I saw this earlier today and wasn’t totally surprised, but I found the numbers to be outrageous.
The NBA hit 30 million Instagram followers this morning, which is almost triple the number of the NFL and more than six times MLB and the NHL:
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) August 9, 2018
Here are a couple of other foreign and domestic leagues and how they stack up on Insta:
- UEFA Champions League – 25.4 million
- English Premier League – 18.5 million
- WWE – 15 million
- UFC – 9.9 million
- La Liga – 9.1 million
- PGA Tour – 1.3 million
- MLS – 967,000
- NASCAR – 853,000
The NBA easily trounces them, and it makes sense because it probably has the most global reach out of the “four major American sports” and the youngest cross-section of fans.
The league has also been at the forefront of the media and tech landscape and allows players to actually show their personalities without too much interference or wrist-slapping. Think of the Donovan Mitchell/Ben Simmons t-shirt thing, for instance, then think about Rob Manfred wishing that Mike Trout cared more about marketing himself.
Of course demographics play a huge role in social media. My grandfather probably wouldn’t have given two shits about Instagram, but the spread stays consistent on other social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, where at least my aunts and uncles know what they’re doing.
These are the Twitter follower numbers:
- NBA – 27.2 million
- NFL – 24 million
- MLB – 8.16 million
- NHL – 6.12 million
- NBA – 35.9 million
- NFL – 16 million
- MLB – 6.8 million
- NHL – 4.2 million
Same thing on those platforms.
Should be interesting to see if the gap widens in the next year or so, especially with the NFL losing fans on both sides of the political divide with the national anthem crap (plus the changes made to cut down on hard hits and concussions).