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Everyone’s Still Chasing The Yankees And Red Sox On Facebook And Twitter

The Kansas City Royals beat the New York Mets on Twitter as well as in the World Series.

The Royals had about 479,000 followers on Twitter as of this morning, 15,000 more than the Mets had — even though New York City’s metropolitan area has nearly 10 times the population of Kansas City’s. In fact, the Royals had 8,000 more followers than the 2014 population of Kansas City, Missouri.1 The Mets were winning on Facebook, though, with 1.3 million fans to the Royals’ 1.1 million.2

One reason most people who live in or near New York City aren’t following the Mets’ tweets and Facebook statuses about ticket sales, merchandise and, the day after the team’s World Series exit, bittersweet musings: Their region also has the Yankees and seven other major pro sports teams in the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL. Residents of Kansas City have only the 3-5 Chiefs.

The Mets and Royals are far from the top of the social-media leaderboards in the MLB. The Yankees and Red Sox have the most Twitter followers and Facebook fans of any MLB team, according to data as of Oct. 25 compiled by Socialbakers, a company that analyzes social media followings. (The Royals already led the Mets in Twitter followers on Oct. 25, even before the World Series began, though both follower counts rounded to 450,000.) The Yankees couldn’t make it out of the wild-card round in the playoffs, but their Facebook page has 35 percent more fans than MLB’s page does. The Philadelphia Phillies, meanwhile, rank fourth in Twitter followers but much lower in Twitter interactions and were the only team to lose Facebook fans over the past 12 months. Here’s how MLB teams compared to a year earlier:3

TWITTER FACEBOOK
NAME FANS FAN GROWTH INTERACTIONS FANS FAN GROWTH INTERACTIONS
MLB 5,280k 1,360k 11,420k 6,300k 330k 21,940k
Yankees 1,520 260 4,570 8,490 20 26,050
Red Sox 1,140 260 2,240 5,100 30 10,400
Blue Jays 1,100 570 2,560 1,380 340 10,530
Phillies 1,040 170 720 1,690 -30 3,610
Giants 900 210 3,830 2,970 290 23,910
Dodgers 830 230 4,900 2,950 180 15,100
Tigers 730 220 1,220 2,320 190 10,510
Cardinals 720 190 2,010 2,330 160 13,800
Cubs 710 310 4,700 2,580 270 21,210
Braves 690 140 1,590 2,140 80 9,040
Rangers 630 190 1,480 2,260 40 7,640
Royals 450 170 1,980 1,020 230 9,090
Reds 450 110 1,260 1,190 70 9,430
Mets 450 160 4,280 1,320 230 10,310
Pirates 410 120 1,750 1,090 150 8,890
Orioles 380 110 960 1,090 120 3,950
Angels 350 130 1,430 1,280 130 7,700
Indians 350 100 1,170 1,120 130 3,600
White Sox 340 110 1,070 1,650 70 5,650
Twins 330 90 630 1,140 40 3,100
Nationals 310 100 970 600 100 3,690
Mariners 310 90 1,080 1,090 120 4,470
Brewers 300 80 490 1,040 40 3,550
Astros 290 120 1,620 890 150 8,450
Athletics 280 60 840 770 60 2,530
Rays 270 80 510 700 20 3,270
Diamondbacks 230 80 840 680 60 4,080
Rockies 210 60 560 860 30 3,010
Padres 200 60 540 710 50 1,940
Marlins 170 40 620 580 50 2,270

Even the Yankees and Red Sox can’t compete with the online following of top NBA teams. Both the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls have more than twice the number of Facebook fans as each of the Yankees and Red Sox — and Lakers followers on Twitter outnumber Yankees and Red Sox followers combined. Some of that support comes from outside the U.S., where the NBA is far more popular than MLB. The popularity extends to the league as a whole. The NBA’s Facebook page has 27.5 million fans, more than the NFL’s (12.5 million), MLB’s (6.3 million) and NHL’s (3.9 million) combined. And while Socialbakers hasn’t run the numbers yet for this year’s World Series, Facebook and Twitter activity around last year’s Game 7 fell far short of activity around the end of conference championships in the NBA and NFL. The Royals won the World Series — in a sport that has a lot of work to do to capture the attention of the social-media world.

Footnotes

  1. By far the more-populous of the two Kansas Cities.

  2. We’re defining fans as people who like the team’s Facebook page.

  3. Interactions on Twitter include retweets, favorites and replies on tweets from the profile account. On Facebook, they include shares, likes and comments. The picture doesn’t look that different between the two leading social media platforms: The r-squared for the relationship between number of interactions on the two platforms among teams is 0.77; it’s 0.71 for the number of fans; and it’s 0.37 for growth in number of fans over the past year.

Carl Bialik was FiveThirtyEight’s lead writer for news.

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