NBA’s Social Media Domination
When it comes to American sports leagues, dominating social media is now one of the top priorities. The National Basketball Association (NBA) seems to be the most popular around the world and the one that has best adapted to social networks to exploit the popularity it generates.
Because of stars like LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant, among others, the league has achieved this level of international popularity. From NBA expert picks to memorabilia, shirts, and endless amounts of merchandise, the NBA has continued to generate more attention than any other American league in the world.
Numbers That Support the Trend
To give an example of what the NBA generates, content related to Curry’s new all-time 3-point record a couple of seasons ago generated more than 302,000 views and more than 133,000 interactions across NBA’s social media channels.
Also, NBA Latin America’s social media channels, the NBA Latam, NBA Mex, and NBA Brazil, have more than 11.5 million total followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, with a 28% increase in popularity and followers on a year-to-year basis.
Even in the U.S., the NBA constantly ranks as the number one trending league in Google searches. The league has dominated this trend for the last few years. To further demonstrate the league’s domination of the competition, it was the most viewed and most engaged professional sports league account on social media in 2021, generating 24 billion views. This also led to over two billion interactions throughout all league social media platforms.
Disconnection Between Performance and Popularity
Although teams are followed by millions of fans across the world, results on the court are consistent with social media popularity. That is to say that sometimes performance will help, yet image and past recognition have become the mediums through which some top NBA franchises remain the most popular.
The Lakers are the team with the most fans on both Twitter and Facebook. However, when the team signed LeBron James, one of the most influential players in the league, that still did not allow Purple and Gold to lead the Pacific division in the Western Conference.
Another example is that of the Miami Heat, the second franchise with the most followers on Twitter and third on Facebook. While social media is dominant, the three-time NBA-winning franchise has remained on the outskirts of the Eastern Conference.
A worse case is the Chicago Bulls, a franchise that has even visited multiple countries for shows, demonstrations, and practices. The legacy of Michael Jordan and his six championship rings keep the team one of the most popular franchises worldwide.
Meanwhile, even when teams like the Toronto Raptors and Denver Nuggets were leading their respective conferences just a season ago, this performance level did not support any growth in social media popularity.
The Teams that Dominate social media
Ranking top teams in the league by performance is one thing. However, dominating social media has allowed certain franchises to simply be recognized overseas without significant effort. The battle now extends beyond the court, and as previously mentioned, specific teams are simply leading up on this front.
Starting with the Lakers and using Twitter as a reference, the purple and gold lead Twitter with the most followers. The Golden State Warriors are in second, followed by the Miami Heat in the third spot, the Chicago Bulls in the fourth spot, and the San Antonio Spurs as the fifth most popular team.
On the other hand, the Denver Nuggets are the least followed team on this social media platform, followed by the Detroit Pistons, the Utah Jazz, the New Orleans Pelicans, and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
It’s also noteworthy to mention that the Lakers are also leading with the most followers on Facebook. The Bulls stand second, with Miami coming in the third spot, the Warriors fourth, and the Houston Rockets fifth. This proves that there is indeed no direct correlation between performance and popularity.