NBA, Curry, LeBron Earn Partners More Than $440M Value In Social Media Impact 
Wednesday, June 28, 2017 at 04:40PM
NYSportsJournalism.com in MVPindex, NBA, NBA, social media, sports marketing

By Barry Janoff

June 27, 2017: The NBA is one of the most successful sports organizations in the world on social media, with some 59 million followers on Twitter (25.5 million) and Facebook (33.4 million) combined, plus another 23.9 million on Instagram.

During the first NBA Awards Monday night (June 26) on TNT, the telecast registered more than 43 million social impressions and almost four million video views via NBA on TNT, NBA TV and NBA.com Twitter and Facebook accounts, according to Turner Sports.

Now, new stats show how the league’s powerful social media presence is impacting its marketing partners.

During the 2016-2017 season, NBA social accounts collectively generated nearly $444 million of value for brands, up from $333 million last season, a 33% increase, according to numbers crunched by social media index and valuation platform MVPindex.

The NFL ranks No. 2 in the use of social media, generating $224 million on behalf of its marketing partners, according to Dallas-based MVPindex.

The NFL reaches more than 40 million followers on Twitter (23.8 million) and Facebook (16.4 million), and another 9.6 million on Instagram.

According to MVPindex, of the 35,000-plus NBA-branded posts this past season, 50% were on Twitter, but those accounted for just 19% of the total value.

By contrast, the NBA’s Instagram platform accounted for 18% of total branded posts yet generated 49% of the total value. By MVPindex measurement, 98 of the top 100 most valuable NBA-branded posts last season were on Instagram.

Kia Motors, the league’s official automotive partner, was the NBA’s most-activated partner, earning $50 million during the season.

The company's value was earned in part to season-long activation (including such jewel events as the All-Star Game), multi-media marketing and naming rights deals to major NBA Awards (including MVP, Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man).

Even though adidas was the official uniform provider for the NBA, Nike was the top NBA-related athletic apparel brand in social media earning $20 million in value. Adidas earned just over $9.3 million, followed by Under Armour with $2.3 million.

Nike, which replaces adidas this coming season as the NBA’s official on-court apparel partner, earned $11.6 million of its total value in the NBA through player activations and ambassador relationships, per MVPindex.

Anheuser Busch’s Bud Light was the top brand performer at the team-activation level for the NBA (as well as the NFL), using its official team alliances to earn more than $21 million in social media value. That included social media buzz generated by individual commemorative team cans unveiled this past February in conjunction with the NBA All-Star Game.

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers is the NBA leader on social media, with 37 million Twitter followers, 22.7 million on Facebook and 31.5 million on Instagram (91.2 million). That also makes him the No. 2 most-followed athlete on social media in world behind soccer’s Cristiano Ronaldo (173.9 million on those three platforms combined).

James was the top influencer for Nike, generating $15.8 million — more than half of the value Nike earned for the season via social media.

James also has deals that include Coca-Cola (Sprite), Kia and Beats by Dre.

However, Stephen Curry of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors became the top NBA player on social this season, surpassing James even though he has less than a third of the followers.

According to MVPindex, Curry claimed the top spot “by posting about his family and team while incorporating branded posts organically.”

Curry generated $4.1 million in social media value for Coach Up, a venture-funded startup company that connects athletes with private coaches. He also generated $2.3 million in social value last season via his partnership with the non-profit Nothing but Nets.

Among other NBA players whose significant relationships with specific brands were boosted by social media, per MVPindex:

• Dwyane Wade earned $9.2 million in value for Way of Wade

• Russell Westbrook earned $4.5 million for Jordan Brand

• Chris Paul earned $1.5 million for State Farm

• Carmelo Anthony earned $697,000 for Nintendo

• Jeremy Lin earned $117K for adidas

• Damian Lillard earned $5.4 million for adidas

• Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant generated $3.1 million and $1.3 million for Nike, respectively.

"This latest report proves what we've always known – social media is the future of fan engagement in sports and an essential part of any brand strategy or sponsorship — and I only see this growth trajectory continuing," Kyle Nelson, co-founder and CMO for MVPindex, said in a statement.

"This should be a wake-up call to teams, players and brands across all of sports. If you don't understand the power of social to drive tangible value and a dedicated strategy to make it happen, you are leaving money on the table," said Nelson.


Top U.S. Sports Organizations On Twitter + Facebook
1. NBA 25.6 million Twitter 33.8 million Facebook (59.4 million)
2.. NFL 23.8 million Twitter 16.4 million Facebook (40.2 million)
3. UFC: 5.8 million Twitter 21.6 million Facebook (27.4 million)
4. MLB: 7.5 million Twitter 6.6 million Facebook  (14 million)
5. NHL 5.8 million Twitter 4.2 million Facebook (10 million)
6. Nascar 3.2 million Twitter 4.6 million Facebook (7.9 million)

WWE said it currently has 750 million followers across its various platforms — Facebook (46.9 million) and on Twitter including WWE, WWE Network, WWE Universe, WWE Smackdown Live and WWE Raw Tour — and could top 1 billion total social media followers in 2018.

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