The Most & Least Popular NBA Teams on Social Media 2020

Most and Least Popular NBA Teams

There is no better time to look at the intersection between NBA fandom and social media than in 2020 – during the NBA‘s resumed season in the bubble! Popularity on NBA social media isn’t defined just by the success of a team, but in the content they produce, the population of the city, and the team’s ability to reach outside of their own market for viewership.

1Los Angeles Lakers8,155,3999,960,13721,583,82939,699,365
2Golden State Warriors6,382,94813,201,98111,695,06431,279,993
3Chicago Bulls4,113,0644,776,77117,651,23326,541,068
4Miami Heat4,677,5283,710,65315,188,43223,576,613
5Houston Rockets2,972,3794,344,98912,974,84820,292,216
6Cleveland Cavaliers3,255,9907,451,3118,537,88019,245,181
7Boston Celtics3,489,2174,583,6898,982,94317,055,849
8Oklahoma City Thunder2,761,4744,387,8227,022,62214,171,918
9San Antonio Spurs3,471,5312,866,4867,017,39813,355,415
10New York Knicks2,154,5112,313,6865,808,33010,276,527
11Sacramento Kings1,065,0051,315,7857,735,94510,116,735
12LA Clippers1,533,7152,670,6423,806,4528,010,809
13Toronto Raptors2,114,8542,994,5002,672,2657,781,619
14Dallas Mavericks1,632,3181,412,6674,364,8207,409,805
15Indiana Pacers1,228,3231,684,9353,233,7986,147,056
16Philadelphia 76ers1,812,4222,235,9411,752,6235,800,986
17Brooklyn Nets1,055,1051,826,0722,734,3525,615,529
18Washington Wizards1,017,6241,397,8763,191,7655,607,265
19Portland Trail Blazers1,253,8381,648,0302,453,1475,355,015
20Milwaukee Bucks1,130,6262,341,4091,843,6685,315,703
21Orlando Magic1,492,5661,027,6242,736,3675,256,557
22Minnesota Timberwolves968,0571,696,9541,882,0624,547,073
23New Orleans Pelicans1,011,4031,697,0661,758,5234,466,992
24Phoenix Suns1,086,6451,269,7611,878,9334,235,339
25Atlanta Hawks1,253,7341,177,5811,607,5294,038,844
26Denver Nuggets926,3931,082,1832,003,6094,012,185
27Charlotte Hornets957,4881,139,1201,733,4813,830,089
28Detroit Pistons925,6221,042,1121,848,0713,815,805
29Memphis Grizzlies1,052,319896,5481,800,2413,749,108
30Utah Jazz952,978914,8807,017,3981,805,671

Data from: Global Sports Salaries Survey

The obvious suspects sit at the top of the charts, where the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, and Chicago Bulls have remained for a number of years.

All three franchises rest on the laurels of their dynasty for fans. We should also mention that the superstardom of players for these clubs, both current and former, like LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Michael Jordan, boost the team’s accessibility globally.

Teams that haven’t shown success in recent years, but maintain huge popularity due to their history or former players, also find themselves in the top third of the standings.

The Miami Heat, Houston Rockets, and Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t had much success of late, but the lasting legacy of LeBron James in Miami and Cleveland clearly has its effect. Houston on the other hand skyrocketed in social media support upon their early-2000’s acquisition of Chinese superstar Yao Ming.

Clubs that rest in the middle tier of the social media following are usually still from large cities and are successful, but are a less popular club in their market. The LA Clippers have had little historical success and have played second fiddle to the Lakers for years. On the other hand the Toronto Raptors are a team that represents an entire country and is one of the most internationally driven teams in terms of roster.

Unfortunately for Toronto, they are still second to hockey in their own market.

Teams with the lowest viewership generally have the worst combination of being in a small market, poor recent success, and a lack of player popularity.

If you’re curious about which NFL teams are most popular on social media check out “The Most & Least Popular NFL Teams on Social Media“.

