The news broke at 12:29 p.m. Four years after LeBron James announced he was taking his talents to South Beach in an on-air extravaganza with ESPN, SI.com released a personal essay by Lebron explaining why he was coming home.
How did the internet react? The SI.com article has the highest Twitter shares, with over 130,000 at the time this post was published. ESPN’s coverage got over 30,000 likes, shares and comments on Facebook.
But it wasn’t just the sports websites that cared about LeBron. In just four hours after the announcement, 15% of total views across Parse.ly‘s network of over 200 online publishing websites were on articles about LeBron James.
In the same four hour time period, 900 articles with “Lebron” in the title were viewed over a 1 million times. Audiences on Parse.ly tracked websites consumed over 5,000 page views a minute on a LeBron story.
Readers didn’t wait for their friends to post the news. Only 7% of traffic to stories about LeBron came from social referrals, mostly Twitter and Facebook, while 23% came from search.
Google shows that 2 million searches for LeBron James were performed since Wednesday, July 9, double the amount that “Brazil vs Germany” or “Argentina vs. Netherlands” received. Though, according to Google Trends, the search traffic hasn’t reached the peak he received in July 2010.
If you’re not a sports fan, and are wondering exactly why millions of people care about Lebron James:
The Cavaliers won more playoff games in 7 seasons with LeBron James (42) than in 37 seasons without him (28).
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 11, 2014