Every professional sports league views social media differently. We have previously discussed how we thought the Masters’ dropped the ball by not prioritizing their social media outreach during the biggest week of their 2012 PGA season. The MLB’s lack of outreach, resulting in baseball’s trouble connecting with the younger generation has also been long bemoaned in the national media.
This criticism though is hardly, if ever, directed at the NBA. The NBA has fully embraced the social media movement and recently became the first professional American sports league to reach five million followers. The league will continue this social media trailblazing when they host the first-ever NBA Social Media Awards on June 20th.
The ceremony will be televised on NBATV and will be hosted by Shaquille O’Neal, who has been wildly successful on twitter, with over 5.7 million followers. It will also feature former player Rick Fox, as well as basketball writers Lang Whitaker, J.E. Skeets and Tas Melas.
The awards ceremony will recognize players and organizations as well as fans who have effectively utilized their social media engagement in the 2011-12 season. The awards will cross all social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube and the winners will be judged on who effectively engaged on all platforms, not on who excelled on only one tool.
Sample categories include:
The BIG (Best In the Game) Award – for the player that best utilizes social media across platforms.
The LOL (Laugh out Loud) Award – for the team/players who had the most shared/liked blooper video during the regular season.
The Social SLAM Award – for the favorite dunk during regular season voted on by the fans.§
The FanNation Award – for the team with the highest percentage increase in participation across all platforms.
“The NBA Social Media Awards was developed as a fun way to recognize our fans, players and teams which have contributed to the league’s leadership position in the social space,” said Christina Miller, SVP and GM, NBA Digital. “The NBA is consistently at the forefront of innovation and this show will capture the passion and influence the entire NBA community demonstrates across a wide array of social media platforms.”
The NBA is definitely fulfilling Brenner’s promise. The league has come through with volumes of social media content and is a key reason why the NBA is one of the most popular sports among children. Their approach is very beneficial to the league’s long-term health as kids are exposed to the NBA at a very young age and often given behind-the-scenes exposure to their favorite teams and players. It has also given teams the opportunity to cultivate fans that live outside of their base market and grow their national and international brands.
I am sure there are many great options to choose for all of the awards, but my early vote is for the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Facebook timeline last night after they won the Western Conference Finals:
Photos courtesy of Oklahoma City Thunder