NBA popularity on social media
- With 210.2 million followers across social media platforms, the NBA league is the most popular sports league in the World.
- This includes all professional leagues, individual and team, along with esports.
- The NBA also has more social followers than any sports governing body including International Olympic Committee.
- NBA has 44% more social media fans than the other 4 major leagues in the USA combined (NFL, NHL, MLB, MLS).
- The NBA has 2.5x more social following than NFL, 6.5x more than MLB, 9.9x more than NHL, and 21.4x more than MLS.
- The NBA gained 12.9 million new social media fans in 2021 over 2020, 33.4 million compared to 2019, and 59.8 million compared to 2018.
- During all these years, the league has consistently been the most popular sports league on social media.
- The NBA is also the 4th fastest-growing sports competition in the World.
- The league's social following annual growth in 2021 was 7%, it was 12% in 2020, and 18% in 2019.
- 12.9 new followers in 2021 are 1 million more than the other 4 major USA sports leagues combined during the same period.
- The NBA gained 9.3 million more new followers in 2019 than the other 4 major leagues combined, and 24.7 million more since 2018.
NBA popularity on Twitter
- The NBA league is the most followed sports competition in the World on Twitter, with 34.5 million followers.
- It's the only sports competition with over 30 million followers on Twitter.
- The league gained 2.6 million new followers in 2021 over 2020, 5.6 million new followers since 2019, and 7 million since 2018.
- NBA's Twitter following grew 8% annually in 2021, 10% in 2020, and 5% in 2019.
NBA popularity on Facebook
- With over 39.1 million followers on Facebook, the NBA is the 4th most followed sports event in the World on this platform.
- NBA's Facebook profile had the lowest annual growth among all social platforms.
- The league gained only 0.1 million new followers in 2021, 0.9 since 2020, and 2.3 million since 2019.
- However, the NBA is still the most-followed sport among major sports leagues in the USA on Facebook.
NBA popularity on Instagram
- With 59,8 million followers, the NBA is the most popular sporting event globally on Instagram.
- It's the only sporting event with over 50 million followers on the platform.
- NBA has 2x more Instagram followers than the other 4 major USA leagues combined.
- Since 2020, the league gained 6.7 million new followers, 16.9 million since 2019, and 26.3 million since 2018.
Most popular NBA teams
- 30 NBA teams have over 529.5 million followers on social media in total.
- Since 2020, NBA teams gained 26.2 million new followers on social media, 86.1 million since 2019, and 171.5 million since 2018.
- The average NBA team has 17.65 million fans on social media.
- The Los Angeles Lakers are the most popular NBA team, having 60.3 million followers across social media platforms.
- The Lakers' social fan base makes up 11% of the total NBA fanbase.
- The Lakers are also an NBA team whose online fanbase grew the most since 2018, gaining 20.8 million new followers over 3 years.
- The Golden State Warriors are the only other team with an online fanbase larger than 50 million, having 52.5 million followers across social.
- The Warriors gained the most new followers from a year before, with 4.6 million.
- Top8 NBA teams in social media following account for 53% of the total NBA fanbase.
- With 5.4 million followers, the Minnesota Timberwolves are the NBA team with the smallest social media fan base.
- 7 other NBA teams have less than 10 million fans online.
|Team||Social media followers (million fans)||Twitter (million fans)||Facebook (million fans)||Instagram (million fans)|
|Los Angeles Lakers||60.30||10.10||21.80||17.60|
|Golden State Warriors||52.50||6.90||11.50||18.90|
|San Antonio Spurs||20.10||3.50||6.80||3.50|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||19.70||2.80||6.70||4.80|
|Los Angeles Clippers||15.80||1.80||3.80||3.80|
|New York Knicks||15.10||2.30||5.60||3.00|
|Portland Trail Blazers||11.00||1.50||2.40||2.30|
|New Orleans Pelicans||10.30||1.20||1.70||2.30|
Most popular NBA players
- With 175.9 million fans on social media, LeBron James is the most popular NBA player.
- James has more online fans than the next 3 NBA players combined.
- LeBron gained 27.8 million new followers in 2021, 54.1 million since 2019, and 64.5 million since 2018.
- LeBron James gained more new followers since 2020 than all NBA players outside of the top8 have in total.
- 24 NBA players have over 10 million fans on social media, and 11 of them have over 20 million.
- Shaquille O'Neal is the most popular former NBA player, having 49.8 million fans online, 3rd most among all NBA players.
- 48 most popular NBA players currently have 944 million online fans combined.
- Kobe Bryant's social media profiles are still among the most popular ones, even after his tragic passing early in 2020.
|Player||Social media followers (million)||Twitter (million fans)||Facebook (million fans)||Instagram (million fans)|
NBA fans demographics
NBA fan racial demographics
- Only 46% of NBA fans are white, making the NBA fan base the most diverse among the 4 major leagues in the USA.
- 27% of NBA fans are black, making the NBA a league with the highest share of black viewers among 4 major leagues.
- 23% of NBA fans are Hispanic, also the highest share of Hispanic fans among 4 major leagues.
- In 2021, 76% of black people age 18 and older declared as fans of the NBA, 52.6% of whom state they are avid NBA fans.
- 68% of Hispanic people over 18 years of age stated they are fans of the NBA.
- Only 44% of white people declare as NBA fans, only 16% of them being avid fans.
NBA fan age demographics
- The average fan who watched NBA from TV is 37 years old, while the average NBA fan who attends the games is 36 years old.
- 33% of people between 35 and 44 years of age stated they are avid NBA fans, most among all age groups.
- Additionally, 30% of people between 35 and 44 years of age are casual fans of the NBA, making 63% of people in this age group fans of the league.
- 62% of people ages between 18 and 34 are fans of the NBA, 43% of whom are avid NBA fans.
- 42% of people aged 45-64 are fans of the league, 35.7% of them being avid fans of the league.
- On the other hand, only 9% of people age over 65 are avid NBA fans, the least among all age groups.
NBA fans political affiliation
- Among NBA's fanbase, 42% identified as democrats, making the NBA the largest democrat's fanbase among 4 major sports.
- The NBA also has the lowest share of republican fans, as only 26% of its fans identify as republicans.
- 31% of NBA fans are independent politically, also the most among 4 major sports leagues in the USA.
- The Golden State Warriors are a team with the largest share of Democrats in the fanbase, as 47% of the Warriors' fans identify as such.
- On the other hand, Memphis Grizzlies have the most conservative fanbase in the NBA, as 32% of their fans identify themselves as republicans.
- Boston Celtics have the most politically-independent fans, 35% of their fanbase.
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