In 2017, a lot of sports organizations are still trying to master social media and figure out the best use for it’s effectiveness. The NBA has done a phenomenal job with catering to their younger fans via social media. NBA Chief Marketing Officer Pam El was interviewed by The Washington Post and had this to say. “We recognize that our fans are very young. We know that they are very tech-savvy. We know they are all over social media. And we know that if we’re going to market to this younger fan, we need to be where they are.” The NBA’s official Twitter account has 25.4 million followers compared to 23.7 million for the NFL.
The NBA has embraced the growing change of the digital world and it’s paying off. They are experimenting with streaming games as well as other content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and other social media channels. Recode tagged along with an NBA video editor during game 2 of the Finals to see how they film exclusively for Snapchat. Knowing your audience is the major key to success and the NBA has the keys. According to Nielsen, game 5 of the NBA Finals series was the most-watched five-game NBA Finals ever and the most-watched since 1998 with 24.5 million viewers and the digital audience for game 5 claimed to 537,000 average minute streaming audience.
The NBA is also embracing virtual reality. They partnered with NextVR to bring a courtside perspective to fans by releasing an on-demand VR highlight video package after each Finals game. According to A List Daily, the NBA is now producing the games which total 25 broadcasts featuring all 30 teams at least once in collaboration with NextVR, a purveyor of live and on-demand VR programming that specializes in concerts, sporting events and award shows, with their sights set on growing the game from the 215 countries and 49 languages that they’re already featured in.
As I stated in an earlier post, the NBA knows that social media matters in regards to fan engagement. They have paid attention to the social media trends and have embraced an audience that will grow with them. They only thing that is constant is change and from the looks of it, the NBA won’t get left behind in this digital world. They have positioned themselves to be the leader in the sports social media world. I like where the NBA is headed…let’s hope they continue to push boundaries and give the fans what they really want.