2018-19 Leaders in Growth Rate and Interaction Rate in Pro Sports

In the digital atmosphere of Major League sports, a well-developed content strategy is imperative to growing and cultivating a fanbase. Translating team success to social interaction requires culturally relevant content that speaks not only to a fanbase but also to a team’s brand identity.  

The Toronto Raptors are a prime example of what team success and best in class social content can achieve in tandem. Across their historic 2019 playoff run, the Raptors have grown their Instagram account by over 600,000 followers. By capitalizing on the team’s historic playoff run, the Raptors content has continued to push the team's tagline “We The North” into a brand identity.

Leveraging data from May 2018 - May 2019 pulled from CrowdTangle, STN analyzed interaction rate and follower growth on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook across the NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB to see how organizations translated team success to social interactions and growth for every sports organization compared to other social media platforms.


National Football League

Teams with emerging superstars and rookies, particularly those achieving success that hadn’t been accomplished in the past decade are seeing upticks in growth rate and interaction.

Top NFL Social Presence - Cleveland Browns

An electrifying rookie quarterback that leads a team to more wins than their last three seasons combined will do a lot for an organization’s social presence. Capitalizing on the team’s newfound success - hero graphics and milestone graphics celebrating achievements were top performers. The Browns finished in the top three in nearly every platform’s growth and interaction rate -  leading the league in Twitter growth and interaction rate on both Instagram and Twitter.

Top Performers

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Los Angeles Rams

i7.75% Growth Rate - fACEBOOK

(vs 0.95% growth via league Average)

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Los Angeles Rams

77.29% growth rate - instagram

(vs. 22.27% GrOWTH VIS league average)

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Cleveland Browns

14.39% Growth rate - twitter

(vs. 2.43% via league average)

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Minnesota Vikings

0.28% INTERACTION RATE - FACEBOOK

(vs. 0.08% league average)

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Cleveland Browns

3.51% INTERAction rate- instagram

(vs. 2.03% via league average)

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Cleveland Browns

.18% interaction rate - twitter

(vs. 0.06% via league average)

Honorable Mention: The Los Angeles Rams - Seeing even greater success in their third season since returning to Los Angeles - the Rams Fanbase is booming. The Rams had the highest growth on Instagram and Facebook - taking second on Twitter to the Browns. Not a bad consolation for being on the wrong side of the Super Bowl.


National Basketball Association

The NBA is the most divided of the leagues when it comes to interaction and growth across social media. This variation could be attributed to the fact that the NBA is a superstar driven league. With a large emphasis on free agency and high-profile draft picks each year, new faces are constantly seen across the league. While Instagram and Twitter have flourished for the league - we’ve seen Facebook growth across the league plummet - declining by 2.67% as a whole.

Top NBA Social Presence - Milwaukee Bucks

The emersion of Giannis Antetokounmpo as a bonafide superstar and MVP front runner helped to drive a lot of interest in the Bucks social presence. Finishing the regular season with the best record and a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals doesn’t hurt either. The Bucks led the league in Twitter growth and Facebook interaction rate, while also finishing second in Instagram growth and fourth in Facebook growth.

TOP PERFORMERS

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Milwaukee Bucks

28.60% growth rate - fACEBOOK

(vs. -2.67% via league average)

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Los Angeles Laker

81.64% GROWTH RATE - INSTAGRAM

(vs. 36.68% VIA league average)

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Milwaukee Bucks

13.65% growth rate - twitter

(vs. 4.28% via league average)

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Houston Rockets

0.12% iNTERACTION RATE - FACEBOOK

(vs. 0.03% via league average)

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Los Angeles Lakers

2.57% interaction rate - instagram

(vs. 1.07% via league average)

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Minnesota Timberwolves

0.08% interaction rate - twitter

(vs. 0.04% via league average)

Honorable Mention: Los Angeles Lakers - Despite having a well established fanbase - the offseason signing of LeBron James and conversation surrounding the future of the Lakers core has helped the team establish the league’s most engaging Instagram account.


Major League Baseball

Top MLB Social Presence - Milwaukee Brewers

Leading the National League Central and earning an NLDS title helped boost the Brewers social presence to best in the league last season. With a focus on high quality photography and milestone graphics, the Brewers have been able to drive engagement which has carried over to this season. Milwaukee was among the top three teams for growth and interaction rate across every social platform - leading the league in growth on Twitter and interaction rate on Instagram.

Top Performers:

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Houston Astros

5.21% growth rate - facebook

(vs. 1.0% via league average)

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Philadelphia Phillies

51.78% growth rate - instagram

(vs. 17.95% via league average)

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Milwaukee Brewers

8.15% Growth Rate - Twitter

(vs. 1.49% via league average)

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Chicago Cubs

0.24% interaction Rate - Facebook

(vs. 0.11% via league average)

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Milwaukee Brewers

4.31% interaction rate - instagram

(vs. 1.97% via league average)

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Cleveland Indians

0.17% Interaction rate - twitter

(vs. 0.09% via league average)

Honorable Mention: The Philadelphia Phillies - The Phillies have been pushing out of the box content to highlight big moments throughout the year- such as signing Bryce Harper. The Phillies showcased a growth of 51.78% on Instagram compared to an MLB average of 17.95%.

National Hockey League


Top NHL Social Presence - Las Vegas Golden Knights

Driven by the success of their first Stanley Cup run - the Las Vegas Golden Knights dominated the league with the highest interaction rate and growth across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Much of the Vegas Golden Knights success on social can be attributed to the fact that the team is relatively new and had immediate success as an expansion team. However, it would do the Golden Knights a disservice to not recognize how their social team was able to capitalize on this success. Leveraging the biggest moments, established superstars, and lighthearted content throughout their Stanley Cup run, gave the growing Las Vegas fanbase an identity to latch onto.

Top Performer

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Las Vegas Golden Knights

49.91% Growth rate - facebook

(vs. 3.22% via league average)

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Las Vegas Golden Knights

61.61% Growth rate - instagram

(vs. 23.25% via league average)

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Las Vegas Golden Knights

28.96% Growth rate - twitter

(vs. 2.1% via league average)

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Las Vegas Golden Knights

.60 INTERACTION RATE - FACEBOOK

(vs. .13% via league average)

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Las Vegas Golden Knights

4.28% INTERACTION RATE - INSTAGRAM

(vs. 1.98% VIA league average)

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Las Vegas Golden Knights

0.30% INTERACTION RATE - TWITTER

(vs. 0.06% VIA league average)

Honorable Mention: Washington Capitals - Had the Golden Knights not seen such rapid growth, the Capitals would be our top performer across NHL social media. The Capitals were in the top three for interaction rate and growth across every major social platform.


Vincent Vidaurri