With the conclusion of the college football season, and National Signing Day just a week and a half away, fans of all kinds have turned their attention to YouTube. Whether it’s watching recruiting videos, catching old games, or reliving the highlights; with no “original content”, so to speak, being produced on the field, video remains the best way for fans to get their fix of watching Duck football.
All of which made me wonder, what are people watching when they search for “Oregon Ducks” on YouTube? What I found was that the most-watched videos seem to break down into these eight categories:
Most Watched (views): Gangnam Style Parody – The Oregon Duck (7.2 million), Oregon Marching Band – Gangnam Style (6.1 million), I Love My Ducks (Return of the Quack) – Supwitchugirl (2 million), I Love My Ducks (I Smell Roses) (1.5 million), Harlem Shake Oregon Duck (1 million)
Amazingly, four of the five most-watched videos of the Oregon Ducks on YouTube are with songs; each of which feels as dated now as it was popular then. (The Harlem Shake, anyone?)
The Gangnam Style Parody, generally considered one of the few acceptable parodies of the original version — the best part of that video of Psy watching, are the parodies in which he seems to have absolutely no clue regarding the context for The Duck, despite having attended college in the United States — actually did something to expand the Oregon brand internationally. Despite having 1/300th the views that the original Gangnam Style video has, I have heard from Duck fans living in South Korea that the growth in popularity of the Ducks there can be at least partly attributable to this video.
Most Watched (views): Oregon Ducks (Never Scared) (1.3 million), Oregon Ducks Football 2013-2014 Pump Up Rise HD (1 million), HD Oregon Ducks “Levels” Pump Up (700,000), Oregon Motivational: Rose Bowl 2012 (600,000), Mighty Oregon Football (HD) (600,000)
From the numbers, I’m not really sure what makes a popular ‘team’ video. While all of these videos are done well in one way or another, it is amazing that: 1) the three most-watched videos are fan productions and not official videos made by the school or other media outlets, and 2) I would never expect that the most-watched team highlight video would be one that features still images, soundtracked by music from Madden 04.
Most Watched (views): De’Anthony Thomas (The Black Mamba) 1080p HD (1.5 million), De’Anthony Thomas Highlights 2012 Season (1.2 million), Ultimate LaMichael James Highlights [NEW] (2012 Draft 61st Pick – San Francisco 49ers) (600,000), De’Anthony Thomas (400,000), LaMichael James 2010 Oregon Highlights (400,000)
While we won’t know how losing De’Anthony Thomas will impact the Ducks on the field until next fall, we do know they are losing their most celebrated player — in terms of highlights in the internet age — in team history. Oregon running backs appear especially popular on YouTube, with Thomas, LaMichael James, and Thomas Tyner making up the seven most-watched videos of any Oregon player. The most-watched highlight video of any non-running back? That distinction belongs to Casey Matthews.
Most Watched (views): University of Oregon Cheerleader Live Pre Game Performance U of O vs. Purdue 2009 (700,000), University of Oregon Cheerleader Live Pre Game Performance U of O vs. Utah 2009 (600,000), Oregon Cheerleaders in HD from the 2011 Civil War (200,000), Oregon Ducks THE Hottest Cheerleaders In The Nation (200,000), Oregon All Access: 2012 Oregon Cheer Tryouts (200,000)
It would appear that, yes, the cheerleading squad is also a popular group of Oregon athletes.
Athletic Facilities Tours
Most Watched (views): Inside the Oregon Locker Room with Bryan Bennett (600,000), University of Oregon Ducks Locker Room Tour w/ Dennis Dixon (500,000), The University of Oregon Has Some Pimpin’ Facilities (200,000)
While Oregon’s “pimpin’ facilities” are shrouded in mystery, that secrecy drives web traffic, with millions of viewers coming to YouTube to watch various videos exploring Oregon’s facilities. Each one is hosted by a different Oregon player, so there is something mildly amusing about the tour guide from the most-watched video of their facilities being the starting quarterback for the Southeastern Louisana Lions, ex-Duck Bryan Bennett.
The Duck’s Hijinks
Six-and-a-half years later, video of The Duck brawling with the Houston Cougar remains popular, which means only one thing: YouTubers love mascot violence.
Most Watched (views): 2011-09-03 – #4 LSU Tigers vs. #3 Oregon Ducks in Arlington, TX (200,000), 2013 Fiesta Bowl: Oregon Ducks vs. Kansas State Wildcats (FULL GAME) (200,000)
*glares in the direction of Baton Rouge for making this the most watched Duck game on YouTube*
It is possible that old games don’t get the same number of hits as other videos do because some may get pulled by the holders of the copyrights before they can be widely shown. Which is too bad, because YouTube is the perfect venue for old games; especially since those networks rarely make those games available for purchase. The networks could upload the videos on their own YouTube channels, and gain the ad revenue from them, but instead they choose to leave fans to fend for themselves in finding other means for watching classic games.
Most Watched (views): Fish Oregon Spread Offense Tutorial #1: The Inside Zone Read (200,000)
Why, hello, shameless website self-promotion, I almost didn’t see you there.
Of course, these numbers aren’t static, a lot can change that would vault some other viral sensation ahead of many of these. As we head into the off-season, many new videos should come to light as fans find different ways to fill their Saturdays until the fall. We’ll wait to see if any of those can rise to the top.