MLB LDS Participants Shine on Social
Every February, 30 Major League Baseball teams report to spring training and begin their quests for a World Series championship. After a grueling 162-game schedule, the records for the league’s best reset in October and the playoffs serve as a final sprint to glory. Postseason baseball is where superstars and role players alike have opportunities to cement their legacies. Heroes of yore are remembered in perpetuity for heart-stopping home runs and overpowering pitching performances. But October is also a time for playoff participants to appeal to their fan bases on social media and continue to create value long after many teams have held their exit meetings. Organizations that earned the right to participate in the divisional round of the 2021 MLB playoffs included the Tampa Bay Rays, Houston Astros, Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, Milwaukee Brewers, Atlanta Braves, and Los Angeles Dodgers. We evaluated the teams’ posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to determine which clubs were most active and how much value each earned.
Among the keys to success on social is diversity. As the postseason commences and interest increases, playoff teams are uniquely positioned to reach their fan base, opposing fan bases, and general baseball enthusiasts across multiple platforms. We examined each LDS participant’s presence on major social networks to evaluate volume, reach, and impact. The round began with an afternoon tilt between the Astros and White Sox on October 7th and continued into the early morning hours of October 15th, when the Dodgers edged past the Giants in an intense, low-scoring affair. During that span, the eight participating teams combined for 1,497 organic posts across the three major platforms, creating $19.37M worth of content value.
Overwhelmingly, Twitter was the platform on which teams were most active. In just over a week, the clubs collectively produced 772 posts on the network, equaling 52% of the total content. However, Instagram generated significantly more value than any of the other platforms. Even though teams created roughly three times fewer posts for Instagram than Twitter, they generated more than double the value. Overall, Instagram posts resulted in $10.69M worth of earned value – approximately 55% of the total value across all social channels we assessed.
In the 2021 American League and National League Division Series, on-field success translated to online value. The round’s winners – Los Angeles, Boston, Houston, and Atlanta – earned the top four spots in our social media evaluation, each creating more value than their opponent. The Dodgers led the way by generating $8.02M worth of value during their rivalry series against the Giants as a result of nearly 10.9 million engagements across all platforms. Despite posting only 13% of the total content during the week, the boys in blue contributed to 41% of the overall value. After leading the American League in average post value during the regular season, the Boston Red Sox once again set the standard for the AL during the divisional round. The club used 278 posts to create $3.89M worth of value.
The Astros and Braves finished third and fourth, respectively, in our rankings of LDS participants, with each eclipsing $2M worth of value earned during the round. The Giants, who competed in the only series that needed five games to complete, was the only other club to earn more than $1M worth of post value through social media, finishing with $1.3M from 98 total posts.
With winning comes a wave of excitement. That was evidenced not only by the total engagement and value earned by clubs during the divisional series but also by the types of posts that generated the highest number of engagements on team-owned channels. The highest-performing post for the Dodgers, Red Sox, and Astros included celebratory pictures or graphics following a series-clinching victory. In a similar vein, the Braves’ most engaging post showcased Freddie Freeman’s home run that proved to be the difference-maker in a deciding Game 4 against the Brewers. The top-performing post overall featured the Dodgers’ team picture after their series win. It earned 478,874 engagements. Meanwhile, Boston’s celebration graphic generated 235,325 engagements, Atlanta’s Freeman appreciation post resulted in 173,766 engagements, and Houston’s celebration team picture amassed 81,985 engagements.
As October progresses, the passion will only intensify for the four teams continuing their pursuit of a pennant. Either the Dodgers or Braves will represent the National League in the Fall Classic, and the winner of the American League Championship Series between the Red Sox and Astros will likewise endeavor to hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy. Meanwhile, each club’s fervent social team will work to maintain the momentum gained and add to the value generated with posts chronicling clutch hits, pitches, and moments during baseball’s semifinal round. We will continue to monitor social presences for participating ball clubs throughout the postseason.