2018’s top 100 athletes on social

EOYtop100_2018

Ealier this month, we reported on the leading athlete-driven leagues of 2018. Our recap featured eight of the most powerful sports leagues in North America, all with one thing in common — their athletes create serious impact on social.

Here, we take a look at the familiar faces within those leagues who keep fans coming back for more.

 
 
 
 
 
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Can’t even front, it’s just felt different! Goosebumps! #striveforgreatness? #thekidfromakron?

A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

It’s understood that fans go wild for athlete-driven content. With the right tools and support, these individuals have the ability to drive unmatched social conversation and engagement.

The athletes listed below have embraced their unique platform to build their brands beyond the lines of their sport.

 
 
 
 
 
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@mickeymouse and Goofy

A post shared by Zlatan Ibrahimović (@iamzlatanibrahimovic) on

The data in this report offers a look at how the top athletes perform as individuals on social, measuring their audience, activity, engagement, and growth.

With over 111 million followers across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, LeBron comfortably leads all players in total audience size. Meanwhile, Zlatan held onto second place ahead of fellow European league transfer, Wayne Rooney.

 
 
 
 
 
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We’ll be good… ??

A post shared by JuJu Smith-Schuster (@juju) on

There’s no denying the impact that perennial powers like LeBron, Zlatan, and Steph Curry can have with their audience. However, several of 2018’s top athletes were up-and-comers like JuJu Smith-Schuster and Kyle Kuzma, who posted the two highest growth rates and sit near the top in several other categories.

While these young stars lack the audience size of the experienced vets, each claims strong growth and engagement, while ranking near the top in terms of quality content activity (posts including photos or video).

 

Top 100 athletes on social

Below is our 2018 analysis of the 100 most-followed athletes in North American professional sports. The ranking includes data for each athlete from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018.

Download the full report

Total Audience

LeBron James — 111.1 million followers
Zlatan Ibrahimović — 67.9 million followers
Wayne Rooney — 55.4 million followers
Steph Curry — 44.5 million followers
Floyd Mayweather Jr. — 43.8 million followers
Kevin Durant — 38.1 million followers
Dwyane Wade — 31 million followers
David Villa — 28.2 million followers
Serena Williams — 26.6 million followers
Bastian Schweinsteiger — 23.8 million followers

Total Activity

Floyd Mayweather Jr. — 1,526 posts
Dwyane Wade — 1,353 posts
JuJu Smith-Schuster — 1,209 posts
Russell Wilson — 1,143 posts
Antonio Brown — 1,135 posts
Isaiah Thomas — 1,053 posts
Damian Lillard — 1,051 posts
Dez Bryant — 1,040 posts
Richard Sherman — 896 posts
Kyle Kuzma — 863 posts

Total Engagements

LeBron James — 272.3 million engagements
Odell Beckham Jr. — 126 million engagements
Zlatan Ibrahimović — 115 million engagements
Steph Curry — 88.5 million engagements
Floyd Mayweather Jr. — 80.1 million engagements
Serena Williams — 77.6 million engagements
Dwyane Wade — 61 million engagements
JuJu Smith-Schuster — 59.1 million engagements
Tom Brady — 55.3 million engagements
Antonio Brown — 53.3 million engagements

Total Engagements

LeBron James — 272.3 million engagements
Odell Beckham Jr. — 126 million engagements
Zlatan Ibrahimović — 115 million engagements
Steph Curry — 88.5 million engagements
Floyd Mayweather Jr. — 80.1 million engagements
Serena Williams — 77.6 million engagements
Dwyane Wade — 61 million engagements
JuJu Smith-Schuster — 59.1 million engagements
Tom Brady — 55.3 million engagements
Antonio Brown — 53.3 million engagements

Engagement Rate

*min 52 posts
Alex Ovechkin — 6.46%
Kyle Kuzma — 5.73%
Tom Brady — 5.73%
Giannis Antetokounmpo — 5.30%
Ben Simmons — 5.24%
Joel Embiid — 5.04%
JuJu Smith-Schuster — 4.78%
Ezekial Elliott — 4.23%
Lonzo Ball — 3.75%
Aaron Rodgers — 3.65%

Total Growth

LeBron James — 13.1 million followers
Zlatan Ibrahimović — 6.9 million followers
Steph Curry — 6.4 million followers
Serena Williams — 3.7 million followers
Odell Beckham Jr. — 3.1 million followers
Russell Westbrook — 3 million followers
James Harden — 2.8 million followers
Lonzo Ball — 2.4 million followers
Floyd Mayweather Jr. — 2.4 million followers
Kyle Kuzma — 2.1 million followers

Growth Rate

Kyle Kuzma — 211.79%
JuJu Smith-Schuster — 207.53%
Ben Simmons — 79.16%
Joel Embiid — 69.44%
Giannis Antetokounmpo — 62.96%
Daniel Cormier — 55.74%
Lonzo Ball — 48.61%
Antonio Brown — 28.52%
Tristan Thompson — 26.95%
Karl-Anthony Towns — 25.40%

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