Congratulations to Shaquille O’Neal for landing a job with Turner Sports on TNT’s popular NBA Studio show. Shaq will bring unique insight, incredible charisma, and quite a large Social Media following. The 15-time NBA All-Star played for the Magic, Lakers, Heat, Suns, Cavaliers and Celtics; on Twitter those teams have a collective 3.7 Million followers. Shaq has 4 Million followers on his own! (courtesy of @seancallanan) This got me thinking, what other athletes transcend their (current and former) teams in total amount of followers and social influence? (all follower counts as of 7/14/11)
- @Kaka: 4,917,937 | @RealMadrid: 1,981,186 + @ACMilan: 112,631
- @Cristiano (Ronaldo): 3,449,175 | @RealMadrid: 1,981,186 + Manchester United: 0
- @DwightHoward: 2,124,169 | @Orlando_Magic: 1,069,393
- @PaulPierce34: 1,855,340 | @Celtics: 213,193
- @LandonDonovan: 438,855 | @LAGalaxy: 44,184
- @LoMoMarlins (Logan Morrison): 50,481 | @Marlins: 8,674
While these are only a few examples in a few sports, it is interesting to think that one player can have a larger social reach (8X as much for Paul Pierce) than an entire team or organization. While the player is obviously free to tweet as he chooses, it would be wise for the team to reach out to these transcendent tweeters to help with both promotions and PR. I believe it would be worth the potential “hit” the player might experience from followers for a rare, carefully crafted tweet to help out the team in some way.