Before we talk about the most followed American sports teams on Instagram, it is important to understand the history of fan engagement in sports.
The invention of the internet and the creation of social media platforms that followed suit have revolutionized the way we source information.
Although older ways to access information still exist (TV sets, radios, newspapers), digital channels of information are taking the lead.
This is due to the level of comfort and ease attached; all you need to do to gain knowledge on a topic is search on the internet.
For this reason, sports teams have adapted and created social media accounts to create awareness for their brand, provide information, connect and engage with fans.
Instagram, a very popular social media platform has witnessed the rise of a lot of sports teams through dedication and constant engagement with fans.
From the emotional woes of a player to the physical injuries they incur, they make their fans feel included; a somewhat big, happy family.
Among the sports teams we can cite in America, the most popular ones are mostly NBA (National Basketball Association) and soccer teams. To cite a few: the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, Inter Miami, and more.
Surprisingly enough, the NFL teams don’t have the highest follower count, considering it is their national sport.
Which teams currently possess the highest number of social media followers? The top ten most followed sports teams on Instagram in the United States are featured in the list below. Read on to discover more about them.
Most Followed American Sports Teams on Instagram 2023
10- The Milwaukee Bucks (5.2 Million Followers)
The Milwaukee Bucks have 5.2 million followers on Instagram. They have made almost 18800 posts and are following 276 people. Their huge Instagram is evidenced by their NBA titles and players. The Bucks have two NBA Championship titles to their name.
Their franchise is one of the prosperous franchises after winning 10 times in the playoffs in 12 seasons.
Some of their legendary NBA players are Khris Middleton, Mar Jon Beauchamp, Joe Ingles and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
9- Oklahoma City Thunder (6 Million Followers)
In the ninth position, we have the Oklahoma City Thunder (OKC). They have 6 million followers on Instagram, have made over 22000 posts and are currently following 202 people.
Their number of followers is very close to those of the Rockets. Chances are high that they’d surpass them.
OKC remains a prosperous franchise even after losing three very important players: James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant in the past ten years.
They were formerly known as the Seattle Supersonics but relocated to Oklahoma in 2007 and rebuilt themselves as the Oklahoma City Thunder.
They have never won an NBA Championship Title but have somehow managed to remain on top amongst the best teams even as a new franchise.
The Oklahoma City Thunders have made it to the NBA playoffs ten times out of the 12 they’ve participated in. This includes an appearance in the finals of 2012.
8- Houston Rockets (6.1 Million Followers)
The Houston Rockets have 6.1 million followers on Instagram, with nearly 4500 posts and a following of 489.
They are still among the top NBA franchises and have a strong social media fan base, even though they are not as active as other sports teams.
The Rockets haven’t won a championship title in 25 years. However, they have 8 NBA Championship titles to their name.
The Rockets were established in Houston in the late 1970s and have missed the playoffs only 16 times out of 49 times.
They have had a number of iconic players. To cite a few: Hakeem Olajuwon, Moses Malone, James Harden, Yao Ming and more.
In the last 8 years, the Rockets have attained all the NBA playoffs and currently have 14 winning seasons, a huge accomplishment.
Recent recruiting and more training have given the team a face-lift. Jalen-Green, a second-year prospect in the league has been ranked among the top 100 in ESPN’s annual ranking. This is no small feat.
7- Miami Heat (7 Million Followers)
The Miami Heat basketball team has about 7 million followers on Instagram. They have made about 15000 posts with an 80-plus following.
The Miami Heat are considered a very successful NBA franchise; with their three NBA Championship titles and their excellent players. They have won 14 playoff games in 20 NBA seasons.
Some of the popular Miami Heat players are Nikola Jovic, Tyler Herro, Jimmy Butler, and Victor Oladipo.
They haven’t always been this popular; it was when Shaquille O’Neal joined the club in 2002 that people started getting interested in them. Their fan base steadily increased.
In 2010, LeBron James joined the Miami Heat and the club won four consecutive NBA titles from 2011 to 2014. This achievement solidified their place in the NBA to date.
6- Boston Celtics (8 Million Followers)
Coming up closely behind Inter Miami are the Boston Celtics with 8 million followers. They are one of the most successful franchises in NBA History.
Between the years 1957 to 1969, they won 11 out of 13 National Association Basketball Championships(NBA).
They were an excellent team composed of Frank Ramsey, Ed Macauley, Tom Heinsohn, Bill Russell and later on Sam Jones, K.C Jones and John Havlicek.
Since then, they’ve won only six more NBA Championships. Clearly, their on-court success is reduced because the newer players are less talented than the older ones.
However, their grand total of 17 Championship titles currently ties them with the Los Angeles Lakers for the team with the most Championship titles.
5- Chicago Bulls (10 Million Followers)
The Chicago Bulls rank at number five on this list. They have about 10 million followers on Instagram with 9500 posts.
They are one of the greatest teams as evidenced by their numerous NBA titles. The Bulls have won 8× NBA Championships in NBA History.
Their success as an NBA franchise is attached to their victories: they’ve won 16× times playoff games in 20× NBA seasons.
