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NBA Contenders Strive for Championship Content

Playoff Teams Generate $375.6M in Post Value During Regular Season

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Social Media
April 15, 2022
June 21, 2022
 min read

After nearly six months of basketball battles featuring teams enduring 82-game schedules for the first time in three seasons, eighteen NBA clubs are on the precipice of the postseason. Fourteen of those squads – seven per conference – have already punched their ticket to the first round, while Friday’s play-in tournament finales will decide the remaining two participants. And on Saturday, the symmetry of sixteen contenders vying to win sixteen more games to reach the sport’s pinnacle will commence. But before the lights get brighter and the intensity ratchets up to another level, MVP examined how each of the remaining organizations fared on social media throughout the season. We used our social platform to compare the clubs’ performances on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter from the season’s opening night last October through Tuesday of this week. Collectively, they generated $375.6M worth of total post value thanks to 707.7 million engagements and 19.9 billion impressions, but a closer look reveals significant differences in popularity.

Warriors Generate Gold on Social

The jump ball on Saturday night in San Francisco will mark the first NBA postseason basketball to be played in the Chase Center, which opened during the 2019-2020 season. But despite the Golden State Warriors’ two-year absence from the playoffs, their social media dominance has persisted. The team’s social content was far more lucrative than any of its counterparts this year, totaling $136.9M in post value – 3.36x more than the second-highest-performing playoff club, the Chicago Bulls. And while the Warriors ranked only eighth among playoff teams in post count, they also led the way with 209.9 million engagements and 6.46 billion impressions throughout the season. After Chicago, which earned only 43.3% as many engagements as the Warriors but accounted for 99.5% more than the third-place Milwaukee Bucks – who they will play in the postseason’s first round – there was a group of four teams tightly bunched together in terms of engagements, impressions, and post value. Reigning champion Milwaukee narrowly edged the Miami Heat in season-long social post value – with $21.8M and $21.7M, respectively – followed by the Boston Celtics and their first-round opponent Brooklyn Nets at $20.1M and $19.4M, respectively. Nearer the bottom of the rankings are several teams that participated in the NBA’s play-in tournament, as the Atlanta Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves, and New Orleans Pelicans earned three of the lowest four post value totals. 

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IG for Show, Twitter for Dough

Throughout the season, NBA playoff teams were most active on Twitter, with total tweets eclipsing combined Facebook and Instagram posts by 70%. As a result, the eighteen remaining teams collectively amassed $150.9M worth of post value on the platform. Meanwhile, values on Instagram totaled $127.4M and Facebook values exceeded $97.3M. Fourteen teams in our study generated their highest total post value on Twitter, while the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, and Milwaukee Bucks earned the most value on Instagram and Golden State’s Facebook account garnered the most value among its platforms. But value aside, fans overwhelmingly engaged with Instagram more than the other platforms. All eighteen clubs saw more engagements from their IG accounts than the other two platforms combined. In total, Instagram engagements numbered 562.9 million, compared to Twitter engagements at 84.3 million and Facebook’s at 60.5 million. Excepting the Cleveland Cavaliers – whose top post this season was on Facebook – every team’s top content was shared on Instagram. With 1.47 million engagements helping to generate $151,523 in post value, this season’s top overall post among playoff contenders belonged to the Golden State Warriors.

Shifting Into Playoff Gear

The arc of an NBA season has several key moments – opening night, Christmas Day games, and All-Star weekend among them. These benchmarks allow fans to both reflect and project on social media, and MVP’s social platform revealed significant spikes in activity during these periods. Notably, during All-Star weekend in Cleveland this past February, the playoff teams shared 1,670 posts and generated $6.63M in post value. The $3,970 average per post was $443 higher than the season average, as teams experienced a 14.4% uptick in engagements per post and a 14.5% boost in average impressions. But now that the grueling regular season is in the rearview mirror, organizations and their social media teams have shifted into playoff gear. In the two days following the end of the regular season, each of the playoff teams shared posts about the postseason, with 11 of the top 20 posts in terms of engagement mentioning the start of the playoffs. 

Chasing Sixteen More Wins

By Friday night’s end, the field of sixteen NBA playoff teams will be set, with the Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz scheduled to begin the postseason early Saturday afternoon. And although the regular season was a proving ground for the teams and their social media presences, legends are made in the postseason. The next two months will provide ample opportunities for organizations and their partners on social media as official team accounts share highlights, score graphics, and reports with fans whose shared interest is piqued further with each passing round. MVP will continue to monitor social media performances from the contending teams as they vie for sixteen more victories and the right to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy in June.

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