Similar to the rest of the country, we at W2O Group have been glued to our TVs, phones, tablets and laptops watching the NBA postseason.
Who could blame us? The theater and caliber of play throughout the past several weeks has been some of the best basketball that the league has seen in years. The series of games that preceded the finals captivated homes, cities and fans across the country, whether you were watching the underdog Toronto Raptors battle it out against King James and the Cleveland Cavaliers – or if you were engrossed watching the Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder each give it 100% in a seven-game series. The NBA postseason has been nothing short of entertaining.
The Analytics Formula
As irresistible as we find the competition, we find the analytics surrounding the sport just as alluring.
Similar to our clients, we had preconceived notions of which fans would be the loudest and in some respects were shocked by the story the analytics told us. The exclusivity our analytics provided us for this project exemplifies how we position our clients to dominate against the competition… just like the pros.
The focal point of our curiosity stemmed from which teams had the loudest fans during the regular season. Thanks to our amazing analytics team, we were able to take a deep dive into the data and discover which fans were making the most noise.
For this analysis, we defined the “loudest” fans based on how actively they engage with their teams on Twitter. Engagement was calculated as total retweets plus favorites of content posted by each NBA team. Additionally we accounted for the following metrics:
- City population (market size)
- TV households in market area
- Number of tweets posted from each team’s offical Twitter handle during the regular season
The Results: The Loudest
This approach identified the following teams as having the loudest fans on Twitter: the Warriors, the Spurs and the Thunder.
(We cannot say we are surprised that the Warriors were included in the top three. There is no doubt that our CEO Jim Weiss and our San Francisco headquarters’ team members have contributed heavily to the conversation.)
Based off of our analytical approach, the Spurs had the highest engagement rate per potential fan, making them the loudest Twitter fan base in the NBA with a “noise” index of 100. The Thunder rank second with a noise index of 70 with approximately 1.44% of total fan engagements in the regular season vs. Spurs. Finally, the Warriors rank third with a noise index of 55.2 with approximately 1.28% of total fan engagement in the regular season.
Below are the top 10 loudest fan bases on Twitter in the NBA.
It is key to take into account outside factors such as number of cumulative tweets posted and city population. Although raw numbers are helpful, often times, they do not tell the complete story. If we only based engagement levels off of the raw data, retweets and favorites, the Warriors would have the loudest fans, followed by the Spurs, and the Thunder would round out the list.
However, our team understands the need to level the playing field when discussing pro teams. Some market sizes are larger than others (i.e. San Francisco) and some teams are not as active as others on Twitter. Note the Chicago Bulls sent 2,767 tweets during the regular season vs. the Warriors who sent 8,031. All of this context affects the bigger picture. Numbers always tell a story; we are lucky to have an amazing group of authors in our analytics team.
The Results: The Most Appreciative Fans
We also wanted to know which teams’ fans engaged the most with tweets from the team’s official Twitter account following a win. Based on engagement rate per win, the following teams have the “most appreciative fans” in the NBA:
1. San Antonio Spurs
Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 84
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 71.2%
Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 69%
Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 66.7%
Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 49.1%
It is easy surmise why the Spurs, Thunder, Kings and Bucks had appreciative fans throughout the regular season. The Spurs and Thunder were both top contenders throughout the playoffs. The Thunder going seven games against the reigning league champs, the Warriors. The Kings had a great season with new talent on its roster, and the Bucks handed the Warriors its first loss of the season. However, the Philadelphia 76ers had an embarrassing season, winning only 10 games out of 82. They nearly set a record for least amount of games won in a season, only narrowly escaping that fate by winning more games than the 1973 76ers who went 9-73.
Whether it was relief, sarcasm or praise, Philly’s fans made some serious noise on Twitter on the rare occasion the 76ers were able to deliver a win.
The Results: The Least Appreciative Fans
Reversely, the following teams’ fans had the lowest engagement rate per tweet following a win, deeming them the “least appreciative fans” of the NBA:
Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 3.9%
Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 6.3%
Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 7.6%
Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 9.1%
Avg. Engagement Rate Per Win: 12.6%
Perhaps it is easy to recognize why the Nets’ fans are least appreciative: the franchise only won a pitiful 21 games out of 82. However, the Clippers had a fantastic season, winning well over 50 percent of its games, yet its fans did not seem too impressed on Twitter. Even when the Clippers play excellent basketball, its fans do not have much to say about it via Twitter.
As the NBA prepares to wrap up its 70th season, we enjoyed looking back on the highs and lows of the season through the lens of analytics.
W2O always appreciates the incredible power our analytics can provide and the stories they are able to tell us, whether it is for our clients or our own passion projects. Our suspicions might be confirmed or we might be surprised, but we are always informed and empowered to create a strategy that places our clients in a position to succeed. Have any questions about our analytics? Contact Us
Creative for this project was provided by Jon Carrillo, a graphic designer at W2O Group. Connect with him on LinkedIn and if you don’t mind the occasional rant about the San Antonio Spurs follow him on Twitter at @JonnyCTweets!