As the NBA season gets going, here are three of the many best practices teams have put forth this past week, with many more to come.
Sixers, Media, Mix It up: The relationship between teams and media members is probably as cautious and contentious in some cases as it has ever been, but some teams and officials still do “get it,” and understand that there needs to be a co-existence as both professionals, and more importantly, as people. Case in point this past week was the Sixers hosting a pickup game for all their media with team staff. CEO Scott O’Neil loves to ball, and mixed in with media members big and small from all over the area.
It was a simple, fun way to connect with those who cover the team at every level, and certainly scores points with a little extra effort for when times will be tough for the Sixers, and most predict it will be a long rebuilding winter. In years past the Sixers were known for doing little things for the media that did not appear in print and online; extra snacks, making sure everyone got giveaways, birthday and holiday cards, things which years ago for most teams were seen as important but which have fallen by the wayside with slimmer budgets for many organizations.
Those little things go a long way in developing relationships which are more important today than ever before, as teams look to build their brands and access fans in every conceivable way.
Now maybe every team doesn’t have a CEO to go on court, but a little humanity; a note here, a card there, a question about one’s family here and there, certainly doesn’t hurt and should be the rule, not the exception, no matter how a team is doing on the field.
Warriors and Weibo: The Golden State Warriors continue to find ways to engage audiences outside their borders. The recently surpassed one million followers on Weibo the Chinese social media platform akin to a hybrid of Facebook and Twitter, and is one of China’s most popular websites.
With a fan base that can be largely Asian in the Bay area, and a growing global presence of the NBA in China, the effort makes great sense not just for Golden State but for all clubs looking to expand brand beyind their borders. There are little restrictions on engagement abroad in the social space by the NBA, and using content already in place to seed new markets is very smart, and a trend that should grow. It also gets the Warriors brand front and center with an audience that could pull in remote sponsors or find brands looking to engage for the first time in the States.
Now an engagement like this should not be taken lightly, and you need to understand censorship, culture and posting rules to be effective, but the Weibo Warriors work is a great example of a team casting its net a little wider and doing a little extra to engage in the digital space, with the rewards yet to come.
Clippers Let Fans Choose: Our friends at Sporttechie also found this little gem, with the LA Clippers scoring on a “first,” using a technology which lets fans choose replays being shown on video boards and then getting those fans the credit for selection on the board itself. It is a great way to keep fans even more focused and engaged during the game, provided that the mobile connectivity at Staples Center is up to snuff. The new engagement platform is also highly sponsorable, and can geo-target those engaging and send them push messages for promotions targeted only to them, as a reward for engagement.
As mobile connectivity improves in all arenas, push engagement and these type of fan-driven contests will grow pretty quickly, but Steve Ballmer seems to have found himself in a “first” for his first season as Clippers owner.