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As athletes and fans prepare to kickoff the 2019 regular season of Major League Soccer, we take a look back at the league’s most powerful teams on social in 2018. Our athlete-driven report — focused on the performance of MLS players grouped by their respective teams — shows how star power, up-and-coming talent, and consistent activity can impact an entire team’s performance on social.

There’s no denying that athletes are a force on social and MLS players presented a perfect example of their influence in 2018. Their collective audience size, activity, and engagement significantly outrank that of their teams and the league itself. 

With over 83 million followers across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, the LA Galaxy boast an audience that is not only larger than any other MLS team but also ranks near the top in collective following for all professional sports worldwide. These metrics can be attributed in large part to fan-favorites, like the Dos Santos brothers, Jonathon and Giovani, as well as the team’s acquisition of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has long been known to captivate fans and drive incredible engagement with his charisma and on-field success.   

Following the LA Galaxy is D.C. United, who held onto second place ahead of New York City FC despite being outpaced in follower growth rate and engagement rate.

The MLS’ top athlete-driven teams 

Below is the MLS team ranking based on the players’ collective performance on social.  Our interactive visualization includes analysis from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter data for all active MLS players from January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2018.

For best results, view in landscape mode** 

Get the full report