Argentina’s Diego Maradona dominated the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. He scored five goals and led Argentina to the title.
Adrien Friggeri and Mike Develin of Facebook Data Science analysed the number of Diegos born in Argentina during the 1980s. They found a remarkable spike during the 1986 World Cup.
Before the World Cup between 1% and 1.5% of babies were named Diego. During the week of the final, that jumped to 5.5%.
Friggeri and Develin explain:
“As a proxy for the popularity of the name Diego, we measured the percentage of males born on any given day who were given that name. The [chart above] shows that quantity between January 1st, 1985 and December 31st, 1987 — roughly 18 months before and after the World Cup. From the beginning of 1985 up to May 1986, the name’s popularity remains steady, despite seasonal variations, with between 1% and 1.5% of babies being named Diego. Going into the World Cup, that quantity surges, culminating in more than 5.5% of baby boys born on the week of the final being named Diego — this essentially means that 1 in 25 baby boys should have received another name but was named after Maradona instead. It then took roughly 6 months to get back to pre-World Cup values, stabilizing at a slightly lesser popularity.”
The power of the World Cup.
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