Alan See CMO Temps, LLC - Rent a Chief Marketing Officer
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The NFL’s Twitter Winners and Losers















In September at the beginning of the season I posted a short article related to NFL teams Follow-to-Follower ratios on Twitter.  In short, NFL teams like most major brands do not follow back their fans or customers:













As you can see, the average NFL team was following back just 0.46% of their fans in September.  That ratio now stands at 0.40% which means the average follow back strategy didn't change much over the season.  Now that the Super Bowl is over I've taken the time to update these statistics to see how the league performed in other areas.
 
We Follow Winners
 
Note to the NFL, we like to follow teams with winning records.  The average Twitter follower growth across the NFL was 18.6%.  Three teams posted more than thirty percent growth:
 
Seahawks     34.7%
Cardinals      30.9%
Patriots        30.7%
 
There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics." ~ Mark Twain
 
Two of those teams were in the Super Bowl.  Did that have a big impact coming at the end of the season?  I don’t know, but I will say the results above bring up more interesting facts:
 
Patriots     1,232,782 Followers     *Most Followed Team in the NFL
Cardinals      157,941 Followers     *Least Followed Team in the NFL
 
According to Forbes, the Patriots market value is $2.6B making them the second most valuable franchise in the NFL.  The Cardinals are 25 on that list with a market value of $1.0 billion.
 
We Don’t Follow Losers

Yes, that suggests the three teams with the least amount of growth did not have a good year:
 
Jets                              6.7%              4 – 12 record
Vikings                        11.3%              7 – 9    record
Raiders                        11.6%              3 – 13 record
 
“I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn’t know.” ~ Mark Twain
 
The Vikings and Raiders are ranked 20 and 28 by Forbes placing their value in the lower half of the league.  Both teams also have fewer total followers than the average NFL team.  However, the Jets are ranked sixth in value and have more followers than average.  And here is another interesting observation; the Jets actually follow back 12,818 fans which puts them in second place for follow backs.  What does that mean?  I don’t know, I said it was interesting, I didn’t say I had the answer.
 
“This Copyrighted Broadcast is the Property of the National Football League”
 
NFL teams broadcast on Twitter; they don’t follow back for purposes of personal engagement.  But for the sake of measurement, which teams improved the most (increase in follow backs)?
 
Patriots            71.2%
Lions               18.5%
Raiders            17.2%
 
Of course the Patriots were only following 66 profiles in September, so the fact that they now follow back 113 doesn’t really mean they’ve changed their strategy.  For the record, 12 teams actually decreased the number of profiles they were following over the year.  The Chargers remain far and away the winner based on the fact that they follow back 29,524 fans.  Why don’t teams follow back all of their fans?  Would it take away their brand prestige?  Would the process and cost be too great to implement a strategic follow back plan?  If they can get bent out of shape over how much air a football has in it I would think they would care even more about how their customer base would react to a new social engagement strategy.










The Million Follower Club
 
Finally, two teams now have over one million followers:
 
Patriots            1,232,782
Cowboys           1,141,868
 
The Cowboys are “America’s Team.”  This sounds kind of strange to say because … “Patriots” … well, that sounds pretty American to me.  Forbes ranks the Cowboys first in value at $3.2B, and the Patriots are ranked second at $2.6B.  Well, if nothing else, they can both afford to buy a few followers … I see them for sale all the time… 1,000 followers for $2.  Who knows, perhaps one of those lowly Twitter draft choices will be their next great Twitter influencer play maker.



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