In the past several years, social media has changed the way fans follow sports. It has opened new avenues for global interaction and instantaneous reaction following literally every play.
While the NFL is #1 in terms of popularity and revenue (eh who needs that), the the NBA is king of twitter – with two-thirds of it’s players on twitter and by far the most followers of the 4-major sports.
We all know which teams are the media darlings – but does that translate onto twitter?
Here are the NBA’s official team accounts that have the most followers on twitter (click to zoom).
As you can see, the Lakers have the runaway lead (quite impressive for a team that starts Nick Young, Wesley Johnson and Shawne Williams in their preseason opener *Laker-hater alert*). The Heat and Celtics round out the top-3, respectively, which is expected considering the national popularity and market size of those franchises. Oh and the Charlotte Bobcats are last – so all appears right in the world of NBA twitter follower counting.
The Jazz check in at #21 with just over 200k followers, not overly surprising when factoring in market and national profile (or lack thereof). How does NBA twitter popularity compare to market size?
|1.||Los Angeles Lakers||19,187||3,396,084||T-2|
|6.||New York Knicks||19,117||759,149||T-1|
|8.||San Antonio Spurs||10,738||468,571||24|
|9.||Los Angeles Clippers||13,104||401,013||T-2|
|13.||Golden St. Warriors||20,178||276,051||7|
|25.||New Orleans Pelicans||14,909||182,862||30|
Compared to rankings based on conglomerate urban area population – the Jazz actually exceed their projected popularity on twitter by several slots, despite never winning a title in their year 39 year existence and never reaching the NBA Finals in the past seven seasons (Twitter was first launched in 2006). I attribute this to the fervent fans of Utah coupled with the nation-wide fanbase that was cultivated from the glory John Stockton & Karl Malone. Although smaller in numbers, Jazz fans are die-hard and passionate and seek as much access and information on their beloved team as possible.
So just for fun and focusing solely on the 2013-14 Utah Jazz roster, here is the first Jazz Twitter Power Rankings for the current 2013-14 Utah Jazz squad that are officially on twitter (must be a verified account).
Given Trey Burke’s enormous popularity and notoriety prior to entering the NBA (2011 Ohio Mr. Basketball, 2012 Big10 Freshman of the Year, 2013 National Player of the Year and NCAA title game participant) – it’s not surprising he’s number-1 in a landslide compared to teammates who are still on the verge of becoming household NBA names.
With Utah turning the page on a new era, more of the general NBA community is about to become familiar with names such as “Favors,” “Kanter,” and “Burks.” We’ll keep track and see which Jazz players’ see the biggest twitter gains during the season, which hopefully will reflect their positive gains on the basketball court.
Footnote: (Jazz players without verified public twitter accounts: Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson, Marvin Williams, Brian Cook, Mike Harris, Justin Holiday (unverified), Dwayne Jones (unverified), Dominic McGuire (unverified)).
Yes, I just wrote 500 words about twitter. Thank goodness there’s a game tomorrow.