The NBA (National Basketball Association) is full of excitement, talent, drama and sportsmanship. The league is preparing itself for the future and the driving force of social media is definitely the biggest factor in bringing new fans to the organisation. From merchandise to television the NBA has it covered and with the brand being recognised over the globe it is in a perfect position to burst onto the scene as a leader in sports offerings.
The NBA is obviously a niche market, being a sport, requiring the people connecting with them to actually like the sport of basketball. The game of basketball is ever changing and therefore with this change, the way it is marketed must evolve as well. The NBA has 4 major Social Media platforms in which they use to market their brand and they do so effectively. These include FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. The main target audience is primarily newer generation audiences aged 18-30 as they are more likely to be paying to watch the sport and for the merchandise. The NBA has recognised the amount in which people within this age group interact online and have taken full advantage.
Where Amazing Happens.
The simple slogan that embodies the culture of the NBA seems to make you want to watch the game just to see what happens. FaceBook in recent years has seen a dramatic overhaul as to how companies use it to promote. “Likes” and “Fans” have become a popular thing and the implementation of using these to their advantage has been well done. The use of concepts regarding the 4 C’s such as Connection and Communication are the NBA’s primary uses.
FaceBook has seen an increase since 2012 from number of followers, from 14.47 million to 29.11 million, which is close to a 100% increase in number. Doing so they have shown great Twitter numbers as well. With a massive jump from 5.96 million followers to 20.26 million within the same period according to Statista.
According to the NBA website:
“The NBA had a record breaking year on social media, adding 240 million new fans since the end of the 2013-14 regular season – a 40% increase and largest single-year total. Overall, the NBA now has more than 811 million likes and followers combined across all league, team and player social platforms.
The record year on social media for the NBA resulted in more than 31 billion impressions, up 130% over the previous season with record growth on NBA social platforms.”
They use constant connection to stay up to date with what is trending within the league and what makes good media. The stories of players and the success and failures of teams are what make this business exciting. Players become popular and their jerseys sell for a rough price of about $120 NZD, make that worldwide and jersey sales account for around 5-10% of total income for the NBA. This creates a sense of need from others who feel the need to represent their own teams or players therefore they are advertising without even doing anything.
The NBA’s Instagram is also effectively used to promote their products, games and brand.
Ink361 – has all the stats regarding their Instagram which has about 15.26 million followers connected to it. They are always communicating through Instagram and show a high amount of usage this time of year through the playoffs.
What are they really trying to promote?
So what exactly are they selling though? I mean it is on television? It’s just a sport right?
Not exactly. The NBA has a paid subscription service to dedicated users where they are really trying to make their money. League Pass is a goldmine and creates a feeling of being up to date, to the last second. For the price of $49NZD per month anyone can subscribe for the Premium service. There’s also a yearly option at $499NZD. However these are not the only packages available. The NBA have made it affordable enough for anyone, $29NZD per month gives you access to a specified team of your choice. Or $199NZD per year. So with this in mind how do they use the SOCIAL Approach to help promote their business?
Cisco’s SOCIAL Approach is used in a multiple of ways, the last part being OCIAL being the dominant aspects.
O – Openess, The NBA is lead by Adam Silver who is the commissioner, and he decides what happens within the league. Any sort of rule change, to salary caps are ultimately signed off by the big boss. And he does a swell job keeping everyone happy.
C – Consistency. If there’s one word to describe the way the NBA approaches social media it is consistency. They post of the best plays of the day, the best players, the bloopers of the week. Constantly. It seems overwhelming to think of, however, after careful analysis, it is clear that the NBA does have favourites. Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant are just some players the NBA constantly has something to say about. Their posts are daily during the season and their app is constant and easy to use as well.
I – Intuitive. The websites that the NBA have such as The nbastore are easy to use and have dedicated sections to each team for easily finding the exact item you want. The app, designed for iOS and Android are well put together and incorporate all things NBA. The app however does not have a shop functionality yet. Within the app, one can navigate through videos, see the news around the league and even watch live games anywhere around the world.
A – Active. Activity leads to buzz, and a lot of chatter. The NBA is good at this. People comment every second on their posts as to who their favourites are and are very opinionated. The media frenzy the NBA creates through Facebook posts and Twitter generate millions of views daily and rack up a lot of attention. Activity within their numerous Social Media accounts is definitely a strong suit.
L – Limitless…now limitless is something debatable. One could argue that there are a million outcomes within any time during the NBA season and that makes it hard for the NBA PR team. However, marketing such an organisation is something that takes time and being able to adjust on the fly is what they do best. Being able to create content of a game that finished within minutes is something to witness. Artworks, posters, pictures with major stats all colourful and presented in team colourways arre only some of the ways the NBA adapts to situations presented to them and they do it in minutes!
I’d say they’ve hit a Game 7 buzzer beater!