Infographic - Miami Heat Win the 2012 "NBA Social Playoffs" - LeBron picks up MVP
On the eve of the NBA Playoffs, LeBron James of the Miami Heat has already scooped his first finals MVP, leading his team to top spot in the "Inaugural 2012 theScore NBA Social Playoffs".
James beat Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers into second spot in a simulation run by theScore, which looked at which NBA team has the strongest overall social media presence.
As our infographic shows, the road to the finals was a tough one, with factors such as: Facebook likes, Twitter followers, Google+ circles and Twitter Interactions to decide each round of the bracket.
And one of the biggest stories to come out of the experiment was James upstaging Bryant – with the head-to-head commonly considered the biggest rivalry in basketball. In this case LeBron dominates Kobe, living up to his nickname "King James".
He triumphs thanks to his integrated approach to social media, with a presence on all major platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ - and regularly posting unique content on each one. His own collective following exceeds 16 million, which is two-and-a-half times more than the Miami Heat’s, suggesting fans are more eager to connect with individual players then the team itself.
On the other hand, Bryant joined Twitter for one day back in September 2011 and attracted close to 40,000 followers overnight. "Can you hear me now?!?!" was the first and only message to be posted. Both Nike and Bryant's Facebook pages sent out welcome links to the new Twitter page, and then the lights were quickly turned-out, cancelling the account. It was reported by Yahoo! Sports that the account had been launched prematurely by Kobe's camp, and that he'd be back.
NBA Social Media Playoff Key Findings*:
• Most Connected: The team with the most overall connections (Likes, Followers and Google+ Circles) was the Boston Celtics with more than seven million.
• Least Connected in the League: The team with the least overall connections was also the league’s worst performer on the court (and worst winning percentage in NBA history)- the Charlotte Bobcats with just over 166,000 total connections.
• Most Interactions on Twitter: The team with the most interactions (@replys rt's and tweets) was the Miami Heat (@MiamiHEAT) with over 1 Million during the season.
• Least Interactions on Twitter for a Playoff Team: The team with the least interactions who made the playoffs was the Indiana Pacers with 212,000.
• Total Connections: The total of NBA Team Connections on their official Facebook Fan Pages (Likes), Twitter handles (Follows) and Google+ (Circles) pages compiles to over 55 million.
• Linsanity: There were more than 3.1 million tweets about Linsanity or Jeremy Lin - more than the sum of all tweets to or from the official handles of all Eastern Conference teams (2.8 million)
• NBA Mentions: "NBA" was mentioned more than 18.6 million times on Twitter throughout the season. More than 3x that of the NHL or the MLB
• Kardashian Effect: Lamar Odom who was actually released by the Dallas Mavericks on April 9th due to his poor play and inconsistency, managed to find himself in the power rankings of most followed players in the NBA. This is possibly due to his marriage to reality TV megastar Khloe Kardashian, who has more than 6.7 million followers.
In this simulation Kobe cost the Lakers the championship. If Kobe ever does join Twitter, will he overtake LeBron? And would his following be enough to close the gap to defeat the Heat's collective following?
*Note all statistics were as of April 26, 2012, the final day of the 2011-2012 NBA Regular Season