Not too long ago, this was peak-activity time for basketball in Miami. The Heat made the NBA Finals four straight seasons between 2011 and 2014, meaning things reached maximum playoff-white hotness on Biscayne Boulevard right about now. These days, things have died down a tad. Dwyane Wade has retired and the Heat — having missed the playoffs for the third time in five seasons — hasn't played in more than a month.
You'd think that would mean basketball fans in Miami would lose interest. You'd think basketball would be taking a back seat these days. But you'd be wrong. Turns out there is no city in the United States that follows basketball more intensely than Miami.
WalletHub compared more than 290 of the largest U.S. cities based on 21 key metrics and found Miami was the sixth-best city for basketball fans. More interestingly, fans here are the "most engaged" of them all. According to WalletHub, "fan engagement" was measured by adding the number of Twitter followers and Facebook likes per capita.
The Heat currently has more than 4.6 million followers on Twitter and over 15 million on Facebook. To compare — Miami scored a 45.21 in basketball fan engagement, which is 33.2 times higher than New York, the city with the lowest at 1.36. These numbers include fans of college teams, so this isn't just Heat versus Knicks; it also includes the University of Miami. (The number of likes isn't mentioned, but Miami has the most.)
Overall, Boston won out as the 2019 mecca for basketball fans based on metrics that include winning records, accessible arenas, and average ticket prices. According to WalletHub, the city's NBA rank (1) and NCAA rank (19) combined with other factors placed Beantown at the top of the list. Miami ranked sixth in NBA fans, but a ranking of 114 for NCAA followers dragged down the average.
The results here are conclusive — while the Heat and Hurricanes may not have had their best seasons lately, their fans talk about basketball more than anyone in the nation. Whether the engagement is mostly complaints or positive messages filled with encouragement, well, we don't have that data yet.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.