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Measuring the Social Media of NBA Playoffs

The NBA playoffs are at or near the pinnacle of all playoff platforms for professional sports. Fans get to see great basketball, and teams are truly tested against each other when the field is narrowed down to the Eastern and Western conference finals. That is where we currently are, just a few weeks away from the biggest series of the season: The NBA Finals… a great time for Universal Information Services.

With all of the hype that comes along with the finals, social media metrics make their way to the surface and tell an interesting story, as well. This gives us an opportunity for PR measurement! As with any large national event, the Universal Information Services team has been tracking and measuring NBA basketball conversations. Currently, we are monitoring the social media accounts of the four remaining teams and finding great data.

By manually pulling data from every NBA team in the league, we compiled the teams that have the top overall social media followings by combining Twitter and Facebook mentions. Unsurprisingly, the Los Angeles Lakers dominate this category. The Lakers lead the way with more than 23 million total followers, which is more than 7.8 million ahead of the next closest team, the Chicago Bulls.

Universal Information Services measures NBA Social Media Following

While these numbers don’t tell us much about the playoffs, they do paint a full picture as to which teams are most popular.

When we concentrate on four teams that are still in the playoffs, we get a more complete understanding of fan loyalty and interest. If you haven’t been following the playoffs, the Miami Heat have dominated the playoffs thus far, but are currently tied 1-1 to the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals. San Antonio has also looked sharp in the playoffs, and is currently up 2-0 in the Western Conference finals over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

After measuring Facebook “Talking About” rates after each game one in each series, the Miami Heat (led by LeBron James) dominate this category, even after dropping game one in Indianapolis. On the other side, the Spurs enjoy a hefty lead over the Thunder after running away with game one in the Western Conference finals. And here’s an interesting note about the Indiana Pacers, the underdog in the Eastern Conference finals. The Pacers have the lowest “Talking About” rate out of the four teams. Normally, when a team loses the “Talking About” rate decreases because fans usually don’t post about their team losing. Roles are reversed here in the Heat/Pacers match-up. Pacers fans have remained fairly quiet despite the big win in game one.

Universal Information Services measures the Facebook Rate of Talking About

Next, let’s take a look at Twitter and each team’s Klout score. The numbers that we are looking at are measured by Klout, primarily Klout measures how influential users are across social media networks. These scores were measured directly after each game one in the series. Once again, the Heat are leading the pack. But not by much. Again, we see roles reversed in Heat/Pacers series.

Universal Information Services measures NBA Playoff Team Klout Scores

If we were to predict the winners of each series based on this data, the Heat and Spurs would come out on top. Time will only tell which way both series will go. We’ll be watching closely!

Interesting stats to note:

From NBA.com: “Miami is 0-3 on the road in Game 1s during the LeBron James era, also dropping the opener in Chicago in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals and in Oklahoma City in the 2012 NBA Finals. In both those instances, the Heat bounced back to win the next four games.”

From NBA.com: “The San Antonio Spurs won their 10th-straight Game-1 playoff contest Monday in the Western Conference Finals and are one short of the NBA record last attained by the Chicago Bulls of the Michael Jordan era (1996-98).”


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