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Swinging for the Fences on Social

MLB Teams Generate $98.7M in Post Value Through First Two Months of 2022 Season

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

Seemingly ceaseless winters instantly become distant memories to baseball lovers as soon as they hear two magical words every spring: Play ball. The phrase welcomes better weather, family outings at stadiums resembling cathedrals, and opposing nines squaring off before thousands of adoring fans. Those fortunate enough to attend Major League Baseball games in architectural masterpieces dotting the landscape are treated to an array of sensory pleasures while watching America’s pastime and cheering for their favorite teams. But beyond the crowds that pass through the gates on game days, millions more follow MLB and its organizations on social media to get the latest updates, watch highlight clips, and stay abreast of winners, losers, and league standings. As social media continues to captivate audiences and influence consumers, professional sports franchises are ever-expanding their online footprint and sharing their spotlight with sponsors. We used MVP’s social platform to monitor all 30 MLB clubs’ activity across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter from April 4 – the Monday before Opening Day – through May to determine whose fans engaged the most and how the interactions translated to value for teams and their partners. During the period, Major League Baseball teams collectively generated $98.7M in total post value, with historic franchises on opposite sides of the country leading the way.

Pinstripes, Dodger Blue Make Solid Contact

Through nearly two months of the 2022 MLB season, teams across the league have made a resounding impact on their social channels, combining to earn 126 million engagements and create 5.14 billion impressions. But in a league of 30 franchises, two were collectively responsible for more than 20% of all post value, engagements, and impressions. The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers – despite ranking 13th and 16th, respectively, in total posts – claimed the top spots in each category, with the Yankees leading in total post value and impressions and the Dodgers earning the most engagements. The Yankees’ $12.61M in total post value through May was 3.83x the league average, and the Dodgers’ $9.14M was 47.9% higher than the third-place Boston Red Sox.

Meanwhile, fans in the City of Angels showcased their affinity for social media and their team by dominating the engagements metric. The Dodgers’ 17 million engagements represented 13.5% of the league’s total. Furthermore, the difference between their total and the Yankees’ total – 10.98 million, good for second place – was larger than the gap between the Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals, who finished 10th with 5.2 million engagements. The defending champion Atlanta Braves placed third in total engagements with 7.45 million and edged the Yankees for the second-highest average in the category with 10,518. It was the only average or total metric in which the Yankees and Dodgers did not occupy both of the top two spots.

The Yankees and Dodgers were two of only three teams to exceed 300 million social impressions through May, creating 601.3 million and 437.7 million, respectively. They were joined by the Boston Red Sox, who garnered 309.8 million of their own. The Southern California and AL East themes continued as the Los Angeles Angels and Toronto Blue Jays rounded out the top five. Only 11 teams eclipsed the league average of 171.2 million impressions, with the bottom 12 failing to even reach the 100 million mark. The Miami Marlins’ 30.5 million impressions enabled them to complete a dubious trifecta, finishing last among MLB teams in total post value, engagements, and impressions.

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Uniform Partnership Pays Off for Nike

Measuring teams’ social activity is critical to understanding their reach, but it only scratches the surface of their content’s value story. Branding is omnipresent across social posts. MLB teams use their platforms to showcase sponsors through a variety of avenues. In addition to tagging their partners in text, logo placement in score graphics and on images significantly boosts a brand’s profile and recognition. We used MVP’s AI-powered software to scan for all brand identifications in text and images to distinguish which companies have benefited the most from MLB social this season. Overall, partners have received $6.91 million worth of brand value thus far, with 12.1% of that coming from the Dodgers, who are followed in the top five by the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels, Atlanta Braves, and New York Yankees.

However, the brand which received the most social value from MLB teams is not tied to a specific organization. The league is in the third year of a 10-year partnership with Nike, its official provider of on-field uniforms. As a result of the familiar swoosh logo being emblazoned on the front of all jerseys, Nike has accumulated $608,493 in social brand value from MLB clubs in 2022. It is followed by McDonald’s, which earned $251,235 during the period, largely because of the restaurant chain’s partnership with the Angels. The team led by stars including Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani prominently features McDonald’s in its score graphics and accounted for $224,490 of the brand’s total social value from MLB teams throughout our study. Earning the honor of partnership that generated the most brand value was the Braves’ collaboration with Truist. Of Truist’s $243,255 in brand value, the financial company can thank Atlanta for 96.1%. International companies Budweiser – which received 53% of its total from the Astros – and Coca-Cola ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, in terms of brand value.

Singles on Twitter, Dingers on IG, FB

Twitter is the social platform that can consistently get a rally started, but Instagram and Facebook have exhibited upper-deck power. Teams are overwhelmingly more active on the bird app, having shared 20,560 posts in just under two months – roughly 68.9% of their total content. The result was $56.1M in post value – compared to $29.4M for Facebook and $13.2M for Instagram – 29.5 million engagements, and 2.93 billion impressions. But its engagement rate is less than half of what Facebook boasts and pales in comparison to IG, whose 69.2 million engagements exceeded the other platforms’ combined total. The image-sharing network’s engagement rate of 0.631% is 8.2x higher than the rate Facebook earned and 17.5x higher than Twitter. But, proving the importance of cross-platform posts, Facebook secured first place in our rankings of average post value with $4,792. Instagram followed with $4,061 per post, and Twitter managed an average post value of $2,729.

Surviving the Dog Days of Summer

Division leaders including New York’s Yankees and Mets, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Houston Astros are likely already making tentative plans to continue playing well into October. But while much has happened during the first two months, clubs still must survive the dog days of summer and roughly 100 more regular-season games before they can shift gears. In the meantime, MVP will continue to monitor social activity and viewership habits pertaining to Major League Baseball as the season progresses. Be also on the lookout for upcoming insights regarding next month’s All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

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