Tancer or one of his colleagues will jump in to do a big giant thing now, since the relatively sparse data out there now is already getting my attention.
And another bet. If you looked for the most popular searched for football payer based on UK data recently, it would be Wayne Rooney. A nation over here is relieved that his toe has healed (ok, ok, his metatarsal) and he'll be able to play.
Hey, I don't need no stinkin' Hitwise. Here's a Google trends chart. Just look at the spike. Here, compare to superstar David Beckham (my claim to fame -- his kid and my kid were both in the same group that drove cars at Legoland a few years ago). The chart also shows Theo Walcott, recently named to the team with much amazement. Theo's spike is nothing like Wayne's and David hardly get it up at all. Here's also a UK specific view.
Postscript: Heck, Hitwise was already moving in the UK. Heather Hopkins has just posted UK stats here: Wayne Rooney Injury, David Beckham Hairstyles and Peter Crouch Dance. And while Wayne Rooney did have a spike, Peter Crouch and his robot dance seems to have pushed that player past Rooney in terms of searches recently. Google Trends doesn't show that -- but Google Trends doesn't run into May, when Crouch spike happened. Also from Hitwise PR side, a list of top footballers searched for in the UK:
Most Searched-for World Cup Footballers Week Ending 3rd June 2006
2 Steven Gerrard
3 Peter Crouch
4 David Beckham
5 Wayne Rooney
6 Cristiano Ronaldo
7 Frank Lampard
8 Thierry Henry
10 Theo Walcott