At the beginning of June, a repeat of last year’s NBA Finals matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors tipped off. The series started down the same path as 2016, with Golden State claiming victory in the 3 of the first 4 games. But, with reigning champion Cleveland unable to bring home a win in game 5, Golden State claimed the title for the second time in 3 years.
As the clock ran out in the 4th quarter, social media engagement peaked at nearly 1.5 million engagements. The second most engaged moment of the game came when the Warriors got their trophy and Kevin Durant was named series MVP. A brief, heated encounter between David West, J.R. Smith, and Tristan Thompson during the first half of the game, resulting in technical fouls for all 3 players, also caused a surge in social engagement. The moments following the Warriors’ victory were also the most rebroadcast of game 5, with over 900 rebroadcasts in the hours following the game.
Sponsors also saw a big social media impact from TV spots airing during the NBA Finals. Jägermeister and Captain Morgan had the highest lifts in social engagement following their TV ads during the finals. Both brands came into the finals with a lower level of social engagement than the rest of the top 10 advertisers, causing huge lifts despite lower overall engagement. Nissan, State Farm, and KFC, however, each achieved over 200% average lift in engagement on already high levels of engagement, reaching up to 24,000 engagements for State Farm during the finals.
While last year’s series went the full 7 games, this year’s NBA Finals outpaced 2016 in terms of social media engagement. With more than 43 million total engagements, the 2017 Finals beat 2016 through 5 games making the series more socially engaged than last year. With over 8 million social engagements, Golden State also took home the title for most engaged team, besting Cleveland’s 7.2 million.
We’re always keeping an eye on how TV and social media plays into big events in sports, pop-culture, and politics. Stay tuned for more coverage from our team.