Twitter's Best Sports League

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By James Reichert

In the sports world, October is a magical month jam-packed with games being played in all four of the main professional leagues: the MLB, NFL, NHL, and NBA. Although these are completely different leagues, they do have one thing in common: using Twitter to communicate directly with their fans. Who controls the conversations? Let’s explore some of the various metrics for each professional league and crown the "king" of social.

Scouting Report (Stats for Mentions and Sentiment from TOPSY)

NFL

Followers:

7.54 million

Mentions last 30 days:

3.8 million

Sentiment Score:

50

Social MVP:

@ReggieBush mixes inspiration, hometown sports, and his interests into a fairly active account for an athlete.

NBA

Followers:

11.52 million

Mentions last 30 days:

1.46 million

Sentiment Score:

68

Social MVP:

@KingJames may have the most followers, but his ex-teammate @DwyaneWade is active and personable making him top dog.

NHL

Followers:

2.75 million

Mentions last 30 days:

395,000

Sentiment Score:

69

Social MVP:

Steve Ott (@otterN9NE) does a great job of talking with followers and he does not take himself too seriously. However, the @LAKings may have the best team account out of all the leagues.

MLB

Followers:

3.88 million

Mentions last 30 days:

588,000

Sentiment Score:

70

Social MVP:

Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) is a surprise winner here, but he does engage with his followers and is very funny to follow.

Box Score

When looking at followers alone, the NBA wins by a big margin (see chart below). The NBA is also the first professional league to put its Twitter handle front and center in 2014 (on its official game ball). In addition to that, the Boston Celtics was the first team to advertise its Twitter account on their court back in 2011. These moves to make Twitter a bigger part of offering to fans makes the NBA a formidable foe.

blog followers
blog followers

The MLB has been making great strides to engage with its followers and even added a special “Social Media Night” and Social Media Suites for loyal fans and followers. The league also include real-time tweets, and even video clips of big plays, during marquee match-ups, allowing followers who aren't in front of a TV to follow along via their feeds.

The strength of the NHL is all the team accounts that use Twitter to engage with fans, join together around major initiatives, and battle one another on Twitter during games, especially during the playoffs.

The TOPSY Sentiment Score for the NFL over the last thirty days is the lowest of the four leagues for obvious reasons. When the NFL is not under constant scrutiny, they do have a strong content play on Twitter sharing amazing stats and game highlights. However, the majority of mobile NFL fans share via Facebook: “Among those who share content on their mobile phone, 51 percent use Facebook….Twitter (8 percent)”.

Champion: The NBA due to sheer size and itswillingness to open up dialogue with fans to the point of putting its Twitter handle on its own game ball.

Which league is your personal winner? What are your favorite accounts to follow? Tell is in the comments below!