Case Study 2: Sportswashing

Can we visualize a relationship between politics and sports?

2 mins read

Exploring the Graph

Case Study 1: Investigating Sportwashing by Bipartite Analysis

Filtering over time

We thought that it could have been interesting to observe the evolution of our graph over time. We focus on a specific example : 2018 Football World Cup. Our idea is that politicians might me speaking more about sport during big events like this.

Then we investigate whether politicians are more connected with sportsmen in summer 2018 compared to summer 2017 and 2019. We build a bipartite graph between politicians and sportsmen for each year.

Summer 2017


Number of edges: 163

Mark Roche is linked to 29 people
Konrad Hurrell is linked to 24 people
Annastacia Palaszczuk is linked to 24 people
Graham Annesley is linked to 24 people
Chris Reykdal is linked to 18 people

Summer 2018


Number of edges: 227

Alex Hawke is linked to 51 people
Peter FitzSimons is linked to 51 people
Becky Wood is linked to 46 people
Andrew Constance is linked to 46 people
Shane Buckley is linked to 40 people

Summer 2019


Number of edges: 151

Dick Moriarty is linked to 32 people
Grant Shapps is linked to 32 people
Israel Folau is linked to 26 people
Penny Wong is linked to 20 people
Peter FitzSimons is linked to 16 people


If we look at the graph and the weighted number of edges, the connections of the graph are stronger during summer 2018. The number of crossing edges is:

  • 2017: 163
  • 2018: 227
  • 2019: 151

However when we observe the names, sportsmen quoted a lot are retired athletes, mostly ex-rugbymen. In the end we don’t observe a lot of football names.

Therefore we cannot really conclude on our statement “politicians talk more about sportsmen during World Cup”. In fact, a politician might talk about a sportsmen in an article, but nothing implies that this sportsmen will be quoted in the same article. A graph based on mutual mention in quotes may have worked better (see annex).

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