a new study by the Sports Business Journal found that the NBA’s social media engagement is ranked first among sports leagues on a global scale. Real Madrid was ranked first among teams globally and had the highest overall score among all properties. The study examined Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts of 1,255 leagues, teams and federations across the globe over the past year and ranked them based on a composite score that included factors such as views, shares, likes and number of followers.


The study also showed that the NBA had a total global following of more than 82 million followers across its official league social media extensions. When including NBA team and player feeds, the league’s social media reach surpasses 1.2 billion fans and followers, helping to keep with the notion that the league is an industry thought leader with regard to social media. Interestingly, Real Madrid’s global head of digital, Rafael de los Santos, exclaimed that although the football club dedicates its activity to football, in reality, they are “a content company” with a goal of becoming “content producers” as well. This understanding of the space is why Real has continued to be the top team globally from a social standpoint.


Check out this link as well for graphs showing how all of the leagues and teams stack up against one another. A few key findings are below. Let us know your thoughts on this and if you would like to talk through. Thanks all for reading!

most-engaged fans by league/federation (only two of the top five are united states based leagues)

  1. NBA
  2. English premier league
  3. nfl
  4. ioc
  5. indian premier league (cricket)

top ranked teams (top 4 are overseas football clubs)

  1. real madrid
  2. barcelona
  3. manchester united
  4. chelsea
  5. golden state warriors

most social engagement (interactions & video views)

  1. nba
  2. nfl
  3. real madrid
  4. manchester united
  5. barcelona


written by bryan davidson, associate director, entertainment marketing and business affairs