NBA Fans are Getting Excited for the Playoffs!

Today was the first day of the NBA playoffs. I thought it would be interesting to see which teams fans are most excited and engaged in today’s match-ups. We found the difference between the team’s PTAT% (People talking about This, also known as 7 day storytellers) on Facebook from Friday (4/18) to today (4/19).

Monitoring PTAT changes over just one day can be noisy. However, the PTAT bump from the regular season to the playoffs is big enough to overcome these fluctuations.


Every team had an increase in PTAT% except the Brooklyn Nets, who actually lost engagement.  Toronto had the highest percent increase at 1.6%, which represents 12,000 more active storytellers.   

Oklahoma City’s 1.29% increase from yesterday to today might not seem impressive.  Yet on a gross basis this represents an additional 50,000 active users.  The more fans a team has, the more active users you need to make a 1% difference in your engagement rate.

PTAT Amount of fans playoffs

Although the Raptors had the highest percent change, they didn’t have the highest amount gross of engagement. They’re actually right in the middle. This shows that the more fans you have, the harder it is to raise your %PTAT.  

This is the paradox of popularity. The larger the fan base, the lower the engagement. We’ve measured this to be true not just across professional sports, but CPG, banking, retail, and every other category. There is a strong negative correlation between fan base size and engagement rates.

So why did Brooklyn’s PTAT decline by 20,000 fans?
They lost their last 2 games of the regular season. Fans of losing teams are quiet compared to teams that win, as we demonstrate here.

Facebook is taking away the PTAT metric soon, so this is a good opportunity to get the most you can. We don’t know what the new metric is, but it probably breaks out engagement by type, instead of rolling it into a single number that treat all engagement with the same weighting. Perhaps LCS (likes, comments, shares) will be separate.

Coming tomorrow is the rest of the pack! We’re going to analyze the rest of the team’s in the Playoffs that play tomorrow.


Aarun Rumbaugh

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Aarun Rumbaugh