The Most Popular NFL Teams on Twitter and Facebook

UPDATE: There is a a newer post on this topic here: The Most Popular NFL Teams on Twitter and Facebook: 2010 Season

The role of social media in professional sports is getting a lot of attention these days, unfortunately mostly in the form of teams and leagues trying to clamp down on it or players making mistakes with it.

Despite this, fans are passionately supporting and discussing their teams through a range of social media outlets, in particular Twitter and Facebook. Since we’re in the heart of football season, I thought I’d take a look at which NFL teams have the largest following on both sites.

In the table below the 32 NFL teams are ranked by the total number of followers/fans on their official Twitter accounts and Facebook pages. These figures obviously change quickly but this current snapshot is useful for comparison.

Twitter followersFacebook fansTotal
1Pittsburgh SteelersNo official account408,277408,277
2Chicago Bears10,694371,597382,291
3Minnesota Vikings16,670202,084218,754
4Indianapolis ColtsNo official account201,100201,100
5Green Bay Packers11,220185,577196,797
6New England Patriots30,040143,563173,603
7Philadelphia EaglesNo official account170,114170,114
8Washington RedskinsNo official account170,114170,114
9San Diego Chargers28,467135,572164,039
10Miami Dolphins17,124145,687162,811
11Seattle Seahawks9,759111,772121,531
12San Francisco 49ers18,09981,950100,049
13Denver Broncos11,41183,46594,876
14Cincinnati Bengals13,83868,85482,692
15Oakland Raiders19,04560,58679,631
16Baltimore Ravens9,73857,37367,111
17Kansas City Chiefs9,95055,86265,812
18New York Jets15,82248,29064,112
19Buffalo Bills9,30354,05763,360
20Cleveland Browns7,65740,32047,977
21Atlanta Falcons11,95635,83547,791
22Tampa Bay Buccaneers4,69439,46844,162
23Detroit Lions2,63341,21843,851
24Tennessee Titans11,53131,66443,195
25Houston Texans3,04731,79734,844
26Jacksonville Jaguars3,57030,00333,573
27Arizona CardinalsNo official account32,83632,836
28St. Louis Rams3,16616,05319,219
29Dallas Cowboys9,826No official page9,826
30Carolina Panthers5,208No official page5,208
31New Orleans SaintsNo official accountNo official pageN/A
32New York GiantsNo official accountNo official pageN/A

Interestingly, despite no official presence on Twitter the Pittsburgh Steelers have the largest reach thanks to their large number of Facebook fans. I was also surprised that the Dallas Cowboys do not have an official Facebook page as they would certainly attract a significant number of fans.

I had expected all the teams to have more followers on Twitter. The San Diego Chargers lead the league with only 28K followers. (UPDATE: Thanks to Mike Blewitt for noticing that it is actually the New England Patriots that have the most Twitter followers at 30K+).

The New Orleans Saints and New York Giants are currently at the bottom of the social media heap with no official presence on either Twitter or Facebook. However an unofficial Saints page is very popular on Facebook with 163,760 fans.

Capturing data on only “official” accounts and pages was actually somewhat difficult (I welcome corrections if I’ve missed any). Twitter is a wild west for NFL teams right now – there are far more unofficial accounts, and even those that that claim to be official aren’t always actually so. Twitter should consider extending its “verified accounts” to team sites as well. On Facebook the official team pages are easier to identify, but they often face competition from other pages created by fans or local media. For several teams the unofficial pages have significantly more fans.

So the main takeaway is that NFL teams need to take better control of their social media presence and come up with more a cohesive engagement strategy. NFL fans are among the most passionate, so there is a great opportunity to leverage their loyalty and enthusiasm and further extend the relationships.

Comments

  1. Great post. Really interesting stuff, I wonder how these match up with franchise valuation? That’d be an interesting thing to see as well. I don’t think the NFL sees it clearly yet. They are going to need a groundswell to get the NFL network on every cable tv in the country and that is the goldmine ahead of them.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great info. I was curious to know the activity of all o the franchises and you’ve summed it up here. The league is slowly embracing social media, but the problem is that there’s no cookie-cutter strategy that could fit each team the same way becuase no 2 teams are alike and, similarly, no two teams’ fans are the same. It’ll be interesting to see how their efforts increase as more talk about the need for a social media presence continues.

  3. Interesting quick read, thanks for the info. The Giants and Saints should be pretty embarrassed by the lack of presence.

    One question: Your grid lists the Patriots as having the most Twitter followers with 30k but the text claims the Chargers as No. 1 with 28k so…which is it?

    Thanks again–Mike

  4. Thanks for catching that Mike, I accidently missed them.

    @realpatriots has 30K+ followers and is labeled as their official presence. There is also @patriotsdotcom with 6K+ followers that includes content from patriots.com.

  5. I think, once the teams that are in the bottom list know about this, launching their official twitter pages will make a turn-around tide in favor of them.

  6. T Anthony says:

    please update for 2010!!

  7. Will do – I’m going to update all the numbers in early September, in conjunction with the start of the new season.

  8. Wow The Steelers without Twitter has the highest. That is unbelievable.
    They are the most popular team in the world. X C LENT!!!!!!!!!!

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