Golden State Warriors is the most popular NBA team online in China, according to an annual report on the online influence of the sport’s teams.
The NBA Red Card report is a comprehensive analysis on the digital performance of NBA teams, players and sponsors, which is conducted by digital sports marketing agency Mailman, which also produces a similar report for European football organisations.
The report assesses online influence using a number of performance metrics including Weibo followers, growth in new followers and engagement as well as Weibo and Baidu mentions. The report also uses content analysis of two NBA teams, to compare the global and Chinese channels to reveal best practice and the key insights into online success in China.
The report revealed Golden State Warriors had maintained their title as the most influential team in China, ahead of Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, LA Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs. The report also found the Warriors are three-times more popular than the average NBA team online in China.
Jeremy Lin is the most popular current basketball player in China, beating out Stephen Curry, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony. Basketball legend Kobe Bryant’s remains the most followed NBA star thanks to his ongoing work to engage with Chinese fans included visiting the country annually for 15 consecutive years.
The NBA, which is the most powerful sports organisation in China, is driving the growth of the sport through its large influence over the team’s marketing strategies. However, many of the individual NBA teams are still lacking strong digital strategies, according to Mailman chief executive officer Andrew Collins.
“One of the findings from the report is that despite the NBA teams being one of the most innovative digital groups, only a few have a clear content strategy and a long-term plan in China."
Collins said Golden State Warriors, have created a tailored digital marketing strategy for China, which includes special edition Chinese New Year jerseys for six years running, and has helped China secure four sponsorship deals and sell the highest quantity of jerseys in China.