June 16, 2015

More Posts Don’t Necessarily Lead to More Fans: Sports

As a corollary to a previous white paper on the relationship between the number of posts and engagement in social media in the consumer industry, we have gathered data for the sports world. Take a look at our results here:

NFL Teams

In the NFL the team that posts the most, among the teams that we studied, is the Indianapolis Colts. However, they don’t have the most Facebook fans. In fact, the Indianapolis Colts are the #5 team when it comes to the number of Facebook fans. The Pittsburgh Steelers have the most Facebook fans amongst the teams we studied, and they post less than the Indianapolis Colts.

Fan comparison


Furthermore, none of the top 5 teams (based on number of Facebook Fans) allow User Posts on their Facebook pages. Only of the teams we studied allow Facebook user posts on their pages, the Houston Texans, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, and Buffalo Bills. By far, there are more user posts from New York Jets fans than any other team we studied.


NFL Teams Facebook Fans

Ranking based on Number of Fans

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers
  2. New England Patriots
  3. Denver Broncos
  4. Oakland Raiders
  5. Indianapolis Colts


NFL Teams Facebook Fans

Ranking based on Number of Posts

  1. Houston Texans
  2. New York Jets
  3. Baltimore Ravens
  4. Cincinnati Bengals
  5. Buffalo Bills


Only a handful of NFL teams have a good ratio of admin versus user posts on their Facebook pages. Of those that have allow user posts on their Facebook fan pages, none of those are in the top 5 based on the number of fans. So, we can also conclude that even though an NFL team has lots of posts, and although they also have a good ratio of admin versus user posts, that still won’t get them more Facebook fans.


Sports TV

We looked at 20 different sports television networks, and learned that ESPN has many Facebook fans, and also posts a lot.  This is the only case where we saw that the number of to be paying off. We also noted that on ESPN’s Facebook page, the fans are very engaged with the posts, and there are a lot more user posts (comments on posts) than the FB pages of other competitors.

Sports TV

NHL Teams

The NHL teams that we tracked during our analysis generally have about one third of the number of fans that NFL teams have. While NFL teams have close to 6 million fans on Facebook, we noted that the NHL teams generally have about 2 million or fewer fans. Only the top 2 NFL teams that we tracked have a close number of fans, while the top 3 NHL teams are pretty close when it comes to the number of Facebook Fans.

NHL fans


Only the Toronto Maple Leafs tend to have more user engagement and user posts during the time we tracked these teams. In fact, they’re just about the only NHL team that has a noticeable amount of user engagement. In this case, though, that user engagement doesn’t equal more Facebook fans. The Maple Leafs are fifth on the list of NHL teams that we tracked. And when it comes to posting, the Washington Capitals tend to post nearly 3 times as much as other NHL teams—yet they are 7th on our list.


NHL Teams

Based on Number of Facebook Fans

  1. Boston Bruins
  2. Detroit Red Wings
  3. Pittsburgh Penguins
  4. Canadiens de Montreal
  5. Toronto Maple Leafs
  6. Philadelphia Flyers
  7. Washington Capitals
  8. New Jersey Devils
  9. Buffalo Sabres
  10. Tampa Bay Lightning


NHL Teams

Based on Number of Facebook Posts

  1. Washington Capitals
  2. Toronto Maple Leafs
  3. Canadiens de Montreal
  4. Detroit Red Wings
  5. New Jersey Devils
  6. Pittsburgh Penguins
  7. Ottawa Senators
  8. New York Islanders
  9. Columbus Blue Jackets
  10. Buffalo Sabres


The Boston Bruins and the Detroit Red Wings, the top two based on Facebook Fans, aren’t even listed in our list of NHL teams based on the number of posts that they posted during our analysis.


NBA Teams

When it comes to NBA teams, we only found two teams among the teams we tracked that have a considerable amount of user engagement on Facebook. The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Atlanta Hawks have both admin posts and user posts (comments) that show up in our graphs—but that didn’t help them get more fans. Having more user engagement yielded the Cleveland Cavaliers a number 5 spot on the list if we look only at the number of Facebook fans.

NBA fans


NBA Teams

Based on Number of Facebook Fans

  1. Chicago Bulls
  2. Miami Heat
  3. Boston Celtics
  4. New York Knicks
  5. Cleveland Cavaliers
  6. Indiana Pacers
  7. Orlando Magic
  8. Brooklyn Nets
  9. Toronto Raptors
  10. Detroit Pistons



NBA Teams Based on Number of Posts

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers
  2. Washington Wizards
  3. Toronto Raptors
  4. Detroit Pistons
  5. Miami Heat
  6. Charlotte Hornets
  7. New York Knicks
  8. Boston Celtics
  9. Atlanta Hawks


The Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat, first and second, respectively, based on number of Facebook fans, don’t have as many posts as other NBA teams. They both have over 15 million fans, and are way ahead of the number 3 on our list, the Boston Celtics.




In conclusion, just as we saw in our consumer-industry study on whether more posts resulted in more engagement, there does not appear to be any strong correlation between rote post count and user engagement in the sports world. Of those networks and teams studied in various areas, a connection was not found that indicated that the solution to low user engagement is simply to post more.


If you want to improve your customer engagement and more volume isn’t doing it for you, there are a few things you can do to improve your engagement. First, make it fun. Create ways of interacting with your customers that are playful and appropriate to your business. Second, be personable. A company is an organization, but it’s still composed of people, let those personalities shine through. Lastly, strategize. Many companies simply don’t slate their social media efforts towards engagement; this is wasting valuable time and resources. Make sure you plan out your strategy before pushing content.