The buzz and interest surrounding Game seven of the NBA finals was enough to generate record numbers for its broadcast on ABC and an incredible amount of discussion on social media titan, Facebook. 43 million people engaged with each other throughout the game on the platform as LeBron James’ Cavaliers and Stephen Curry’s Warriors battled it out on the court. For the entire NBA Finals, Facebook saw fans interact 269 million times through posts, likes, shares and comments since Game 1, making it the most talked about NBA Finals on Facebook, ever.
These numbers point to the continuing importance of social media platforms as an additional outlet for fan interaction during sporting events. These NBA Finals generated almost 100 million more interactions than the prior year’s series between the same two teams. Whether it was the drama of a Game seven that caused the increase or active integration through new strategic engagement and content, such as Facebook Live, fans continue to utilize the site as a form of digital media bar where they can discuss the game(s) with their closest friends and random strangers from across the globe.
Additionally, Facebook Live brought fans even closer to the championship celebration by broadcasting from the Cavaliers’ locker room after the game. This has generated more than 5 million views, 367,000 reactions, 99,000 shares and 53,000 comments in the less than one day since the game ended.
In this new era of digital media, traditional forms of engagement will continue to be important, but as viewership shifts and millennials continue to help disrupt the industry with cord cutting, embracing of over-the-top products, and reliance on social media platforms for content, Facebook and Twitter interactions will provide increasingly accurate snapshots of consumer behavior.
The NBA Finals were a huge hit on Facebook precisely because people want to talk about the drama unfolding before their eyes, and what better way to do that than with over 1.5 billion users across the world.