Two of the year’s biggest sporting finals are underway. The NBA finals tipped off last night with the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors against Drake’s #1 team Toronto Raptors. Saturday afternoon sees one of soccer’s most highly anticipated matches of the year — the Champions League final, with the Tottenham Spurs against favored Liverpool FC.
The month of May made for some exciting basketball and soccer. The NBA saw intense Western and Eastern Conference Finals and the Champions League’s two semi-final matchups had fans across the world on the edges of their seats. Looking at both leagues’ total engagements from May 1 – May 29, the Champions League earned more than 161 million engagements across Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter while the NBA received nearly 134 million engagements. Despite having only 3 million more Instagram followers than the NBA, the Champions League earned 19 million more engagements.
Victories — on the field, court, and social media
Just as a stock’s meteoric rise can often be attributed to great earnings or industry-changing news, when looking at a league or team’s daily engagement spikes, more often than not a highly anticipated trade, last second shot, or come from behind victory are correlated.
We took a look at the Champions League and NBA’s daily engagement since the start of May as well as the four teams competing in the finals. It’s no surprise each saw engagement spikes due to incredible victories and game-winning shots.
On Tuesday, May 7, Liverpool faced off against FC Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final where Liverpool needed to score at least four goals to qualify for the final in Madrid. Paired with the daunting task of scoring four against Barcelona, the Premier League side would also have to hold Barcelona scoreless to ensure qualification. Liverpool blew out Barcelona 4-0, ensuring their place in the final, as well as cementing one of the most inspiring comebacks in Champions League history. The Champions League earned the most one-day engagements across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for not only May, but also the entire season. The league’s Facebook saw 1.75 million engagements — 87% more engagements than Wednesday’s May 8 game between Tottenham and Ajax (and the second most of the season).
With Liverpool’s convincing victory against FC Barcelona, the EPL team earned a birth in the Champions League final. The May 7 semi-final game earned Liverpool the most engagements across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the season (just like the Champions League). Liverpool star Mo Salah reaches fans from all corners of the world — most notably with his Egyptian background and loyal following. The team’s Arabic Facebook account earned 1.5 million engagements on May 7, 2.5 times what the channel earned in April, its second most engaging day of the season.
The Champions league semi-final match against Ajax proved to be Tottenham’s most engaging day across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (I think we’re seeing a trend here!). During the second leg of the Champions League semi-final held in Amsterdam, Tottenham found themselves in a precarious situation trailing 2-0 — after losing the first leg in London 1-0. With only 65 minutes left in the game, Tottenham needed to score three and hold Ajax from scoring again. Similar to Liverpool, Tottenham pulled off another incredible comeback after Lucas Moura wrapped up his hat-trick in the 96th minute, sending the Spurs on to Madrid. Tottenham earned 983,000 engagements on Twitter, more than two times the engagement garnered during the team’s quarterfinal match in April against Manchester City.
The NBA earned more than 13 million engagements across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter on May 13 — following Kawhi Leonard’s last second, game-winning shot against the Sixers. The league’s Instagram handle earned more than 7.6 million engagements, the most since February’s All Star weekend.
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors advanced to their third NBA Final without any hiccups, defeating the Portland Trailblazers 4-0 in the Western Conference Finals. Monday, May 20 saw the two-time defending champs with 4.8 million engagements across social media, the most for the month. Facebook earned a season high 525,000 engagements and averaged 26,250 engagements per post — more than 10,000 engagements above May’s average.
The Raptors saw the most daily engagement across social media on Sunday May 26, the day the team clinched the Eastern Conference Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks 4-2. The Raptors’ Instagram channel earned the team more than 4.3 million engagements, more than two times what they earned on May 13 when they clinched the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals against the Sixers 4-3. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Drake’s fanboying over the Raptors — looks like the “Drake Curse” may finally be a thing of the past.
There’ a big weekend ahead of sports — the NBA Finals, Champions League Finals, Stanley Cup Finals, and French Open Finals. We’ll be sure to pay close attention to how the leagues, teams, and players perform and if it pays off on social.