How Do Small Market NBA Teams Stack Up on Social Media?
With the 2023 NBA season set to tip off today, October 24th, we took a look at the small market NBA teams. Looking at franchises from smaller metro market sizes and TV market sizes, we wanted to uncover whether or not these teams were more or less talked about on social media given that they should have smaller fanbases. We’ve analyzed Instagram data from Captiv8’s social listening insights from September 24th to October 24th to determine whether engagement differs between these smaller market teams and their larger counterparts.
Defining Small Market NBA Teams
Small market NBA teams refer to teams located in cities or regions with comparatively lower TV market sizes. According to Nielsen’s 2022 NBA Team Market Size Rankings, the Memphis Grizzlies, we determined to be the smallest market team, followed by the New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, Milwaukee Bucks, and San Antonio Spurs. These franchises are based in areas with lower population densities and smaller media markets, which present unique challenges in terms of fan base sizing, sponsorship opportunities, and revenue generation compared to their counterparts in larger markets such as New York and Los Angeles. Despite these hurdles, these teams often have passionate and dedicated fan bases.
Looking at the Top 10 NBA Teams in Terms of Instagram Engagement
In terms of Instagram engagement over the past 30 days before the 2023 NBA season tips off, the top 10 teams have shown remarkable numbers and are truly the talk of not only their towns but the global NBA fan base. Two of the teams from the five smallest markets secured positions in the top four rankings.
Damian Lillard Has Everyone Talking About the Milwaukee Bucks
Perrenial NBA championship contenders, the Milwaukee Bucks generated over 31.06 million Instagram engagements in the last month. This is likely due in large part to the ‘Woj Bomb‘ (A breaking news report by NBA journalist, Adrian Wojnarowski) of Damian Lillard’s move to the Bucks that got NBA fans and players around the world buzzing. Additionally, fan favorite, NBA Champion, and two-time NBA All-Star point guard, Jrue Holiday was sent the other way in the trade. Holiday was then subsequently traded to the Boston Celtics, one of the Bucks’ biggest contenders in the Eastern Conference.
San Antonio Spurs Secure Third Spot Thanks to the “Best Prospect Since LeBron James”
With just the 26th largest TV market size, the San Antonio Spurs managed to be the third most engaging NBA team on Instagram over the past month. This is likely due in large part to their first overall pick, Victor Wembanyama who has been hailed as “the best prospect since LeBron James” and continues to be a human highlight reel in the preseason. Whether or not the Wembanyama hype can continue to overcome San Antonio’s small market and propel the San Antonio Spurs into one of the most engaging teams this NBA season is yet to be seen. However, what is known is that the San Antonio Spurs have generated an impressive 70.94 million Instagram engagements in anticipation of the new season.
Market Size Does Not Appear to Impact Instagram Engagement
Whether it’s the NBA’s dedicated fan base who loves to discuss all things going around the league, or dedicated fan bases, one takeaway from the data is that market size doesn’t singularly dictate a team’s capacity to cultivate engagement on social media. Conversely, it’s evident that being in a major market doesn’t guarantee high engagement. The Brooklyn Nets for example, despite being situated in the most significant media market, did not secure a spot in the top 10. This emphasizes that a team’s success in terms of social media engagement is made up of a variety of factors, including breaking news, on-the-court performance, community engagement, and a team’s ability to forge emotional connections with its fan base, rather than solely relying on the size of their market.
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