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Tag: National Basketball Association

Facebook and Twitter Counts of the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, MLS


The start of the NBA season on Christmas day, as well as loads of new advertising campaigns, somehow spurred my curiosity about the Facebook fanbase and Twitter followers of the professional sports leagues.  So, I went and tracked down some counts.

To be clear on my philosophy, more is not inherently better – it’s just more.  100 passionate fans are far more desirable than 1,000 relatively indifferent ones.


Setting the Scene

While Major League Baseball (MLB) is still considered by some to be “America’s game,” the television ratings for the National Football League (NFL) make that notion seem quaint; the NFL is a juggernaut.

The National Basketball Association (NBA), just starting a strike-ish-shortened season and repairing its slightly tarnished rep, is about as strong as it’s been in the past several years and looks very good in these charts.

The National Hockey League (NHL) and Major League Soccer (MLS) are both quite niche in their followings, the former being far more historic, mainstream, and powerful than the latter.


A Note Off the Top

I don’t provide much analysis here.  Even the observations in this post are limited.  I’ve simply gathered this info, added some color, and shared it.  Please let me know your thoughts as a comment on this post, on Facebook (if we’re friends), or on Twitter (everyone’s welcome!).


Now to the Charts

To get started, an overview image of the information I collected:

NFL football, NBA basketball, NHL hockey, MLB baseball, MLS soccer

Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers/Following for Professional Sports Leagues (Dec 2011)


Next up, the same Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and Twitter following information in simple bar charts:


National Basketball Association, National Football League, National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, Facebook fans, Facebook likes, Facebook following

Total Facebook Likes for the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, and MLS (Dec 2011)


Though I ordered these alphabetically, the curve from NBA to MLS is obvious and steady.

The NBA has nearly triple the Facebook likes as the second-place NFL.  This is likely due to a younger, more global presence and following for the NBA.


Twitter followers, National Basketball Association, National Football League, National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, Major Leagues Soccer

Total Twitter Followers for the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, and MLS (Dec 2011)


Though the NBA still leads the way here, the NFL and MLB show up a bit better.

Again, I did not take a look at the quality, quantity, or nature of their Tweets – including such things as ratio of personal @mentions to marketing blast tweets – this is just the number of people who’ve clicked “Follow” without subsequently clicking to “Unfollow.”


Twitter, Following, Followings, People Followed, National Basketball Association, National Football League, National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer

Total Twitter Followings by the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, and MLS (Dec 2011)


Here is where it starts to get interesting.  The NHL just jumps right off this chart (and the MLS pops up nicely).

I expect it’s because the NHL’s social media is (or was) being handled by Vaynermedia, which obviously subscribes to and lives out the giveback, thank you philosophy of Gary Vaynerchuk.  They’re obviously following back; I expect they’re also listening, responding, and engaging more than any other league on Twitter (again, MLS is probably with them on this).

Note: see a cool interview of Matt Sitomer of Vaynermedia by David Siteman Garland of The Rise to the Top about “How to Land Badass Clients Like the NHL and the New Jersey Nets” here.

Meanwhile, the NFL barely gets a stripe to represent the number of people they’re following on Twitter (just 150!).


Twitter Following, Followings, Twitter Followers, National Basketball Association, National Football League, National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer

Ratio of Twitter Following to Twitter Followers for the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, and MLS (Dec 2011)

The previous chart sets up this one.  This is Twitter Following (number of people each league is following) divided by Twitter Followers.  Again, the NHL and MLS own this chart.

The MLS bar is largely a function of their relatively few Twitter followers.  The NHL is following more than 4x as many people as the MLS.  Still, both of these leagues – far smaller than the NBA, NFL, and MLB by most measures – are obviously employing a participatory strategy on Twitter.

As a function of their strong Twitter following and limited (or absent) follows back, the NFL does not even register.  The NBA and MLB are just slivers.  They’re broadcasters – just blasting out information.