30. Utah Jazz

Twitter page likes: 952,978

Instagram Followers: 914,880

Facebook Followers: 7,017,398

Average Ticket Price: $55

Home Stadium: Vivint Smart Home Arena

29. Memphis Grizzlies

Twitter page likes: 1,052,319

Instagram Followers: 896,548

Facebook Followers: 1,800,241

Average Ticket Price: $88

Home Stadium: FedExForum

28. Detroit Pistons

Twitter page likes: 925,622

Instagram Followers: 1,139,120

Facebook Followers: 1,848,071

Average Ticket Price: $65

Home Stadium: Little Caesars Arena

27. Charlotte Hornets

Twitter page likes:  957,488

Instagram Followers: 1,139,120

Facebook Followers: 1,733,481

Average Ticket Price: $74

Home Stadium: Spectrum Center

26. Denver Nuggets

Twitter page likes:  926,393

Instagram Followers: 1,082,183

Facebook Followers: 2,003,609

Average Ticket Price: $61

Home Stadium: Pepsi Center

25. Atlanta Hawks

Twitter page likes:  1,253,734

Instagram Followers: 1,177,581

Facebook Followers: 1,607,529

Average Ticket Price: $103

Home Stadium: State Farm Arena

24. Phoenix Suns

Twitter page likes:  1,086,645

Instagram Followers: 1,269,761

Facebook Followers: 1,878,933

Average Ticket Price: $82

Home Stadium: Talking Stick Resort Arena

23. New Orleans Pelicans

Twitter page likes:  1,011,403

Instagram Followers: 1,697,066

Facebook Followers: 1,758,523

Average Ticket Price: $48

Home Stadium: Smoothie King Center

22. Minnesota Timberwolves

Twitter page likes:  968,057

Instagram Followers: 1,696,954

Facebook Followers: 1,882,062

Average Ticket Price: $58

Home Stadium: Target Center

21. Orlando Magic

Twitter page likes:  1,492,566

Instagram Followers: 1,027,624

Facebook Followers: 2,736,367

Average Ticket Price: $60

Home Stadium: Amway Center

20. Milwaukee Bucks

Twitter page likes:  1,130,626

Instagram Followers: 2,341,409

Facebook Followers: 1,843,668

Average Ticket Price: $74

Home Stadium: Fiserv Forum

19. Portland Trail Blazers

Twitter page likes:  1,253,838

Instagram Followers: 1,648,030

Facebook Followers: 2,453,147

Average Ticket Price: $79

Home Stadium: Moda Center

18. Washington Wizards

Twitter page likes:  1,017,624

Instagram Followers: 1,397,876

Facebook Followers: 3,191,765

Average Ticket Price: $51

Home Stadium: Capital One Arena

17. Brooklyn Nets

Twitter page likes:  1,055,105

Instagram Followers: 1,826,072

Facebook Followers: 2,734,352

Average Ticket Price: $86

Home Stadium: Barclays Center

16. Philadelphia 76ers

Twitter page likes:  1,812,422

Instagram Followers: 2,235,941

Facebook Followers: 1,752,623

Average Ticket Price: $86

Home Stadium: Wells Fargo Center

15. Indiana Pacers

Twitter page likes:  1,228,323

Instagram Followers: 1,684,935

Facebook Followers: 3,233,798

Average Ticket Price: $89

Home Stadium: Bankers Life Fieldhouse

14. Dallas Mavericks

Twitter page likes:  1,632,318

Instagram Followers: 1,412,667

Facebook Followers: 4,364,820

Average Ticket Price: $106

Home Stadium: American Airlines Center

13. Toronto Raptors

Twitter page likes:  2,114,854

Instagram Followers: 2,994,500

Facebook Followers: 2,672,265

Average Ticket Price: $70.89

Home Stadium: Scotiabank Arena

12. LA Clippers

Twitter page likes:  1,533,715

Instagram Followers: 2,670,642

Facebook Followers: 3,806,452

Average Ticket Price: $65

Home Stadium: Staples Center

11. Sacramento Kings

Twitter page likes: 1,065,005

Instagram Followers: 1,315,785

Facebook Followers: 7,735,945

Average Ticket Price: $88

Home Stadium: Golden 1 Center

10. New York Knicks

Twitter page likes: 2,154,511

Instagram Followers: 2,313,686

Facebook Followers: 5,808,330

Average Ticket Price: $285

Home Stadium: Madison Square Garden

9. San Antonio Spurs

Twitter page likes: 3,471,531

Instagram Followers: 2,866,486

Facebook Followers: 7,017,398

Average Ticket Price: $49

Home Stadium: AT&T Center

8. Oklahoma City Thunder

Twitter page likes: 2,761,474

Instagram Followers: 4,387,822

Facebook Followers: 7,022,622

Average Ticket Price: $52

Home Stadium: Chesapeake Energy Arena

7. Boston Celtics

Twitter page likes: 3,489,217

Instagram Followers: 4,583,689

Facebook Followers: 8,982,943

Average Ticket Price: $141

Home Stadium: TD Garden

6. Cleveland Cavaliers

Twitter page likes: 3,255,990

Instagram Followers: 7,451,311

Facebook Followers: 8,537,880

Average Ticket Price: $42

Home Stadium: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

5. Houston Rockets

Twitter page likes: 2,972,379

Instagram Followers: 4,344,989

Facebook Followers: 12,974,848

Average Ticket Price: $67

Home Stadium: Toyota Center

4. Miami Heat

Twitter page likes: 4,677,528

Instagram Followers: 3,710,653

Facebook Followers: 15,188,432

Average Ticket Price: $92

Home Stadium: American Airlines Arena

3. Chicago Bulls

Twitter page likes: 4,113,064

Instagram Followers: 4,776,771

Facebook Followers: 17,651,233

Average Ticket Price: $75

Home Stadium: United Center

2. Golden State Warriors

Twitter page likes: 6,382,948

Instagram Followers: 13,201,981

Facebook Followers: 11,695,064

Average Ticket Price: $458

Home Stadium: Chase Center

1. Los Angeles Lakers

Twitter page likes: 8,155,399

Instagram Followers: 9,960,137

Facebook Followers: 21,583,829

Average Ticket Price: $473

Home Stadium: Staples Center

What Does the Future Hold?

Social media is a great tool for gauging the value of an NBA franchise. While it does little to define a club’s monetary value, alternative viewership is crucial for teams in the modern market.

As cable television becomes less popular, teams are trying to figure out how to engage new and returning fans with their product. The New Orleans Pelicans may have just one million twitter followers, but star rookie Zion Williamson has almost 500k followers alone. It is no longer enough to say a team isn’t popular just because of their social media follower count, teams have just not capitalized on their key assets.

All clubs are looking to grow their franchise through a combination of competitive success, television viewership, and alternative content. With the old guard of NBA stardom being phased out, like LeBron James being one of two players left from the legendary 2003 draft class, don’t be surprised to see social media popularity by team change greatly in the next couple of years.

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Christian Jope

Expert on NBA

Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.

Email: [email protected]