NWSL Teams Soar in Social Media Engagement

    • Six NWSL teams’ social engagement rates were among the top 20 in professional sports last week.
    • The league also recently announced that TV viewership was up 500% in 2020.

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Five National Women’s Soccer League clubs were among the top 10 professional sports teams with the highest cross-platform social media engagement rates from Oct. 19-25, per Front Office Sports’ “Trending 20” leaderboard that uses data from analytics company Conviva. 

Engagement rate is the sum of social media engagements — including “likes,” replies, retweets and comments on social posts — divided by the total followers on an account, expressed as a percentage. 

The NWSL, which launched in 2012, is the highest level of professional soccer for women in the United States. 

Angel City FC, the league’s newest expansion team, led the way with a 3.27% engagement rate — it was previously unranked. With a big announcement early in the week confirming its name, badge and the addition of a slew of high-profile investors to its ownership group, the team also racked up a whopping 10.28% audience growth rate, nearly seven times that of any other team in the top 20. 

At about 100,100 followers across platforms, Angel City still has the smallest audience of any of the other top 20 teams.

Portland Thorns FC, previously No. 12, and the North Carolina Courage ranked No. 4 and 5 on the list with engagement rates of 1.51% and 1.40%, respectively — the Courage were previously unranked. Thorns FC and the Courage engaged in a major trade on Oct. 22, sending U.S. women’s national team defender Crystal Dunn from North Carolina to Portland at her request.

Portland’s tweet announcing the Dunn acquisition drew over 600 retweets, 800 quote tweets and 5,000 likes. 

The Houston Dash, ranked eighth last week, clocked in at No. 7 with a 1.12% engagement rate. The Chicago Red Stars, previously unranked, finished ninth with a 1.07% engagement rate. 

The WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces were the only other women’s team to crack the top 10, matching the Dash’s engagement rate. NWSL team Utah Royals FC also made the top 20 last week, finishing in the No. 13 spot after previously being unranked.

The NWSL’s other expansion team — Racing Louisville FC — would have cracked the “Trending 20” leaderboard, but did not meet the minimum 25 post criteria.

The NWSL’s success on social media comes as the league also announced a 500% rise in television viewership in 2020, the first year of a new broadcast rights deal with CBS.