The 2019 Major League Baseball (MLB) postseason is already underway, and along with the on-the-field competition, there’s another off-the-field rivalry happening as teams battle for fan eyeballs on social video platforms.
Using data from video measurement company Tubular Labs, we tallied video views for all 30 MLB clubs across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, to see if those standings corresponded with the actual wins and losses. While there was certainly some overlap, it winds up that playoff teams weren’t locks to collect the most views.
As the graph shows above, just four of the top 10 teams in terms of social video views were playoff squads, leaving six more postseason-bound clubs off the list. This group does include the top two seeds in both the American League (the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees) and National League (the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Atlanta Braves), and it’s an interesting look at both how clubs retain fan interest over the course of a season, and how different clubs utilize social video to engage with fans.
We also looked at data from the stretch run of the pennant chase (starting Sep. 1) through the start of the 2019 MLB Playoffs. Once again using Tubular Labs’ information, we see that there were 72 million cross-platform social video views around the MLB postseason chase from Sep. 1 through Oct. 2. The Astros’ Facebook page was the top producer in terms of views, with 16.3 million (nearly 23% of the total) on 97 videos. They were followed by the Braves’ Facebook page (9.7 million views) and the Milwaukee Brewers‘ Facebook page (3.4 million). Houston also had three of the top 10 videos, including the overall top video The Dude is Unreal. Atlanta had three of the top 10 as well. The Oakland Athletics was the only other club to appear among the top 10 videos.
For reference, the actual 10-team MLB postseason field looks like this. However, if sorted by social video views, it would look like this instead:
1. Boston Red Sox
2. Houston Astros
3. Los Angeles Angels
Wildcard 1: Toronto Blue Jays
Wildcard 2: New York Yankees
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. Chicago Cubs
3. Atlanta Braves
Wildcard 1: Cincinnati Reds
Wildcard 2: St. Louis Cardinals
Looking at the totals across every team, the American League just edged out the National League in terms of views on the season — 1.43 billion versus the National’s 1.4 billion. Just two teams (the Dodgers and the Cubs) accumulated over 200 million views each, and 13 teams had 100 million or more. The American League Central was the only one of MLB’s six divisions to have zero teams hit at least 100 million views on the year — though the Cleveland Indians came close, bringing 99.6 million.
Looking ahead, it’s likely the teams that go further in the playoffs will generate the most views. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that two teams with lower-end regular season view counts (the Tampa Bay Rays and the Minnesota Twins) are in this postseason field, so there’s a chance that even if big view count bringers like the Dodgers and Astros suffer surprising defeats early in the postseason, they’ll still generate more views than the Rays and Twins.
It’ll be interesting to watch as the playoffs start to unfold.