There are a lot of different ways to measure a team’s relative popularity. Average attendance for home games is one metric, as is the way a franchise draws on the road. Merchandise sales also provide a clue, especially on the national level. And TV ratings are also a decent indicator, showing how much the local fan base cares on a game-in, game-out basis.
But in 2019, another stat helps answer the question – Twitter followers. Whether it’s celebrities or sports teams, the number of people following an account is an indication of just how popular a person or franchise is on the worldwide stage.
Using that metric, a recently compiled list of the Twitter followers for each NBA team wasn’t good news for the Nuggets. Despite a 7.36% increase year over year, Denver’s total followers only reached 883,000 last season. While that may seem like a hefty number, it paled in comparison to most NBA teams – the Lakers topped the list with 7,640,000 followers – and finished dead last in the league.
In June 2018, I listed the follower counts of every NBA team in order. Here are this year’s numbers as of today, including the changes from last season to today. The arrows signify which teams went up or down in the standings. Some teams lost followers. pic.twitter.com/6MwgDiVvr8
— Andrew Ungvari (@DrewUnga) June 10, 2019
That’s certainly discouraging to see, but it wasn’t the only way in which the upstart Nuggets trailed the competition in 2018-19. By almost every measure, Denver was lacking in popularity.
On the attendance front, the Nuggets were a mixed bag. In terms of average home crowds, Denver finished 12th in the league, drawing 18,450 per game at Pepsi Center. That’s 96.3% of capacity, which ranks 16th in the NBA, essentially middle of the pack. On the road, however, Nikola Jokic and Company weren’t much of a draw, finishing 27th out of 30 teams with an average of 17,474 in attendance per game.
In terms of television viewers, the Nuggets did show some signs of progress in 2018-19. While the 1.3 rating the posted on Altitude last season wasn’t anywhere near the league’s top teams, it was a big improvement; the 74% ratings jump was the second-highest increase in the NBA.
The Nuggets are one of the league’s best young teams, coming off their best season in years. Here’s hoping that translates into more support, and popularity, in the future.
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