The National Basketball Association ranked No.1 in social media use across all major sports leagues during the 2017-18 regular season, according to a recent MVPIndex survey.
During its regular season, The NBA’s league, team, and player social accounts collectively generated around $808 million of value for brands, an increase from $574 million last season, or 40.8 percent.
NBA’s social media footprint value is $5 billion, according to the survey.
“This latest report marks the power social media has had on fan engagement in sports and an essential part of any brand strategy or sponsorship," says Kyle Nelson, co-founder and chief marketing officer, MVPindex. "This growth trajectory is unstoppable and should be a wake-up call to teams, players and brands across all sports: those who don't understand the power of social media to drive tangible value, and don't have a dedicated strategy to make it happen, are leaving money on the table."
Of the 54,000 brand mentions, 48 percent were on Twitter which accounted for 20 percent of the total value. Instagram made up 21 percent of total branded posts and generated 60 percent of the total value. The Top 100 most valuable branded posts last season were all on Instagram.
LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers was the top payer on social media during the 2017-18 season with more than 100 million followers.
He surpassed Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. James’ following is nearly as much as the next three NBA athletes on the list combined— Curry, Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook.
James was also the top-grossing ambassador for an athletic apparel company, mentioning Nike in 55 posts worth $12.3 million.
Curry earned $7 million for his partner, Under Armour. Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers’ scored $5.1 million for Adidas; Lonzo Ball of the Los Angeles Lakers secured $4 million for Big Baller Brand; and Westbrook collected $3.0 million for Nike’s Jordan brand.
Several companies saw significant value accrued from their NBA campaigns. Foot Locker’s #NBAKicks campaign was launched across 394 posts by the NBA and worth $34.8 million on social.
In its first year as the official jersey provider for the NBA, Nike was the top brand activated throughout the league. Nike was featured in 3,000 posts, a social value of $77.5 million and was included in three of the Top 10 most valuable campaigns with activations by the NBA, Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James.
Kia Motors, who holds award naming rights, was the second most brand promoted in the NBA. Through the season, the brand received $42.8 million in value.
The Boston Celtics generated the highest value for their jersey sponsor, General Electric. The brand garnered $9.2 million in value from the team.
The NBA league accounts accounted for eight of the Top 10 activations through the regular season.
MVP index is a social media intelligence platform that analyzes athletes' social media portfolios and calculates their digital brand value.