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The Warriors Dominated The NBA Season Online, Too

The Golden State Warriors are but one of 30 NBA teams. Yet they get far more than one-thirtieth the attention of NBA fans.

One gauge: visits during the regular season to’s online hubs for individual games, which include recaps, box scores and play-by-plays. Of the games for which data is available,1 22 of the 23 with the most unique visitors included the Warriors. (The one game that didn’t involve the Warriors, Kobe Bryant’s last game, ranked second.)

The online hubs for Warriors games averaged more than three times the unique visitors, visits, page views and total minutes that an average NBA game hub received. The Cavs, Lakers, Spurs and Thunder were next in game-page popularity, way behind the Warriors.

Golden State Warriors +223% +239% +227% +277% +39%
Cleveland Cavaliers +53 +54 +49 +49 +9
Los Angeles Lakers +48 +49 +36 +35 +12
San Antonio Spurs +44 +46 +39 +51 +12
Oklahoma City Thunder +40 +43 +38 +42 +5
Portland Trail Blazers +5 +6 +6 +11 +14
Miami Heat +5 +5 +10 +10 +4
Utah Jazz 0 0 +4 +8 +6
Boston Celtics -2 -2 -3 -4 +2
Los Angeles Clippers -3 -1 -6 0 +18
Chicago Bulls -6 -7 -8 -14 -6
New York Knicks -6 -8 -12 -17 -4
Minnesota Timberwolves -7 -9 -6 -11 -10
Dallas Mavericks -8 -8 -5 -4 +5
Houston Rockets -9 -11 -8 -12 -3
Memphis Grizzlies -12 -12 -10 -11 -4
Charlotte Hornets -18 -20 -17 -25 -6
Atlanta Hawks -19 -19 -16 -16 0
Orlando Magic -20 -21 -19 -23 -11
Detroit Pistons -21 -23 -24 -31 -12
Washington Wizards -22 -23 -24 -27 -6
New Orleans Pelicans -23 -25 -25 -31 -10
Toronto Raptors -26 -27 -23 -27 -5
Indiana Pacers -26 -28 -24 -31 -9
Sacramento Kings -30 -31 -27 -30 0
Philadelphia 76ers -31 -33 -31 -38 -15
Milwaukee Bucks -33 -35 -31 -37 -12
Brooklyn Nets -34 -36 -34 -38 -8
Phoenix Suns -34 -35 -31 -32 +2
Denver Nuggets -36 -38 -34 -39 -6
The Warriors dominated the NBA — in game-page traffic

Per-game traffic to online hubs for teams’ games, with about 30 games for each team, mostly since the All-Star break

Source: ESPN

On days they played, a Warriors game boosted minutes spent on all of’s game hubs by four times more than the typical game. And the Warriors’ appeal spilled over into the days after they played, too, as games that started at 7:30 p.m. out West went past midnight in time zones farther east and as fans woke up to check how many threes Steph hit or whether Draymond got a triple-double. The day after the Warriors played a game, they boosted overall visitors to NBA game hubs on by an amount four times greater than the average game played that same day.2

Viewers also tuned in to see the Warriors play live online in far greater numbers than for most other teams. Of the 20 most-watched games on ESPN’s live streams this season, 13 were Warriors games (Bryant’s finale was No. 1) — though the selection bias of there being an awful lot of Warriors games available for viewers to stream surely skewed the rankings. Demand to see the Warriors or Bryant in person was high, too: Ticket prices for Lakers and Warriors games have been high all season and spiked for their finales Wednesday.

4/13/16 LA Lakers Utah 100
4/13/16 Golden State Memphis 66
11/4/15 Golden State LA Clippers 62
2/6/16 Golden State Oklahoma City 53
2/27/16 Golden State Oklahoma City 53
10/28/15 Minnesota LA Lakers 48
12/25/15 Golden State Cleveland 43
3/19/16 San Antonio Golden State 43
4/1/16 Boston Golden State 42
11/4/15 Cleveland New York 40
11/20/15 Golden State Chicago 40
10/28/15 Oklahoma City San Antonio 37
4/9/16 Golden State Memphis 35
1/20/16 Golden State Chicago 33
3/23/16 Golden State LA Clippers 32
2/3/16 Golden State Washington 31
11/11/15 Dallas LA Clippers 31
10/30/15 Cleveland Miami 30
4/13/16 Boston Miami 30
1/27/16 Golden State Dallas 29
The 20 games of the 2015-16 NBA season streamed most on ESPN

Source: ESPN

Some of this is self-fulfilling. — and much of the rest of the sports media, including us — has covered the Warriors furiously all season. A game featured at the top of the home page on NBA game nights naturally will get a lot of traffic, and often that was a Warriors game. But much of the outsize interest in the Warriors is organic: The Warriors were the most searched team on Google last year. And it’s not hard to understand why people would want to watch, read about or track the stats of the defending champs who set the wins record and feature, in Curry, the MVP and revolution.

Check out our latest NBA predictions.

CORRECTION (April 18, 6:35 p.m.): An earlier version of a table in this article showed the incorrect winner for the Golden State-Oklahoma City game on Feb. 27. Golden State won, not Oklahoma City.


  1. Mark Bowers, manager of digital research for ESPN, sent over the data, which includes about 30 games per team, mostly since the All-Star break. Data wasn’t available for some games for technical reasons. It includes web traffic from any device, but not ESPN app visits. FiveThirtyEight is owned by ESPN.

  2. These findings are based on a pair of regressions, one for each of unique visitors and minutes spent on NBA game pages, using daily data spanning the regular season (traffic was assigned to days based on the Eastern time zone). In each regression, there were four independent variables: the number of games played by teams other than the Warriors on that day and on the day before, and the number of games the Warriors played that day and the number they played the day before (each of those was 0 or 1 each day). For each regression, just two factors were statistically significant (p<0.05). For unique visitors, they were the number of games the Warriors played the day before and the number of games played by other teams on the same day. For minutes spent, they were the number of games the Warriors played that same day and the number of games played by other teams on the same day.

Carl Bialik was FiveThirtyEight’s lead writer for news.