Minnesota Timberwolves NBA Digital Series

Kevin Love may very well be the best power forward in the NBA universe, but basketball has always been a team game. The 30 franchises that make up the league have generated a revenue pie in excess of $5 billion. The digital age has enabled this game to reach its worldwide audience anywhere, anytime. Teams can build up their own local fan base through the sundry of platforms available.

Much like our #NFLTechSeries, this time SportTechie delves into the digital strategies–from web, social media, mobile apps, and any other technological connection–of each team and analyzes them, including insights from some of the digital executives involved. Today, the #NBADigitalSeries 2013-14 continues with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Stay tuned to SportTechie this month for ongoing coverage of the #NBADigitalSeries.

It is safe to say that the city of Minneapolis is undergoing major renovations for their sports franchises. Within the past few years, the Minnesota Gophers have gotten a new stadium (TCF Bank Stadium), the Minnesota Twins have a new stadium (Target Field), the Minnesota Vikings just got approved for a new stadium in place of the Metrodome, and now the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx have secured renovations to the Target Center as well.

Minneapolis is becoming a “Target” market for athletes to play in, and the Timberwolves want to be one of the beneficiaries as they aim to keep cornerstone player, Kevin Love, around.

Target Center blueprints_25

This is a $97 million renovation. This deal makes sure that the Timberwolves and Lynx are around at least until 2032. Construction begins after this season and it’s expected to be an 18-24 month period to complete.

“The new Target Center will be stunning. I am thrilled that Timberwolves and Lynx fans will soon have a first class experience when they come to our games,” Owner of the Timberwolves, Glen Taylor said. “This is a fair and sensible solution. Target Center has a perfect location and good bones, so we’re excited about building something truly special on that strong foundation.”

Here is the press conference of the announcement. Some of the updates include:

  • Redesign of the exterior
  • Additional gathering and meeting spaces
  • Improved pedestrian traffic flow
  • Easier access in and out of building
  • Additional clubs
  • Improved amenities for all areas of the arena, including the upper and lower levels
  • Improved loading docks
  • Increased seating capacity for concerts and family shows with premium seats

Last year the Target Center, like some NBA facilities, included the SportsVU cameras in the stadium to track player efficiency. They actually ran a three part series diving into the technology explaining how it is operated, how they analyze players, and the future of this technology. You can read this series here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

While plans are being laid out to renovate the stadium, the Timberwolves are focusing on two main strategies this year. The first is taking a mobile first approach to all projects going forward. As more fans are inclined to use their mobile devices for everything, the challenge is reaching fans through their phones.

“We ask the question, ‘Does this project need to have a mobile functionality first before starting anything?,'” Director of Digital Media, Bob Stanke, told SportTechie.

Whether the project is mobile-friendly or if there needs to be an app incorporated, those are the decisions he and his digital staff are making this season.

The other strategy is working on improving some conversion metrics. Whether that is conversions from campaigns, newsletters, or e-mail blasts, the Timberwolves are looking to improve their numbers with different projects throughout the year.

The Timberwolves are looking like a potential playoff team this year; and if they make it, it will be the first time in 10 years! As they make improvements on the court to be like their female franchise the Lynx (two WNBA titles in three years), they want to make sure that their fans continue have a great experience at the Target Center.

“The fans are really important to us, as you can see, especially by our history of home-court advantage,” said Stanke. “If we can keep the fans here, keep them excited, I think it just helps us to win at home which overall gives us a better winning record.”

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