Basketball, Sports Data, Sports Fan Data

Introducing the Top Ten NBA Teams

On an international stage, the United States of America dominates in basketball. With five gold, three silver, and four bronze medals, with a 123-27 overall record, it is without a doubt that the best players across the world rush to play in America. Almost every park, neighborhood, and school has a basketball court. It can be deemed as an essential piece to building a community. With the strong presence of basketball in the USA, it is no surprise that the NBA is one of the most competitive and watched sports leagues in the world. Although the current NBA was formed in 1976, with the merge of the ABA and NBA, fan support for the thirty teams does not lack in power.

FanWide’s rankings are not based solely on success on the court nor success off the court. Rather, the rankings consider both in order to get the most wholesome analysis of each team. This balance in the rankings creates a broader field of data that allows for a ranking that is original and meaningful as it also uses proprietary data from FanWide fan clubs which is not available elsewhere. Read below to see the factors that were used to rank NBA teams based on data that was not limited to on-court success.

Here’s the top 10 teams which have been announced:

10) Oklahoma City Thunder

9) Toronto Raptors

8) Los Angeles Lakers

7) Miami Heat

6) Boston Celtics

5) Cleveland Cavaliers

4) Chicago Bulls

3) Houston Rockets

2) San Antonio Spurs

1) Golden State Warriors

Fan Clubs on FanWide

One of the best metric for measuring fan support is through the number of fan clubs that support a team. FanWide’s definition of a fan club is one that meets in person, at a restaurant or bar, and hosts watch parties.

NBA Championships (since 1977)

The first championship won in the post-merger NBA took place in 1977, which is when the data begins. In order to measure success on the court, it was decided that NBA Championships are the best metric as only the top team each year gets the honor of being called “champions”. Additionally, there is a strong correlation between teams that have won championships and their fan support. Teams that have won more and consecutive championships have much stronger fan bases than those that have not.

All-Stars (last 5 years)

Any NBA fan will agree with the claim that individual players have a large role on the success of an organization. One strong example is LeBron James. Although many people choose not to side with him in order to support underdogs, it is without a doubt that LeBron has greatly helped the teams he has been on. However, his movement around the league has caused the teams he left to suffer immediately. This applies to all the other all-stars around the league. Therefore, the time period of 5 years was chosen to measure the number of all-stars an organization has had. In the realm of fan support, NBA fans tend to follow specific players and as a result, they support teams. Thus, the more all-stars a team has, the more fans they have.

Nationally Televised Games this Year (ABC, ESPN, TNT, NBA TV)

The number of wins a team has does not correlate with the number of nationally televised games they have in the NBA. TV providers seek to maximize viewers and in order to do so, they broadcast teams with the strongest fan bases. Also, the more a team is broadcasted on national television, fan interest increases as more people watch their games. This two way relationship is key to growing and maintaining a strong fan base. Very successful teams such as the Pacers or the Trailblazers lack the fan support of some stronger teams, causing them to appear less on national television. This data was collected through the website TV Insider. Additionally, data was only collected for this season  (2018-2019) in order to keep the rankings as recent as possible.

Number of Regular Season Wins (last 5 years)

There is only one team each year that is crowned the champion. Also, not every team has won a title in the existence of the NBA and that team is not always the one with the most regular season wins. For example, the Golden State Warriors set the record for the most regular season wins with 73, yet they still failed to win the championship in the 2015-16 season. This historic season not only broke an NBA record, but also attracted many young fans to start supporting the Warriors. Generally, fan support for teams grows after a strong regular season. In order to expand the data to more fairly evaluate on-court success, the number of regular season wins was used as it applies to all teams and takes into account how successful an organization has been in the past 5 years.

Average Home Game Attendance

Average home game attendance is another metric for fan support. The data was collected from Statista. Organizations with larger and more dedicated fan bases have stronger attendance at home games as local fans want to watch their team compete in person. The data represents that of the 2017-2018 season.

Value of the Organization

In order to measure market size, popularity, and historical success, the value of an organization was used, as reported by Forbes. These numbers are a strong representation of the significance an organization holds in the minds of NBA fans.

Total Social Media Followers

The social media age has come! All 30 NBA teams have social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. By comparing the strength of each team’s social media presence, FanWide was able to see which teams had the strongest influence and off-court presence in recent years.  


The NBA is unique in many aspects of fan support. It is very difficult to rank a team based solely off of their on or off court success. Therefore, FanWide chose to use data from both categories to create a ranking that is one of a kind. All the metrics used in this ranking were weighted equally in order to ensure there was a balance between the different factors. Additionally, all of the metrics were applicable to all 30 of the NBA teams. As a result, our top ten ranking is the most balanced and unique ranking for NBA teams. FanWide will be releasing the top ten NBA fan clubs in the next few weeks. Who do you think will be the Top NBA Team?

Stay tuned for the release of FanWide’s Top 10 NBA Teams, and make sure to check out our ranking for the Top 10 MLB and European Soccer Clubs!

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