Astros, Braves Fans Have World Series Fever
October baseball is full of intense action and heart-stopping moments, and the stakes only increase with each successive round of the Major League Baseball playoffs. Last week, we analyzed all eight League Division Series participants’ performance on social media during the postseason’s first week. After a drama-filled divisional round, the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, and Boston Red Sox prevailed to earn their places in the 2021 League Championship Series. We further monitored the MLB semifinalists' social media presences during their continued pursuit of a pennant. During a League Championship round that included the Braves dethroning the defending champion Dodgers and the Astros battling back from a series deficit to overcome a gritty Red Sox club, the teams collectively generated more than $15M worth of content value across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Our review shone a light on which teams had the most success online and revealed how on-field results impact interest.
As was the case in the LDS, the Los Angeles Dodgers led the pack in total value created during the League Championship Series. After celebrating a 2020 World Series title and 106-win regular season this year, Dodger fans in Southern California and beyond were primed for a repeat. Their enthusiasm was evident, as team social media accounts generated 7.36 million total engagements across only 160 posts, the fewest among the four remaining teams. Such excitement led to $5.58M worth of post value during the six-game series. Meanwhile, their opponents in Atlanta created $3.37M in post value thanks to a 1.8% engagement rate, tops among baseball’s final four. In the American League, the Astros earned their third trip to the Fall Classic in the last five seasons. In doing so, Houston proved to be most active on social media with 344 total posts, which earned $3.39M worth of post value. Boston’s bid for a second AL pennant in four years fell just short, but the Red Sox still earned $3.28M in post value in defeat.
During the League Division Series, each of the four eventual winners outperformed their opponents online. While that was not the case throughout the LCS, engagement trends indicated that success on the field translates to success on social media. The Astros and Braves each experienced significant increases in both engagements and post value from the previous round. While there were only five additional posts from Atlanta’s team accounts from one series to the next, its engagement jumped an average of 66%, including 117% on Facebook and 75% on Instagram. That led to a 53% increase in total post value. Houston’s total posts only increased from 315 in the ALDS to 344 in the ALCS despite an additional two games, but the value of these posts rose by an average of 40%. However, despite setting the bar among playoff participants from their respective leagues during the regular season, the Dodgers and Red Sox did not experience similar lifts. Collectively, their average post engagement fell by 11.2%, causing an 8.3% dip in post value.
One consistency from round to round was the type of content that drives engagement. The top post from each team appealed to fans’ emotions. The most engaging social media post during the LCS – as well as 8 of the top ten – came from the Dodgers. Their Instagram message thanking fans after yet another successful season featured many of the team’s most recognizable faces and received a remarkable 470,165 engagements. It was a fitting farewell until Spring Training. The Braves, however, will play on, and their top post from the round emphatically exclaimed their victory with jubilant players celebrating on Truist Park’s infield and a caption that read: “2021 National League Champions!” On its own, that post earned 261,461 engagements and $141,410 worth of value. The most engaging post from Atlanta’s World Series foes, the Houston Astros, included a carousel of photos titled “A bunch of winners,” which created $72,118 in value.
The World Series is a battle between an Astros team making its third championship appearance in the last five seasons and a Braves club that has not been on baseball’s biggest stage since 1999. Both teams have earned a place in the Fall Classic with success on the diamond, and their fans have responded warmly and frequently on social media. During their championship clash, each organization will strive to capture the emotions and intensity to share with fans throughout the country. We will once again monitor the power of social media for both clubs until one ultimately celebrates with a shiny new Commissioner’s Trophy to showcase.