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NBA Partners Prosper on Social During 2022 Playoffs

Postseason Social Content Generates $54.9M in Brand Value for Presenting Partners

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Social Media
Sponsorship Valuation
August 15, 2022
August 16, 2022
 min read

Basketball careers are often defined by how players perform on the biggest stage. What one does in the regular season may be worthy of all-star recognition, but a magical run through the NBA Playoffs can elevate the game’s elite to legendary status. And while that distinction has long been evident, social media’s prevailing influence has further cemented the notion that postseason play determines legacies. Social media provides both a microscope and an echo chamber for fans dissecting and discussing results across fan bases, time zones, and even continents, as the NBA now appeals to followers on an international scale. While the buzz on social media piques interest and enables banter, it also offers ample opportunities for league and team partners to reach their target audiences and realize immediate brand value. We used MVP’s social platform to examine the impact social media had during the 2022 NBA postseason. Our study included posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube pertaining to the playoffs from the league, its teams, athletes, and media entities from April 15 through June 18, during which the NBA’s official partners received $54.9M worth of social brand value because of their affiliation.

Twitter Emerges As Volume Scorer

Postseason basketball creates a wealth of social content on a nightly basis for two months, as an array of entities share updates, graphics, and videos to tell stories of exceptional individual performances, buzzer-beating baskets, controversial calls, and a litany of other highlights. Throughout the playoffs, our AI-powered software detected 106,383 posts related to the action, with 78.8% of those appearing on Twitter. Unsurprisingly, the app’s abundance of content helped it lead all platforms in total impressions, with 7.9 billion. However, overwhelmingly, Instagram elicited more engagements. Despite boasting only 8.9% as many posts as Twitter, the image-sharing platform accounted for 6x as many engagements – 448.3 billion. That figure represented 74.8% of all engagements across the four platforms during the playoffs.

While Instagram and Twitter finished 1-2 in our platform rankings across all metrics, the round-by-round breakdown of activity was most notable when evaluating totals. Perhaps due to the playoff field’s initial size and its scope across regions, no round drove more engagements or impressions – 190.68 million and 6.64 billion, respectively – than the first. A drop in engagements and impressions occurred in each of the two ensuing rounds before spiking heavily for the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors. A surge of posts – 55,977 in total – during the deciding series boosted engagements to 151.7 million and elevated impressions to 5.4 billion for the period.

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NBA Nears Quarter-Billion in Post Value

Post value from the NBA and adjacent social media entities totaled $423.6M during the 2022 playoffs. While teams and media accounts comprised spots two through 10 on our list of top authors, all paled in comparison to the post value driven by the league itself. Throughout the postseason, the NBA shared 34,365 pieces of content across its social platforms, resulting in a post value generation of $233M – 55% of the overall total. However, in terms of average post value, the eventual champion Golden State Warriors set the standard among high-volume accounts. With 4,383 posts documenting their journey back to the top of the NBA mountain, the Warriors earned $132.4M in total post value for an average of $30,210 per post. The figure eclipsed all other average post values among entities with at least 1,000 posts during the playoffs by no less than 3.72x. The Boston Celtics, who represented the Eastern Conference in the Finals, had an average post value of $8,100 – second among all teams.

Demonstrating the NBA is a star-driven league, many of its players generated post values significantly higher than their teams – albeit posting considerably less often. Despite his Los Angeles Lakers failing to make the playoffs, LeBron James led all athletes – and finished 12th in our overall content author rankings – with $3.46M in total post value across 49 posts. James’s average post value of $70,747 was also the highest among players with at least 10 posts. Ja Morant and Draymond Green likewise surpassed the $1M mark in total post value, generating $2.47M and $1.14M, respectively.

Google Exceeds 20% of Total Brand Value

Perusing social media timelines is among the quickest ways fans can catch up on the action throughout the playoffs. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube are vital resources for recaps and real-time information alike. But more than that, they are marketing avenues for league and team partners. Successful social campaigns for brands result from consistent exposure, logo prominence in graphics, and tagged accounts. During the 2022 NBA Playoffs, no brand was better represented than Google and its Google Pixel. The technology giant received $16.2M worth of brand value from social content chronicling the postseason. Among all brands we identified in NBA playoffs posts using MVP’s software, Google enjoyed 20.2% of the total brand value. The share jumped to 29.5% among official NBA partners.

Second on the list of NBA partners throughout the playoffs was State Farm Insurance, whose $8.15M in brand value edged past YouTube and YouTube TV’s $7.83M in third place. The three top earners accounted for 58.6% of all brand value generated for the league’s suite of sponsors. Rounding out the top five were Kia Motors and Nike at $4.4M and $4.18M, respectively. Largely due to its partnership with the Warriors, Oracle led all brands without official NBA partnerships, as it received $2.12M in total brand value throughout our evaluation.

Finals Collaboration Catapults YouTube

Securing a presenting partnership is desirable for any brand collaborating with a major professional sports league, and the NBA Playoffs proved its worth every round. Google was the Association’s presenting partner for each of the first three rounds of the postseason, and the company’s prevalence across NBA social platforms helped it realize $15.57M in brand value through the Conference Finals. Google’s $6.33M in brand value during round one was 1.95x more than second-place State Farm Insurance received, and that discrepancy jumped to 2.52x and 2.22x, respectively, during the ensuing rounds. However, Google yielded its presenting partnership to YouTube and YouTube TV for the NBA Finals in June, causing a significant shift. YouTube, which had received only $58,216 in total brand value through the first two rounds before earning $1.17M in the Conference Finals, parlayed its prominence across NBA accounts during the Finals to add $6.61M in brand value while fans relished in the Celtics-Warriors battle. The figure was 10.3x higher than Google’s total in the final round and 6.45x more than State Farm received. Also performing well in the NBA Finals on social was official apparel sponsor Nike, whose $1.91M during the round represented 45.7% of its total for the postseason.

Social Media Proves Valuable to NBA, Fans

The NBA has made its product accessible to fans around the globe with the touch of a button. By simply opening their social media apps, hoop heads can immerse themselves in the action and maintain a pulse on the league. Meanwhile, brands have myriad chances to capitalize on the interest by partnering with the NBA and gaining exposure from a worldwide audience. During the NBA Playoffs, that spelled millions in value for the likes of Google, State Farm, and YouTube, among others. Our 2022 NBA postseason series will continue throughout the week, as we explore the value potential of broadcast television next.

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