SBD/February 22, 2012/Media

The Usual Suspects: NFL Fan Favorites See Similar Popularity On Web

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The Packers, Steelers, Cowboys and Patriots are the NFL's most popular teams online and in the social media space, according to an examination of teams' websites and the number of Facebook likes and Twitter followers gained from August-December. According to data from comScore, the Packers averaged nearly 1.25 million unique visitors per month, tops among all clubs during that time period. The Cowboys ranked second with 1.17 million uniques, followed by the Steelers with 1.11 million. Those were the only teams to average more than 1 million unique visitors per month during the August-December time frame. The Jaguars had the lowest ranking during the period, with an average of 253,000 uniques per month. But driving traffic to a team’s website is not the sole focus for teams in today’s online landscape. Digital media consultancy Convergence Sports & Media President Tom Richardson said, “The goal, generally, in the business right now is to acknowledge that you have a big fan base and that there are all these opportunities to interact with them in different environments. Then, within whichever environment makes them comfortable and most loyal, that is where you need to serve them.” Richardson notes that a key benefit of Facebook for teams is the “multiplier effect,” whereby teams are not only reaching the fans, but friends of those fans. Richardson: “That represents a significant opportunity for marketing when you can very easily go beyond your first level of fans. Even if a fan’s Facebook friends don’t also ‘like’ a team page, there’s branding value there because they are seeing it.”

NFL TEAM WEBSITES: AVERAGE UNIQUE VISITORS
FROM AUGUST-DECEMBER
TEAM SITE
AVG. UNIQUES (000)
TEAM SITE
AVG. UNIQUES (000)
Packers
1,249
Bengals
498
Cowboys
1,169
Bills
489
Steelers
1,111
Saints
485
Patriots
948
Texans
456
Eagles
768
Panthers
433
Broncos
718
Chiefs
431
Raiders
673
Colts
415
49ers
670
Seahawks
401
Giants
652
Browns
393
Bears
639
Dolphins
380
Ravens
624
Cardinals
309
Jets
590
Titans
294
Redskins
582
Buccaneers
285
Lions
558
Rams
270
Chargers
530
Falcons
259
Vikings
524
Jaguars
253
       

FACE TIME: Some team officials note that it is not about pure website numbers. The Falcons, for example, took different approaches to drive more traffic to Facebook. Falcons Dir of Digital Media Dan Levak said the club’s approach was one of “engagement over eyeballs.” While the Falcons’ comScore figures for website traffic ranked lower than many teams, Levak said the club’s strategy is “less about trying to pull fans to our dot-com site as it is making sure we're engaging fans wherever they consume our brand and our content online.” The team made a significant social media push this past season, including in-venue signage directing fans to its Facebook page. Levak: “Our content strategy on Facebook isn't geared primarily to drive traffic back to our website. That's not a priority for us in terms of Facebook programming. Authentic engagement and offering true value propositions from us and our sponsors is.” The Facebook push was definitely reflected in the numbers. The Falcons ranked next-to-last heading into the season with just over 111,000 Facebook likes and finished with just under 648,000. That ranked the club fourth in Facebook likes gained during the regular season. The Cowboys led all clubs going into the training camp period with around 3.25 million Facebook likes, and remained at the top at the end of the regular season, reaching 4.16 million. While the Steelers ranked second with 3.77 million likes, they grew by more than 1 million during the course of the season, marking the only club to do so. The Jaguars saw the smallest growth among NFL clubs, gaining just over 39,000 likes from Aug. 2-Jan. 5.

BIRD'S THE WORD: While not cracking the top five in team site traffic or Facebook likes, the Jets topped all teams in Twitter followers during the regular season. The club finished the season with just over 286,000 followers, ahead of just over 257,000 for the Cowboys. The Cardinals began the season ranked last with under 10,000 followers and ended in the same position with just over 22,000 followers. Steelers Dir of Marketing Tony Quatrini said the team’s “primary goal is to drive fans to the team site focusing on exclusive content and merchandise offerings.” But Quatrini said Facebook, Twitter and other digital platforms “are important because outside of the game, that is where we engage one on one with our fans. I would say that Facebook is the fastest growing platform.”

NFL TEAM FACEBOOK LIKES, TWITTER FOLLOWERS
DURING '11 SEASON (RANKED BY INCREASE)
FACEBOOK
AUG. 2
JAN. 5
GAIN
TWITTER
AUG. 2
JAN. 5
GAIN
Steelers
2,713,229
3,773,171
1,059,942
Cowboys
96,462
257,380
160,918
Cowboys
3,248,420
4,159,733
911,313
Steelers
109,995
252,221
142,226
Packers
1,820,070
2,491,703
671,633
Jets
162,079
286,400
124,321
Falcons
178,401
647,650
469,249
Giants
29,203
152,281
123,078
Patriots
2,358,784
2,778,703
419,919
Packers
87,580
210,429
122,849
Colts
1,157,635
1,523,718
366,083
Patriots
111,660
230,839
119,179
Bears
1,814,526
2,165,560
351,034
Eagles
60,128
153,881
93,753
Eagles
1,187,795
1,538,367
350,572
Saints
64,040
150,030
85,990
Saints
1,987,876
2,315,114
327,238
49ers
61,783
134,056
72,273
Raiders
1,024,016
1,349,254
325,238
Raiders
66,393
137,040
70,647
49ers
748,893
1,024,687
275,794
Lions
34,817
103,423
68,606
Broncos
750,774
999,658
248,884
Bears
57,446
119,581
62,135
Giants
1,182,602
1,422,118
239,516
Broncos
53,923
111,058
57,135
Lions
412,151
632,726
220,575
Ravens
40,235
94,421
54,186
Ravens
629,250
833,422
204,172
Texans
29,972
83,621
53,649
Titans
227,014
429,875
202,861
Redskins
27,137
80,515
53,378
Browns
317,854
520,277
202,423
Dolphins
60,370
109,310
48,940
Redskins
641,207
839,645
198,438
Chargers
68,430
117,007
48,577
Dolphins
801,832
999,893
198,061
Falcons
52,585
99,671
47,086
Jets
934,642
1,130,277
195,635
Panthers
23,500
68,921
45,421
Rams
111,149
276,628
165,479
Colts
14,041
58,894
44,853
Vikings
1,078,659
1,231,057
152,398
Vikings
56,307
100,605
44,298
Chargers
860,114
1,005,409
145,295
Bills
31,948
74,439
42,491
Texans
324,401
456,746
132,345
Bengals
43,897
79,893
35,996
Panthers
268,974
381,153
112,179
Chiefs
36,935
72,100
35,165
Bengals
434,772
539,924
105,152
Browns
41,805
75,589
33,784
Chiefs
472,025
563,654
91,629
Titans
36,010
69,071
33,061
Seahawks
543,478
631,759
88,281
Rams
20,263
50,675
30,412
Cardinals
307,740
395,211
87,471
Buccaneers
25,015
54,941
29,926
Bills
263,098
347,251
84,153
Seahawks
40,928
70,719
29,791
Buccaneers
326,202
408,289
82,087
Jaguars
17,450
40,155
22,705
Jaguars
193,089
232,537
39,448
Cardinals
8,833
22,205
13,372
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