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Which Pro Sports Teams Have The Most Social Media Followers?

Charlie Mullan for Bookies.com

Charlie Mullan  | 9 mins

Which Pro Sports Teams Have The Most Social Media Followers?

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Friday, June 30 is World Social Media Day. What perfect time to find out which team in America's four major sports has the greatest following. 

There are almost 5 billion social media accounts in the world and incredibly almost a fifth of those are following NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL teams on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. 

The total number of followers from all 496 accounts comes to 946,402,834, so it's only a matter of time before the 1 billion milestone is achieved.

Social media is becoming a vital part of any team's set-up. It's the best way to keep informed with what is happening at your favourite sports team. Gone are the days when television and radio were the only place you could find out what was going on with regard to injuries and other important news from your favourite team. 

Which Pro Sports Teams Have The Most Social Media Followers? 1

Now, clubs can bypass the more traditional media outlets and update their supporters with the latest news via social media posts. It's also a great way for teams to engage with their fans with new signings as Inter Miami discovered recently. 

Before signing Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest player ever to play soccer, Inter Miami had around one million followers on Instagram. Following the announcement that the Argentina legend was to join their club, Inter Miami's followers on Instagram has grown to around eight million. Messi has over 470 million followers on Instagram which is twice as many as Los Angeles Lakers' star LeBron James has.

It's no coincidence that the Lakers therefore are currently the most followed U.S. team, but their place at the top is under threat as the Golden State Warriors are closing in on them.

The NBA dominates the study with the top seven spots, while the NFL is second and Major League Baseball next on the list. NHL teams have a lot of work to do to get closer to the other leagues. The Arizona Coyotes are the least followed team on social media. So, where does your team rank in social media followers?

Warriors Closing In On Lakers

It helps to have the face of the league on your roster and that's the case with the Los Angeles Lakers and their talisman LeBron James. Whatever James says or does, headlines are made across the globe highlighting the influence and popularity of the 38-year-old. 

James, who last season became the NBA's all-time leading scorer, is coming to the end of his career and his future remains uncertain. Steph Curry is three years younger and he will hope he can win another title with the Golden State Warriors before he retires. Curry is the most followed player in the NBA so it’s natural that his team are closing down the Lakers at the top of the list. 

Last year, the gap between the Lakers and the Warriors was 5.8 million followers. Now, that gap is down to just over 850,000. It seems only a matter of time before the Warriors take top spot at the expense of the Lakers. 

The 30 NBA teams have a total of 466,123,139 followers while the combined total for NFL, MLB and NHL teams comes to 480,279,695. Whatever NBA teams do on their social media, it might be time for the other leagues to copy them in order to boost their social media presence.

Bills Numbers Boosted By Hamlin Incident

The NFL was rocked on January 2 this year when the game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals was canceled after Damar Hamlin collapsed after suffering a cardiac arrest midway through the first quarter. 

It was a crucial game with both sides looking to secure the number one seed in the AFC along with the Kansas City Chiefs.

But football paled into insignificance as the world waited and wished for a happy ending. Thankfully, Hamlin recovered and has been passed fit to resume his playing career for the Bills. For the days and weeks after the horrific scene in Cincinnati, Buffalo’s social media platforms were the first port of call for most people. 

Updates were posted on Twitter as and when they were provided from the medics looking after the 25-year-old. Other teams, not just in the NFL, but the other major sports, shared the positive posts in a show of solidarity. Before Hamlin’s cardiac arrest, the Bills were ranked 75th, but now they have climbed 22 places to sit 53rd. 

Hamlin will hope he can help the Bills continue their pursuit of a first Super Bowl performance since the 1993 season when they lost their fourth successive title game. In the last two seasons, Buffalo has been eliminated from the playoffs in the divisional round after reaching the AFC Championship game after the 2020 regular season. 

The Bills will be among the favourites on the leading sports betting sites to win Super Bowl LVIII in Vegas next February. 

Winning Championship Boosts Social Following

One sure way to boost a team’s social media presence is to have a winning team. Fans are more engaged when their team is winning as their victory celebrations When teams are in a slump, it’s difficult for the social media teams to be positive. 

Winning championships is a sure fire way of increasing a team’s social media following. In recent years, we have seen victory parades go to another level when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took to the water for their celebrations. We all remember Tom Brady tossing the Vince Lombardi trophy from one boat to the next which was captured superbly by the Bucs’ social media team who were on board. 

The Golden State Warriors were crowned NBA champions in 2022, beating the Boston Celtics 4-2 in the Finals. Their social media presence has climbed from 46.1m in June last year to 57.6m as they look to take the number one spot from the Lakers. The Warriors are expected to be one of the biggest threats to the newly crowned Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference.

The Kansas City Chiefs are a fun team to watch in the NFL with their creativity with Patrick Mahomes under center, and their social media platforms are benefitting as a result. Winning their second Super Bowl in four seasons has seen them climb our list. The Chiefs were 30th last June but are now up to 24th and will climb further if they can add another Vince Lombardi trophy in February.

The Houston Astros are not having things their own way in their title defense in baseball. They are playing catch-up with the Texas Rangers in the American League West but their success last year will serve them well in the second half of the season. Their social media following has been boosted by almost one million followers to help them jump eight places to 66th.

The Denver Nuggets and Vegas Golden Knights both landed their first ever championships recently, and they will no doubt see a boost in their following on social media. The Nuggets, who beat the Miami Heat 4-1 in the NBA Finals, can expect to break into the top 50 in the coming months if history is anything to go by. 

The Vegas Golden Knights story continues to get better, year by year. They’ve only been in existence for six seasons, but they have made the playoffs in all but one season. Last season they became the youngest franchise to lift the Stanley Cup. Because they are a new team, they have a bit of catching up to do, but they are making good grounds. They have almost a million more followers now than this time last year, and their popularity looks set to continue.

Arizona Apathy Clear To See

Besides the Phoenix Suns, there appears to be a lack of social media interest in the three Arizona teams. The Suns sit comfortably in 40th place on our list, but it’s a sorry tale for the state’s NFL, MLB and NHL teams.

The Arizona Cardinals are ranked 78th with 4.4m followers and their fans will hope rookie new head coach Jonathan Gannon can bring the good time back to the State Farm Stadium. Their last playoff win was during the 2015 season, but with starting quarterback Kyler Murray recovering from an ACL injury suffered in December, it might be another season of struggle for the Cardinals. 

The Diamondbacks are doing all they can to improve their social media presence by winning games of baseball. The D-backs are in control of the National League West, although the San Francisco Giants are pushing them hard. A successful season will help them climb from 108th on our list. 

Someone has to be last in a study like this, and it’s the Arizona Coyotes who find themselves sitting rock bottom. The only way is up for the Coyotes both on the ice and on social media. Changing their name from Phoenix to Arizona has failed to provide a change in fortune and with one playoff appearance in the previous 11 seasons, nine following the rebranding, it might be a while before the Coyotes can climb the table. 

About the Author

Charlie Mullan for Bookies.com
Charlie Mullan
UK-based stats man Charlie Mullan brings previous expertise from the Press Association, DraftKings, Betfair, SportPesa, Hull Daily Mail and more where he has crunched soccer data for many seasons, creating content to support odds providers and market makers in the European betting industry. Charlie has more than a decade of experience using in-depth stats to make informed picks across the biggest games in the EPL and European soccer leagues.