Their more popular players are Zach LaVine, Lonzo Ball, Andre Drummond and DeMar DeRozan.
They’re associated with legends, the most famous being the iconic superstar, Michael Jordan who is considered the best NBA player ever.
Since he retired, the Bulls have not won a championship title and are currently struggling to revive their former glory.
They still have a very strong fan base in their home city Chicago.
Their following has however been overtaken by those of Inter Miami, who recently acquired Lionel Messi.
4- Inter Miami (15.1 Million Followers)
Ranking fourth as the only MLS team on the list is Inter Miami. It was announced in June 2023 that Lionel Messi alias “The G.O.A.T” would be moving to Inter Miami. 1
His fans immediately proceeded to follow all the team’s social media accounts. In less than 24 hours, Inter Miami boasted over 5 million new followers and the number has been on the rise since then.
Quite obviously, Inter Miami has seized this opportunity to increase its revenues and promote its team further.
At their match against the New York Red Bulls in August, ticket prices skyrocketed from $25 to an average of $300. Inter Miami will definitely witness an increase in their net worth.
3- Cleveland Cavaliers (16 Million Followers)
The Cleveland Cavaliers place third in the list of American sports teams with the most Instagram followers. the most followers on Instagram.
They have over 16 million followers and 17000 posts to their name. They are much more active on this social media space than they are on Twitter, which possesses only three million followers.
Recently, they have not been giving excellent performances as other teams are, but their social media managers have been doing an excellent job, making constant posts, and engaging with their fans, thus securing their loyalty.
Since 1964, the Cavs had been unable to win an NBA title. However, with the arrival of LeBron James on their team, the players and their fans had cause to hope.
This hope was crushed when LeBron James made the decision to leave Cleveland for Miami in 2010; a large number of his fans were extremely disappointed and wrote him off.
In the year 2014, he came back, thus redeeming himself. Two years later, the Cavs won an NBA title with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving being the stars of the show.
LeBron James had fulfilled his promise and when he moved to the Los Angeles Lakers, he was wished well.
This outstanding performance laid the base for their Instagram platform and since then, their following has been constantly on the rise.
Their current lineup is a group of talented and skilled players: Donovan Mitchell, Max Strus, Emoni Bates, Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Jarett Allen.
They’re also contributing factors to the increase of followers seeing as individually, their fan bases are quite large.
2- Los Angeles Lakers (23 Million Followers)
The Lakers come second with almost 23 million Instagram followers. They have about 13000 posts and follow a select few of about 87 on Instagram.
The LA Lakers are indisputably one of the top NBA teams in NBA history money-wise and title-wise. They have the highest number of NBA championship titles under their belt which total 17.
This has not always been the case. As of 2015, the Los Angeles Lakers were considered a losing NBA team due to their inability to win an NBA title for over forty years.
After a lot of screening and rebuilding of the team, the Lakers signed superstar LeBron James in 2018. The year after, they traded a lot of prospects for the iconic Anthony Davis.
All these factors contributed to their winning their 17th Championship Title under the guidance of their head coach Frank Vogel. The Lakers are currently tied with the Boston Celtics for the most Championship titles.
Their impressive comeback and rotation of famous star athletes (LeBron James, Davion Mitchell, De Aaron Foxx and Domantas Sabonis) succeeded in raising awareness for the team.
It also had the effect of pulling many NBA lovers to follow the team.
1- Golden State Warriors (30.6 Million Followers)
The Golden State Warriors are the first NBA team to count over 30 million followers on Instagram in the history of the NBA.
It is therefore not surprising that they are the leading American sports team on Instagram.
This considerable number of followers is a result of their devotion to the sport, their talent and their skill. The Warriors have the most NBA Championship titles with 17 NBA titles.
They also partnered with Nike using Oakland Forever which is their way of acknowledging the *We Believe Era*, whereby history will be made in NBA history.
The Golden State Warriors team features one of the iconic NBA players on the field, Stephen Curry.
He is a very talented player and has been instrumental in the Warriors acquiring so many NBA titles in NBA history.
As a matter of fact, between the years 2015 and 2019, the Warriors led the NBA playoffs, attaining victory seven times and winning NBA titles thrice consecutively.
Stephen Curry’s popularity has also widely contributed to their continually increasing following on social media platforms.
He is so well-known that he’s very much sought out by numerous brands in search of famous active sports personalities. Curry is affiliated with TCL Technologies, Rakuten, Infiniti Motors and much more.
Aside from Curry, there are other excellent players like Klay Thompson, Andris Biedrins, and Jason Richardson to cite a few.
On their own, they attract quite a lot of attention. It also doesn’t hurt that they’re quite easy on the eyes.
In conclusion, this article presents an up-to-date compilation of the most followed American sports teams on Instagram. Notably, it is evident that contrary to popular belief, NFL teams do not feature among the top ranks, indicating that football may not be the most favoured sport in America. Instead, basketball emerges as the forerunner in terms of popularity.
However, it’s worth noting that had this list been extended to encompass the top 15 sports teams, the New England Patriots would have secured the twelfth position, closely trailing the Brooklyn Nets. This underscores the enduring allure of American football.