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And Then There Were Two

Celtics, Warriors Continue Social Dominance en Route to NBA Finals

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Social Media
June 1, 2022
June 21, 2022
 min read

Having each defeated teams with better regular season records and overcome several stellar performances by former MVPs and all-stars, the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors emerged as the final two teams vying for basketball supremacy. The battle of attrition will reach its climax over the next two weeks as the bicoastal NBA Finals unfold. In a sense, it is a battle of old and new, as the Warriors – making their sixth Finals appearance in the last eight years – aim to outlast a Celtics team featuring zero players who have ever played in the postseason’s final round. But each historic franchise has banners upon banners hanging from the rafters and proud fan bases eager to raise another. And as the playoffs have shown thus far, they both elicit emotion and engagement on social media whenever they take the court. Throughout each of the first two rounds of the playoffs, the eventual finalists led all other playoff teams in total post value, and that trend persisted during the conference finals. As a continuation of our NBA playoffs social series, we again used MVP’s social platform to identify key metrics across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube from each of the remaining contenders. Collectively, the four teams to reach the postseason’s penultimate round generated $29.2M in post value. However, notably, a single franchise was responsible for two-thirds of the total.

Warriors Extend Their Range

After accounting for 41.1% of the total post value created by teams in the second round, Golden State’s $19.5M worth of post value from May 17-30 represented 66.7% of all value produced by conference finalists during the ensuing series. It also signified a 9% round-over-round increase, as the Warriors extended the value gap between themselves and the Celtics, who finished second in our value rankings yet again, with $5.2M. Such a difference was possible because of the Warriors’ 30.7 million engagements – 2.56x more than the second-place Celtics – and 909.3 million impressions, which amounted to 65.1% of all impressions created by the Warriors, Celtics, Miami Heat, and Dallas Mavericks throughout the round. Meanwhile, lagging behind the Warriors and Celtics in each metric were the conference runners-up. The Heat and Mavericks ultimately generated total post values of $3.3M and $1.2M, respectively.

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Celtics Show Continued Growth

While the Warriors have clearly separated themselves from the pack online, the Celtics’ series victory over the top-seeded Miami Heat propelled the franchise to its first NBA Finals since 2010 and expanded its social reach at a greater rate than any other club experienced during the period. Boston’s total post value was up 31%, while its average post value grew 26% to $7,645. The Celtics were also the only club to increase total engagements and impressions by at least 20%, finishing with 21% more engagements and 29% more impressions than they received during their seven-game conference semifinals series against the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. The Celtics’ opponent, Miami, also exhibited noteworthy growth across each social metric during the Eastern Conference Finals, increasing its total engagements and total post value by 15%, while boosting its total impressions by 14%. The only team to regress round-over-round was the Dallas Mavericks, who produced a mere 336 posts during their five-game defeat to the Warriors. As a result, the Mavericks’ total post value decreased by 29% and their total engagements dipped by 24% to 2.5 million – only 5% of the four teams’ collective total.

Facebook Scores During Conference Finals

Throughout the first two rounds of the playoffs, MVP’s social platform identified several consistent trends. Among them were teams sharing more posts on Twitter than any other platform and generating more total value there than elsewhere, as well as engagements and average post values being highest on Instagram. The first of these tendencies persisted. The Celtics, Heat, Mavericks, and Warriors combined to produce 2,011 posts across the top three social networks, and 58.6% of those were tweets. As a result, their collective total post value on Twitter was $12.8M, compared to $9.8M on Facebook, and $6.5M on Instagram. And, once again, teams earned the most engagements on Instagram – 35.7 million in all. But for the first time, Facebook took a significant step in terms of average value. Team content shared on the platform created 464.2 million total impressions, overtaking IG for the most average impressions by a 975.1K to 873.2K margin. Ultimately, the increased reach resulted in average post values on Facebook equaling $20.5K to lead all platforms.

Legacies Are on the Line

For the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors – two of the most storied franchises in NBA history – there is only one obstacle left to overcome. One team is hungry for a return to the top of the mountain while the other features a core of young stars eager to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the first time in their careers. The series will soon play out in the Bay Area and New England, with glory and career legacies on the line. Throughout the Finals, MVP will continue to monitor each team’s social channels, and we will provide further insights after a champion has been crowned. Stay connected with MVP for that and intriguing NBA broadcast stories in the weeks to come.

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