How the Chicago Cubs are Winning on Social Media

April 21, 2016

Written by NewsWhip

How one sports team is driving a significantly higher average of shares than others.

When we pulled the Facebook rankings for Major League Baseball’s teams this month, we noticed something surprising. Usually we see that the teams who publish a larger quantity of posts, see a higher total number of engagement.
However, our fourth highest-engaging team for March produced the least amount of Facebook posts out of all the teams.
Going back to the beginning of the year—January 1st to now, the Cubs rise to 3rd place with the least amount of posts published. Not only that, but they’re also the most shared team in Major League Baseball. As of this writing, they had 274 posts to a league average of 462.
What could be behind this? There may be some correlation to number of Facebook fans—the Cubs are also the fifth most-followed on Facebook, with 2.6 million fans to the Yankees’ 8.5 million. But they’re not far ahead of the 6th, 7th, 8th, or 9th most-liked teams, all of which have over two million fans.
Addison Russell Cubs
This is the most-shared post of the Cubs so far this year. It had 1.43 million views, 68,000 reactions, 1,700 comments, and nearly 25,000 shares.
This makes for an average of 2,124 shares per post on the Cubs’ Facebook page, against a league average of 478 shares per post.
[bctt tweet=”.@Cubs have an average 2,124 shares per post on their Facebook page vs a league average of 478 shares per post “]
There may be something in the water in Chicago. Despite posting less than 50% compared to the top two NBA teams, the Chicago Bulls also were the 4th highest engaging team for their franchise (based on data from January 1st to April 15th).
So what are the Cubs doing that’s driving such high engagement?

Video’s hitting home runs

Out of the Cubs’ 25 most-shared Facebook posts of this year, 15 were video content. For sports, this isn’t a huge surprise—video is suited to capture the high-octane, action-packed moments of the game.  
Jake Arrieta 2 run homer Cubs
This video shows Jake Arrieta hitting a two-run homer. With nearly 1.2 million views, the video also saw over 37,000 reactions, 12,000 shares, and 852 comments. The Cubs are quick to highlight their players’ achievements in each game, and their fans jump in on that love in the comments.
Some of the top performing videos can also exist outside of the game.
Cubs Clubhouse
This video, of the Cubs seeing their new clubhouse for the first time, was the second most-shared post of this year so far. It drove 19,000 shares, along with 41,000 reactions and 1,500 comments.
The video gives a feeling of being part of an exclusive experience—the fans are seeing the new clubhouse for the first time along with the players.
Videos like this also appeal because they show what the Cubs are like off the field. Seeing their favorite players react to their new clubhouse builds buzz among fans itching for the new season, and shows the personality of the team.

Genuine appreciation for players

While still fun, and building personality, the Cubs go above and beyond to showcase their appreciation for players.
While the Cubs certainly post content that depicts their players’ best moments on the field, the message isn’t “look how great we are”, it’s “hey, we’re having a lot of fun out here and these guys are awesome”.
Their diverse range of content shows how the Cubs appreciate their players, a feeling that is mutually met by their fans.
Kyle Schwarber Cubs
This video shows the standing ovation Kyle Schwarber received at Wrigley Field’s opening night on April 11th. After tearing his knee in just the third game of the season, Schwarber now has to sit out the rest of his first season with the team. This hasn’t stopped the Cubs from showing their support.
Clearly, the fans agree. The video of his welcome drove 52,000 reactions, 14,500 shares, and 1,000 comments. Of those reactions, over 900 were ‘sad’ reactions of sympathy. Try Spike for a look at the Facebook reactions driving your content. 
Schwarber reactions Facebook
The Cubs have been ready to go this season, even before it officially started. This video was posted during Spring Training of Munenori Kawasaki singing “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”.
Cubs Singing
As the seventh most-shared video of the year so far, it drove over 12,000 shares, and 15,000 reactions and 1,800 comments.
Videos like this are like dessert to team fans. They’re sweet and fun, and build a deeper connection between a fan and the team. Fans see the players as actual people, with humor and quirks.

Flaunt that personality

Part of what makes any brand or sports team great on social media is having a personality. The Cubs are abundant in it.
Their jovial, good-natured, humorous tone comes through in nearly all their content. Take for instance, this video starring Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo.
Kris Bryant Anthony Rizzo Cubs
This video saw 11,600 shares, 17,400 reactions, and 1,000 comments. The campaign, called ‘Bryzzo’ shows off the fun and comedic personalities of the two players. And if the video wasn’t enough, Bryant and Rizzo are going all in on their social media channels. There’s even a MLB page for the campaign.
Here’s another top performing post for the Cubs, one that included their fans.
Cubs Conference Kids
Videos like this acknowledge the most passionate fans, even the youngest of them. The video drove over 10,000 reactions and 7,000 shares. There were 466 comments, including one from a parent embarrassed by his son’s calling one player superior over another.
This post has a dual effect. It both lets the players show off their personalities, and it shows that they care about their fans. Fans who feel appreciated will stay loyal to their team and likely keep engaging with their social content.


At the end of the day, the Chicago Cubs are excited, really really excited.
They came close to a World Series last year, and neither they nor their fans are forgetting it this season. Both their social media content and their fans’ level of enthusiasm shows that they’re ready to win.
For sports teams looking to replicate the Cubs’ success, here’s a few condensed tips:

  • Be enthusiastic and authentic
  • Highlight your players, not just for their athletic prowess but who they are as people
  • Reward your fans with exclusive content and genuine appreciation
  • Show off your team’s best feats (video, video, video!)

It’s hard to look through the Cubs’ Facebook and not catch their unbridled passion and joy for the game. It’s something teams can find a way to emulate, and match their own fans’ zealousness for social success.

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