Women's pro leagues grow their social media visibility in 2022
The GIST: Women’s sports are good for the algorithm. A recent report revealed that several pro leagues grew their social media visibility in 2022, providing the latest empirical example of women’s sports’ undeniable rise.
The methodology: The report measured social media engagements (total interactions with posts) on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as impressions, which counts the number of accounts that viewed a post. It also revealed posts’ social media value, which was calculated using industry standard CPM models.
The top leagues: WNBA teams grew their followings by 10% YoY and earned around 25K engagements (up 9%), nearly 1.5B impressions (up 13%) and almost $40M in social value (up 15%). NWSL teams enjoyed the exact same follower growth and hit roughly 18K engagements (up 7%), around 1B impressions (up 28%) and about $16M in social value (up 15%).
- Meanwhile, PHF teams saw their following grow only 3% but collected around 800K engagements (up 39%), almost 80M impressions (up 9%) and roughly $1.3M in social value (up 24%).
- These leagues still lag behind behemoths like the NFL, where the top teams saw more than 100% growth in social value last year. Women’s sports, however, usually make up the gap by outperforming average social engagement across all leagues.
The top moments: The playoffs delivered in stadiums and on socials. The WNBA garnered 10M-plus engagements (up 85%), 400M-plus impressions (up 192%) and almost $10M in social value (up 149%), while the NWSL scored 3M-plus engagements (up 69%), around 120M impressions (up 86%) and nearly $3M in social value (up 81%).
Zooming out: As we covered in last month’s Sports Biz Breakfast, social media’s democratization allows female athletes to build valuable brands for themselves and their leagues, and the industry is finally meeting them halfway. Advertisers are spending more on social than ever before, which often delivers more bang for their buck than TV. Going viral.