Major League Soccer Winning the Twitter Battle for Fan Engagement

Over the last four years no sport in America has outpaced Major League Soccer’s growth in Twitter followers. MLS Twitter follower growth has almost tripled that of the National Hockey League and more than doubled that of Major League Baseball since 2011. The MLS has passed golf, NASCAR and tennis as the fifth most popular sport on Twitter. If the current trend holds steady, the MLS will surpass the NHL in Twitter followers by 2017 which would mark the first time the MLS has been ranked among the top four major professional sports in the U.S. on any significant fan engagement indicator. Most of this growth is being driven by the 80 million millennials in the U.S. The sport is so popular with the younger generation that corporate America is lining up at MLS Commissioner Don Garber’s (@TheSoccerDon) door looking for sponsorship opportunities.

Twitter Followers By Major Sports Category 2011 2012 2013 2014 4 Year % Increase
NFL 13,425,000 16,916,000 18,227,000 20,983,000 56.30%
College Football 9,075,000 12,684,000 13,063,000 16,466,000 81.44%
MLB 10,544,000 12,241,000 13,225,000 15,554,000 47.52%
NBA 7,933,000 10,647,000 10,278,000 12,713,000 60.25%
College Basketball 6,795,000 7,484,000 9,261,000 11,105,000 63.43%
NHL 6,432,000 5,004,000 8,078,000 8,870,000 37.90%
MLS 2,818,000 2,981,000 3,986,000 5,695,000 102.09%
Tennis n/a n/a 4,536,000 5,447,000 n/a
Golf n/a n/a 4,495,000 5,311,000 n/a
NASCAR 2,712,000 2,462,000 3,296,000 4,814,000 77.51%
Running n/a n/a 2,788,000 2,938,000 n/a

Source: Sports Business Research Net

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