The NBA Dominates NFL, MLB, NHL in Online Fans


Baseball is America’s pastime. But on social media, the NBA is the most popular U.S. sports league.

NBA teams boast an average of 7.6 million followers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter combined, according to data from the TrackMaven platform.

By contrast, NFL teams average 4.6 million followers across all three social networks combined. MLB teams average 3.2 million followers.

NHL teams are the least popular on social media among the major U.S. sports leagues, averaging only 1.8 million followers, cumulatively.

From a brand awareness perspective, NBA teams certainly have the advantage of the league’s greater international appeal.

But what all sports marketers should note is that Facebook is the most popular — and most competitive — channel to reach sports fans.

Popularity for sports teams surges on Facebook

Sports teams across all four major U.S. sports leagues find their biggest fanbases on Facebook.

NBA teams are especially effective at reaching fans on Facebook, with an average of 5 million Page Likes per team across the league.

Jacob Raim, Director of Digital Media at Monumental Sports & Entertainment, explains that NBA’s digital marketers are rising to the challenge to use social media as a second screen — not a second scoreboard.

“The energy in the arena on a game night doesn’t always translate to TV — but new social channels are making it much easier to capture and share the excitement of being in the building for live sports,” says Raim.

“On game nights, we have three people working: one team member handles live tweeting, another cuts video highlights and creates GIFs and graphics, and we have another staffer exclusive to home games who physically moves throughout the stadium to capture live moments for Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat.”

Monumental Sports & Entertainment owns and operates four professional sports teams — the NBA’s Washington Wizards, NHL’s Washington Capitals, WNBA’s Washington Mystics, and the Washington Valor, a new AFL team to debut in 2017.

(Full disclosure: Monumental Sports & Entertainment is a TrackMaven client.)

“Our team has a unique voice on social media,” says Raim. “That said, we learn a lot from tracking the social strategies of our peers in the NBA. I really admire the Portland Trail Blazers, the Atlanta Hawks, the Sacramento Kings, and the Los Angeles Clippers, just to name a few.”

To learn what’s driving marketing results for the brands (or sports teams) in your industry, request a demo of TrackMaven’s integrated marketing analytics platform. We’ll show you where your brand can stand out on social, PR, email, paid ads, SEO, and more.

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