The Wall Street Journal has helpfully assembled the sort of slow-news-month story that lets you forget that none of the four major sports (five, if you include college football) is playing many meaningful games at the moment. In it, the incomparably named Stu Woo compiled the Twitter follower counts for every team in the NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB. Mostly the numbers track as you'd expect: the Patriots are at the top of football, with 12 times as many followers as the bottom-dwelling Cardinals; baseball has the most accounts (12) with fewer than 100,000 followers; the Lakers boast the most followers of any team, with nearly 3 million.
But the data also raise some obvious questions that have no obvious answers. Unless the obvious answer is, "Because they bought a shitload of fake followers," which you should put past no one.
—Why does the NBA average so many more followers per team than any other league? With more than 381,000 per, it's about 56 percent more than hockey, 36 percent more than the NFL and 49 percent more than baseball. Hell, the top three NBA teams (the Lakers, Magic and Heat) combined have more followers than the entire NHL.
—Why are the Arizona Cardinals the least-followed team in pro sports? In the Twitter era (since 2007, let's say) they're winning at a .469 clip, hardly abominable. Plus they are an NFL team named after a state with 6.5 million inhabitants, for chrissakes. Do they not promote the account at all? Do they ignore fan interaction? Do they lack a team of flying monkeys to do their Twitter bidding? Or does the team simply not connect with fans at large?
—The second-most-followed Twitter account in North American pro team sports belongs to the Orlando Magic? It's easy enough to fluff Twitter numbers, but the Magic also seem to have vibrant feed and a real interest in feeding fans good tweet. Theories welcome.
—What the hell's wrong with the Padres, who play in a gargantuan tech hub and have the lowest total in baseball? Or the Islanders, who play in a gargantuan everything hub and have the lowest total in hockey?
—The Jets have 99.9 percent as many followers as New England, a ratio of accomplishment that speaks to exactly no other facet of those organizations. Someone in the Jets' employ appears to be doing something right, and that in itself qualifies as news.
Not Trending: #ArizonaCardinals [Wall Street Journal]