As the NFL gears up for another season, there is a lot to reflect on during this past offseason. An offseason like no other, we saw many storylines that would seem unthinkable; Tom Brady signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Patrick Mahomes signing a $450M contract after coming off a Super Bowl victory, and more. However, this all created more opportunity for NFL teams to engage with their fans on social in new and creative ways. Before kicking off the 2020 NFL season, we wanted to reflect on the past offseason’s top 10 teams, based upon engagement rate.
10. Baltimore Ravens: 3.00% Engagement Rate
Dominating the league last year both on the field and on social, it is no surprise to see that the Baltimore Ravens rolled their momentum on social into the offseason. The Ravens’ list of moments worth capturing this offseason goes on and on, and the Ravens social team made excellent work of all of them. There are very few honors in football higher than being the cover athlete on the Madden video game franchise, and the Ravens had one this year. Their ability to maximize that opportunity, their Facebook Live series featuring player interviews, and the honoring of the passing of beloved Baltimore sports “super-fan” Mo Gaba helped the Ravens be a leader and model for offseason social media in sports.
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9. Buffalo Bills: 3.01% Engagement Rate
Is there any fan base more loyal than Bills Mafia? Let us provide the answer for you; no! Bills fans are connected more to their team than many other things in life, and it shows on social. Perfect example? Just this week, the Bills posted on Twitter that if a picture of QB Josh Allen with a mustache got 5,000 retweets, they would make it their profile picture. That was not much of a challenge for Bills fans, as in less than a day, the post currently still has over 8,000 retweets and another 11,000 likes. Fun, fan-friendly content like this is what keeps the Bills’ social account among the top.
8. Los Angeles Rams: 3.02% Engagement Rate
The big storyline this offseason for the LA Rams? A new stadium and new uniforms. A complete redesign of the teams’ logo led to a lot of conversation on social media for the team this offseason, drawing high engagement levels for them. From the logo reveal itself, fans were highly conversational in sharing their thoughts on the logo to new uniforms. Additionally, the team was continually providing video updates on the new stadium’s building that the team will be playing in this season. The state-of-the-art facility was a storyline a track this offseason and the Rams did a stellar job of capturing and storytelling the finishing of the stadium.
7. Cleveland Browns: 3.03% Engagement Rate
If the most loyal fan base in football isn’t Bills Mafia, it might be the Browns. Much like the Rams, the Browns also unveiled new uniforms for the 2020 season, going “back to the basics”. The browns top content this offseason was heavily around the new uniforms and pictures on Instagram of star players like Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr. sporting the new uniforms. In addition to this, the Browns also saw high engaging numbers during the NFL draft, where they drafted OT Jedrick Wills in the 1st Round and S Grant Delpit in the 2nd Round. The Browns’ young core of players give Browns fans a lot to look forward to, and the fans show it on social media.
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6. New Orleans Saints: 3.07% Engagement Rate
The Saints went into the offseason, losing QB’s Drew Brees, Taysom Hill, and Teddy Bridgewater to free agency. Being able to bring back Drew Brees and Taysom Hill made Saints fans rejoice and excited for the continued success of the franchise, and they were sure to show it on social media. Along with this, much like the Ravens, the Saints reaped the rewards from Madden, and superstar WR Michael Thomas was named among the very few to the Madden 99 club, the shortlist of players earning a max 99 rating in the video games. The Saints’ social media this offseason was a perfect model for maximizing your players in order to draw engagement.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 3.08% Engagement Rate
This one speaks for itself. Signing a future first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback is certain to make fans happy. Signing that quarterbacks, former favorite target, and an NFL-wide fan favorite, now that is just the icing on the cake. Bringing the duo of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski was nothing short of exciting for Bucs fans, and the team more than utilized this to their advantage. Brady and Gronk, along with already fan favorites Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, bring a lot of excitement for Bucs fans and make them more engaged than ever with the team.
4. San Francisco 49ers: 3.30% Engagement Rate
Again another example of simply celebrating your players, the 49ers had a lot of this to do. Coming off a season as NFC Champions, just coming up short in the Super Bowl, the 49ers have a lot of players for fans to be excited about. Among these players celebrated was one who “departed” for retirement, longtime offensive lineman Joe Staley. Drafted in 2007 by the 49ers, Staley played his entire career in San Francisco before deciding to call it quits back in April. The 49ers campaigned around Staley, changing their profile picture and using the hashtag #74Forever to share his career moments. Outside of this drawing engagement for the teams’ social accounts, the extension of star TE George Kittle also pushed engagement for the team as well.
3. Kansas City Chiefs: 3.32% Engagement Rate
Winning a Super Bowl supplies a lot of content heading into an offseason for any sports team, and the Chiefs were certainly not at a lack for it. Between Super Bowl highlights for weeks following and the recent unveiling of the Super Bowl rings, the Chiefs’ social accounts are certainly reaping the Super Bowl rewards. The icing on the cake? As mentioned earlier, signing your beloved franchise QB to a 10-year contract is certainly something that fans love to see too.
2. Seattle Seahawks: 3.44% Engagement Rate
Another diehard fanbase, Seahawks fans are widely known as the “12th man”. Well, the 12th man doesn’t just show up to Seahawks games. They show up on social media for the team as well. Like many other teams on this list, the Seahawks had a lot to share this season when it came to player additions, most notably All-Pro Safety Jamal Adams. Of the Seahawks’ top five Instagram posts this offseason, three of them were surrounding the addition of Jamal Adams.
1. Las Vegas Raiders: 3.53% Engagement Rate
Last but certainly not least, the top team on social media this offseason was the team with many the most exciting storyline this year, the Las Vegas Raiders. Nearly three years after announcing the move, the Raiders made a move this offseason from Oakland to Las Vegas. The Raiders’ social team embraced the move this offseason with heavy content around their own new state-of-the-art facility, Allegiant Stadium. Not only was the move a big offseason move for the team, but another fan-favorite move was their 1st Round draft pick, WR Henry Ruggs. Ruggs is bound to be a fan-favorite quickly, as he should see frequent targets this season. Could he shine his way to being a Rookie of the Year candidate for the Raiders and keep them among the top teams throughout the season? We shall see!
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