From Alison Brie to Zach Randolph, and everything in between.
To continue last week’s Part 1, here is the last player factor ran against Twitter followers…
Taking each of the players in the study’s PER’s from the ’12-’13 season against their Twitter followers shows a correlation coefficient of .67, a relatively strong relationship.
The top 10 players in PER average over 3 million followers, with Tony Parker being the only one with under 1.1 million. Chalk that up to #TeamEva. The bottom 10 average only 212 thousand, well below the study-wide average of 657k. What does this signify, other than that LeBron truly is the King? PER seems to be a good factor in determining a players amount of Twitter followers, so an improving young player, ie. Kyrie Irving, is a good bet to have a huge reach in the future. The trick for potential ad campaigns (and NBA teams for that matter) is in determining which players are future stars, and which are already close to or will never achieve their ceiling (Boogie Cousins?). Verdict: Good enough.
As discovered in Part 1, Teams’ market size had a decent correlation to Twitter followers as well. The next Cliff Paul or Kid Blake Griffin would ideally be a young, already solid but improving player from a bigger market – it didn’t take hours of compiling Twitter data to figure that out, but it’s nice that the numbers support the theory. I’m talking about personalities that can transcend traditional athlete roles like Foot Locker/Gatorade and carry into other target markets, like Blake with Kia and CP3 with State Farm. Here are 3 guys that fit the bill:
Russell Westbrook– Why does Kevin Durant get to clean out all the gutters? OKC’s other star is 15th in the league in Twitter followers at 1.1m, 6th in PER and number one worst-dressed in the league all year. The man should have more work than playing straight man to James Harden in this Champs commercial. At 24 he’s already one of the most recognizable players in the league thanks to his “bold” fashion choices, viral off-the-court moments, and penchant for karate and pizza.
Ricky Rubio- Pepsi already has the Drew Brees & One Direction commercial; I petition to incorporate T-Wolves (and 2015 free agent) chosen one Ricky Rubio into the fold. Picture a pick-up basketball game, bullies are picking teams one by one and only One Direction members remain unpicked. Finally, one team gets One Direction but still left on the sidelines is Pretty Ricky, dressed like a post-Katy Perry Russell Brand. The 1D team begrudgingly picks him last, he tears away his suit like warm-ups and proceeds to school the bullies with some minor assistance from the band. He chugs a Crystal Pepsi at the end and burps– Stan & Ginsberg will take care of the ending. Point being, Ricky shined in his Foot Locker Backyard Wrestling spots and deserves a promotion.
Stephen Curry- Duh. Curry, 25, already has over 760k followers, thanks to his top-20 regular season PER and coming out party in the playoffs this year. Golden State is the 8th biggest market per Part 1‘s standards, and with the addition of Andre Iguodala the team could go even deeper into the playoffs this year on the shoulders of Curry’s budding star. His only issue will be staying on the court, which has always been a concern with his injury history. However, I think he’s as safe a bet as any to helm a successful campaign as he’s a likable, engaging personality who has already established himself as interactive and funny off the court – see him on Sportscenter during the NBA playoffs.
Honorable Mentions: Anthony Davis (male grooming products), Joakim Noah (think Kris Humphries’ entourage), Iman Shumpert (Portlandia), Chandler Parsons (whatever he wants)
Why NBA players over other athletes?
Since Michael Jordan and Larry Bird set the standard long ago with their famous game of HORSE, NBA players have had a long tradition of memorable ad campaigns. They’re more recognizable than helmeted NFL stars and generally more gregarious than MLB players. MLB also had the Mitchell Report scandals in the 2000’s, rendering huge stars like Bonds, McGwire and Sosa untouchable for endorsements, and the upcoming suspensions for A-Rod and recent MVP Ryan Braun show that PED’s are still a risk in baseball. Bud Selig’s refusal to enter the 21st century hasn’t helped baseball as a whole expand its online presence either – the fact MLB highlights still aren’t available on YouTube is a travesty.
With all the injury risk and talk of head injuries in the NFL these days, football stars are a huge investment risk. It’s the same reason why Donna from HR wins your office fantasy football league every year. Expect the unfortunate Aaron Hernandez developments to deter companies from hiring NFL players as well. In a shocking trend, the NFL’s off-season arrest rate is up 75% year-to-year- 31 NFL players have been arrested since this year’s Super Bowl alone. Compare that to just 30 NBA arrests this decade, and you’ll realize why NBA players have an advantage in finding endorsements over football and baseball.
While it shouldn’t have taken almost 2,000 words and a silly amount of numbers and research to figure it out, good players from big markets help make great ad campaigns.
Follow me @kramerkram for more updates, but mostly dumb jokes.