Very interesting work by the SportingNews.com yesterday. They took a look at Twitter accounts for all the Minor League teams and ranked them by league and then made a list of the top 10 most popular organizations based on Twitter followers.
Granted, Twitter followers for Minor League teams doesn’t equal attendance, nor does it indicate local interest. I doubt The Sporting News folks want to deep dive into each follower and plot them geographically – although I do think you could run some sort of data query and sort through the followers for key words that might show location. There are data people that do wonderful things with Twitter.
But back to what The Sporting News did do and why it is relevant to the Tampa Bay area.
In the Sporting News’s rank of Class-A teams – in which all Tampa Bay area Minor League teams are – the Tampa Yankees are the fifth most “Twitter famous” team with 10.7K followers. No other Tampa Bay area team makes the list. The only other Florida State League team on the list is the Daytona Cubs.
However, when we look at the overall most popular organizations on Twitter, every Tampa Bay area team makes the list.
The Yankees minor league system is third most popular on Twitter, behind only the Cubs and Red Sox. The Tampa Yankees are the fourth most popular team in the Yankees organization, behind the Low-A Charleston River Dogs by 3,000 followers, despite being ahead of Charleston in the Yankees organization ladder.
The Phillies minor league system is the fourth most popular on Twitter. Here as well the Clearwater Threshers have fewer followers than the Low-A team, the Lakewood Blue Claws. The Blue Claws have over 5,000 more Twitter followers than the Threshers.
The Pirates minor league system is the fifth most popular on Twitter. Again, the Low-A team, in this case the West Virgina Power, have more followers than the High-A Florida State League team, outpacing the Bradenton Marauders, 7.7K to 5.3K.
The Blue Jays minor league system is the ninth most popular on Twitter. Here, however, the Dunedin Blue Jays have more followers than all but one other Jays minor league team, the Blue Jays AAA affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons. The Dunedin Blue Jays have more followers than the AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
What does this prove? Individually, not much. But it does show that the Florida State League teams in the Tampa Bay area are significant to people who follow baseball on Twitter.