Here at Simply Measured we’re big sports fans (and huge data geeks), so with the NFL season just around the corner we decided to leverage our Competitive Analytics (now with a free option) to see how the top 5 teams in the USA Today pre-season rankings stack up in the social media space. The Super Bowl champs, Green Bay Packers, came in at #1 in the USA Today rankings but did they also rank #1 when it came to fan engagement? The results are below!
Although the Packers won the the Super Bowl and are ranked #1 in the USA Today rankings, they don’t appear to be winning in the social media space. In fact, they don’t even rank in the top 2 in number of fans, engagement, or Twitter followers. The Patriots and Steelers have the largest social media following, but on a percentage basis, the Jets have the most engaged fan base. The fact that the Jets have a higher rate of engagement shouldn’t be all that surprising as New York is a large, metropolitan market and New Yorkers were recently found to use Twitter more than most of the world. It is also interesting to note that there is almost an inverse relationship between the number of fans and the relative rate of engagement.
We know that relative size of markets definitely makes an impact on these metrics — so, what if we take the population of the cities into account? Does that change our #1 ranked Social Media team for the pre-season? Once we normalize for population Green Bay decimates the field and definitely appears to back-up it’s USA Today #1 ranking. These charts also seem to agree with the popular belief that Green Bay really does love it’s football team. Obviously not all Packers fans are from Green Bay, so this analysis should be taken with a grain of salt. But it does show that certain regional brands with strong local engagement can also have meaningful national reach.
So, which is more important? Having a high fan count or having a more engaged audience relative to the size of your market? Obviously we can’t answer this question right now but check back with us at the end of the NFL season and we’ll see if the Packers or the Jets finish higher.