Final Thoughts

It would obviously be interesting to go deeper in at least three ways:

  • putting this information into the context of revenue, attendance, and viewership of each league
  • evaluating the character, quality, quantity, and frequency of posts in the context of this information
  • looking at the social media approach of the individual franchises relative to those of the leagues


As a husband, father, full-time marketer, part-time MBA candidate, and very occasional blogger, I’ll leave that to you!  Let me know what you dig up and process.


In the meantime, let me know your thoughts about what I’ve gathered and shared here as a comment on this post, on Facebook, or on Twitter.




National Basketball Association:  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

National Football League:  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

National Hockey League:  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Major League Baseball:  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Major League Soccer:  |  Facebook  |  Twitter


Six Upsides to NBA Free Agency

On the eve of one of what could be the most significant free agency period in the history of the National Basketball Association, I’d like to share a few observable upsides.

The downsides are easy.  Free agency connotes “hired gun,” disloyal mercenary and money-grubbing whore.  OK, that last one was over the top, but the point remains: free agency can make players seem as though they’re simply chasing cash and/or the opportunity to win a championship.

Disfavor toward free agency also comes from Association purists, who like to see the same franchise send the same squad to the court year after year.  Larry Bird was a Boston Celtic.  Isaiah Thomas was a Detroit Piston.  John Stockton and Karl Malone were the Utah Jazz franchise … until the Mailman chased a championship by bandwagoning with a Los Angeles Lakers team that was surprisingly felled – no, crushed – by the Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals.

I can’t get into restricted and unrestricted free agency, salary caps, salary matching or any of the other mind-numbing nuances of NBA roster-building.  I’ll simply add, as open season on the NBA class of 2003 begins, that free agency is not all bad.

Chris Bosh, Toronto Raptors, LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat, 2003, 2010, NBA, National Basketball Association, free agents, free agency

Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade - NBA Class of 2003 - Foundation for Huge Free Agent Market in 2010

1. Renders jerseys obsolete and requires the purchase of new jerseys.  I would never purchase, nor wear, an NBA jersey – never going to happen.  That said, hundreds of thousands of people around the world would – and do.  Players changing teams means more jersey sales.  Result: Goodwills and garage sales become littered with instantly “retro” gear – yours on the cheap!  Allen Iverson Nuggest jersey, anyone!?

2. Renders video games obsolete and requires the purchase of new editions.  No one wants to create new rookie players, much less shuffle rosters through trading, releasing or signing players.  It’s far easier just to buy this year’s release – especially if there have been substantial changes across the Association.  Don’t care about current rosters?  Just want to jack up some 3s and throw down some dunks?  BANG!  NBA Live 2007 will set you back just $0.59 on eBay.

3. Takes fans one step deeper into the process.  Video games have done this to some degree by providing the opportunity to coach teams and build franchises.  The combination of enhanced mainstream and niche media attention and roster dynamism have given fans interested in the NBA a deeper look into the relationships and negotiations between owners, GMs, coaches, agents and players.  More awareness and transparency generally results in deeper loyalty.

4. Enhances the soap opera element.  Let’s face it – professional sports are, in part, simply soap operas for men.  Deny it if you wish, but you’re accepting blindness in doing so.  More movement means more story lines means more drama.  I know I’m curious where everyone will land – and how.  I’m also curious how the new chemistry wherever changes take place will develop.  I’m also curious about the balance of power – where and how it’ll shift.  I also watch reality television – what can I say?

5. Adds more year-round interest to the game.  The NBA season now runs from around Halloween through mid-June, leaving only four months to fill with inter-season interest.  The draft helps, as does this free agency period.  New rosters take shape and next thing you know, they’re in camp for the new season.

6. Gives new hope to desperate fans.  The promising combination of the draft and free agency gives even the most dejected fan Chicago Cubs-like optimism for next season.  I’m all for that.

So as the league’s superstars prepare to entertain whatever offers and scenarios their agents can line up, I refuse to hearken back to the day when Zeke and Stockton were unwittingly competing for “world’s shortest shorts.”  Instead, I look forward to a new-look Association this fall.

Seriously, check out this list of free agents ranked (

Or, check out this list of free agents by team (

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