Wednesday December 6, 2023

NBA Finals Broke Records on Social Media

  • The league saw a 19% increase in video plays during the 2022 Finals.
  • Instagram Reels accounted for 60% of the NBA's social video plays.
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
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The NBA closed out the season with a bang on social media.

The league eclipsed 2 billion video plays for a 19% increase over last year — the latest evidence that the league has become a model for digital marketing in sports.

The uptick was due to several factors: The NBA celebrated its 75th anniversary, and the Finals featured a clash between the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics, two high-profile franchises in two of the biggest sports markets.

But the year belonged to Finals MVP Steph Curry, who became the league’s most marketed player, accounting for 28% of the NBA’s social video plays amid a pair of legendary performances in the title series.

The matchup, star presence, and aggressive marketing made for a record-breaking NBA Finals on social media.

  • Video plays were up 19% from 2021; 45% from 2020; 56% from 2019.
  • Instagram Reels (716M) accounted for 60% of the NBA’s social views during the Finals.
  • The league hit 88 million YouTube views — a 60% jump from 2021; 47% from 2020.

On NBA-related sites and apps (i.e., NBA App), the league drew 61 million visits during the series — a 13% increase from last year.

The league is already a powerhouse in this space, and its dominance should only increase with the emergence of a younger demographic enjoying the game via social media — even if the bar has now been set formidably high.

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