The Most Popular NFL Teams on Twitter and Facebook: 2010 Season

footballWith a new football season under way I thought I’d take a look again at the NFL teams that have attracted the largest following to their official Twitter profiles and Facebook pages.

The usual caveats:

  • Social media isn’t a popularity contest and reach does not equal influence, engagement or action
  • These figures will quickly be out-of-date (they probably were before I could hit the “publish” button)

But those things aside, it is interesting to take a snapshot at various times for the purposes of comparison. And since I did the same thing in November 2009 I can now provide some growth percentages too.

Twitter

Let’s start with Twitter. Here are the 32 NFL teams’ official profiles ranked by number of followers:

Twitter followers
(Sept '10)
Increase since
Nov '09
1New England Patriots47,14456.94%
2San Diego Chargers42,06747.77%
3Dallas Cowboys40,709314.30%
4New York Jets36,109128.22%
5Oakland Raiders33,80377.49%
6San Francisco 49ers33,58885.58%
7Minnesota Vikings32,32993.94%
8Miami Dolphins31,48783.88%
9Cincinnati Bengals28,342104.81%
10Green Bay Packers25,025123.04%
11Denver Broncos23,331104.46%
12Chicago Bears23,187116.82%
13Atlanta Falcons20,87774.62%
14Tennessee Titans19,69670.81%
15Cleveland Browns18,965147.68%
16Seattle Seahawks18,48389.39%
17Baltimore Ravens17,77582.53%
18Kansas City Chiefs16,67367.57%
19Buffalo Bills16,16873.79%
20New Orleans Saints15,452N/A
21Washington Redskins11,578N/A
22Tampa Bay Buccaneers10,464122.92%
23Houston Texans10,416241.84%
24Carolina Panthers10,09093.74%
25Detroit Lions9,035243.14%
26Jacksonville Jaguars8,190129.41%
27St. Louis Rams7,719143.81%
28Philadelphia Eagles1,315N/A
Arizona CardinalsNo official profileN/A
Indianapolis ColtsNo official profileN/A
New York GiantsNo official profileN/A
Pittsburgh SteelersNo official profileN/A

The New England Patriots are still #1 (they held first place last season too) with the San Diego Chargers and the Dallas Cowboys close behind. From there the follower numbers start slowing dropping. Quite a few teams have fewer than 20K followers and several are still below 10K.

The Philadelphia Eagles have yet to reach 2K followers which seems very low for a sports-crazy town, but their official profile is fairly new. An EaglesInsider profile (that looks semi-official) with 5,300+ followers has been around longer.

It was surprising to see four teams still without official profiles. The Giants and Cardinals do have official representatives on Twitter (giantspathanlon and cardschatter) but no official team profiles. And I’m not sure what’s up with the Steelers and Colts (please correct me if I somehow missed theirs).

In terms of percentage increase since last year the Cowboys have seen the largest growth. The Detroit Lions and Houston Texans have also grown considerably but their total counts are still comparatively low. The Saints and Redskins did not have official profiles last November so I did not include a growth percentage for them.

Facebook

So how about Facebook? Here are the NFL team pages ranked by number of fans:

Facebook fans
(Sept '10)
Increase since
Nov '09
1Dallas Cowboys1,281,008N/A
2Pittsburgh Steelers835,311104.59%
3New Orleans Saints758,190N/A
4Chicago Bears711,77891.55%
5New England Patriots690,981381.31%
6Minnesota Vikings505,632150.21%
7Indianapolis Colts466,801132.12%
8Green Bay Packers382,521106.13%
9Philadelphia Eagles322,46989.56%
10Washington Redskins315,05985.20%
11San Diego Chargers312,338130.39%
12Miami Dolphins289,16698.48%
13Denver Broncos280,754236.37%
14San Francisco 49ers251,023206.31%
15Cincinnati Bengals248,917261.51%
16Seattle Seahawks215,48292.79%
17New York Jets194,627303.04%
18Baltimore Ravens177,342209.10%
19Cleveland Browns173,915331.34%
20Kansas City Chiefs171,957207.82%
21Detroit Lions130,742217.20%
22Buffalo Bills120,594123.09%
23Houston Texans106,453234.79%
24Arizona Cardinals103,605215.52%
25Tampa Bay Buccaneers99,729152.68%
26Tennessee Titans86,930174.54%
27Atlanta Falcons67,24087.64%
28Jacksonville Jaguars64,987116.60%
29Carolina Panthers56,425N/A
30St. Louis Rams40,847154.45%
31Oakland Raiders23,075-61.91%
32New York GiantsNo official pageN/A

The Cowboys are dominating, which is interesting because in November 2009 they did not even have an official page (at least that I could find). The Steelers, Saints, Bears and Patriots also have significant followings. After the Vikings at 500K+ the counts start to drop down.

The Oakland Raiders are interesting in that their official page has only 23,075 fans but an unofficial Raider Nation page has 184,199. I guess that’s a fitting testament to that Oakland fans and their reputation for being a little out of the ordinary.

Once again the New York Giants do not have an official presence which is really surprising. There is an unofficial page with over 50K fans but I could not find an official page for the team.

In terms of growth, nearly every NFL team has considerably higher fan counts than last year. This is likely connected to the launch of the external Facebook “like” button and the fact that Facebook page promotion is much more prevalent than it was even a year ago.

One exception is the Raiders, but I believe this is because I used the figure from the unofficial Raiders page in my 2009 post. I don’t think they had an official page at that time.

League-wide the Facebook numbers are much higher than Twitter which makes sense considering Facebook’s larger user base and adoption rate.

Combined Reach

For one final comparison I’ve ranked the NFL teams by combined Twitter and Facebook following:

Total (Twitter &
Facebook Combined)
Increase since
Nov '09
1Dallas Cowboys1,321,71713351.22%
2Pittsburgh Steelers835,311104.59%
3New Orleans Saints773,642N/A
4New England Patriots738,125325.18%
5Chicago Bears734,96592.25%
6Minnesota Vikings537,961145.92%
7Indianapolis Colts466,801132.12%
8Green Bay Packers407,546107.09%
9San Diego Chargers354,405116.05%
10Washington Redskins326,63792.01%
11Philadelphia Eagles323,78490.33%
12Miami Dolphins320,65396.95%
13Denver Broncos304,085220.51%
14San Francisco 49ers284,611184.47%
15Cincinnati Bengals277,259235.29%
16Seattle Seahawks233,96592.51%
17New York Jets230,736259.90%
18Baltimore Ravens195,117190.74%
19Cleveland Browns192,880302.03%
20Kansas City Chiefs188,630186.62%
21Detroit Lions139,777218.75%
22Buffalo Bills136,762115.85%
23Houston Texans116,869235.41%
24Tampa Bay Buccaneers110,193149.52%
25Tennessee Titans106,626146.85%
26Arizona Cardinals103,605215.52%
27Atlanta Falcons88,11784.38%
28Jacksonville Jaguars73,177117.96%
29Carolina Panthers66,5151177.17%
30Oakland Raiders56,878-28.57%
31St. Louis Rams48,566152.70%
32New York GiantsNo official profile or pageN/A

The Cowboys’ large Facebook fan base was more than enough to give them the #1 overall spot. The Steelers, Saints, Patriots and Bears are also doing very well. That’s impressive considering the Steelers do not have an official Twitter profile and the Saints did not have an official presence on either Twitter or Facebook last year.

All the teams have seen significant total growth since last November (excluding the Raiders exception), and the Cowboys and Panthers percentages are through the roof.

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