June 17, 2013

Social Media Transforms the NBA's Marketing Campaigns

While the country waits to see whether the San Antonio Spurs or the Miami Heat emerges as the National Basketball Association’s 2012-2013 champion, there’s one thing the NBA can hang its hat on: good ratings and an engaged, youthful audience. Game 5, held June 16, boasted 14.1 million viewers according to Nielsen, though the number is slightly down from last year. With the Spurs leading the series 3-2, ratings are expected to rise before a champion is crowned.

With over 17.1 million Facebook fans and over 7.3 million Twitter followers, it goes without saying that the NBA has a very strong social media following. And like all sports fans, they’re engaged.

High viewership and a strong social media presence, coupled with the fact that the league’s core audience is between the ages of 18 and 34, put the NBA in a prime position to utilize mutually beneficial partnerships to cater to its already captive audiences. And social media content marketing is one way method league executives see as a way to do just that. 

“Virtually across the board, all of our partners see the value of social media, especially given the incredible number of fans and followers we have in our social media universe,” explains Emilio Collins, the league’s senior vice president of global marketing partnerships. “It’s critical for all of our partners to, in the most relevant way, engage with our fans.  If social media is where our fans are engaging with the league, then that’s where our partners want to be. Activating across our social media streams ends up being part of every conversation we have with our partners.”

And for the first time ever, the NBA permitted partners such as Sony Pictures, Sprint and Taco Bell, to sponsor social video content released on the league’s Twitter channel using the hashtag #NBARapidReplay.

”Social media continues to grow in importance and relevance with respect to the share of marketing dollars our partners spend,” Collins says. “It is clear from the research that we have done that it’s growing in consumption.”

So as basketball fans watch Game 6—and if necessary, Game 7—in addition to seeing which team will receive the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, they’ll see how the league transitions into a new era of marketing, integrating its social media strengths with digital campaigns.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

Comments powered by Disqus

Related News