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Michael Carter-Williams might be the Rookie of the Year in the league, but basketball has always been a team game. The 30 franchises that make up the NBA 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 Philadelphia 76ers. Stay tuned for ongoing coverage of our #NBADigitalSeries.

The Philadelphia 76ers have had a long, enduring season. Yet, seemingly from the outset, there’s been a complete acceptance of the rebuilding process, both from the team and the fans. This mutual understanding got to the point where they wanted the team to lose as much as possible as the season went along; evident implicitly and explicitly.

Nevertheless, the concept of “tanking” can not be condoned nor promoted by the organization, itself, in any way, shape, or form–at least publicly. This dynamic further reinforces them to take a positive outlook across their digital channels. The long-term approach, thus, permeates every touchpoint in order to regain trust and belief from fans.

In light of Michael Carter-Williams’ Rookie of the Year announcement, the team completely revamped their website. The design and intuitiveness of the homepage’s UI immediately stands out. The header contains a designated spot for a presenting sponsor–though just evident within smartphones not desktop–while the main menu tab instantly and effectively reacts to when a user scrolls over. They’re one of the few teams that digitally advertise StubHuB among ticket sales avenues, which served as a transparent way for fans to find the best deal possible. The team’s social and its search buttons juxtapose the main menu tab conveniently on the right side, with the latter functioning quite well compared to other teams’. It’s the body, though, that punctuates the redesign through wide, image-rich visuals of the content, followed by a blowout of the video hub with a playlist next to it, and then more content as displayed on the top with an updated social widget alongside it. This entire layout caters to fans with its visual stream coupled with accessibility to share content to their social accounts, particularly via tablets and mobile devices.

Although not quite the same transformation, their social channels present a consistent lens into this organization-wide rebuild.

The 76ers are closing in on a million likes on Facebook. Their cover photo has been changed periodically over the course of the season, which currently depicts a cool, Carter-Williams caricature–likened to this old Nike ad campaign–with the Rookie of the Year emblem. They don’t, interestingly, feature numerous applications for fans to engage with, sans for an RSS blog feed powered by Socialbakers. The tone is informative, yet excitable at times; there’s a consistent template that starts with the body of the text, followed by links, and then an image–all of which makes it digestible for the user. During game days, there’d be posts to show broadcast, branded halftime ones, and post-game scores; the latter, though, didn’t occur all the time. And they’d occasionally mix in some for “#TBT” and “#FlashbackFriday” to fill in on those days.

On Twitter, the volume of 314,000 would receive an appropriate amount of in-game tweets, not nearly as many as what other teams do. The same tone of the copy present on the aforementioned Facebook is reflective here as well. They make a concerted effort to attach images often to tweets in order to increase engagement; Vine is used primarily before games start to show players warming up. Internal influencers also garner retweets from them to show the different takes on a particular subject. One of the nicer, smaller gestures, however, happened when they decided to retweet some fans during the last game of the season as a token of appreciation–very sparingly outside of this event.

As for Instagram, the team almost approached 100,000 follower by season’s end. The vast majority of the images here served as the primary ones for their other social outlets. While most of the posts tend to be of the behind-the-scenes variety, there wasn’t much original branding to them. There’s been a clear focus to create a level of anticipation before every game as opposed to during or post game, with video driving most of this interest. Again, the tone of the copy remained consistent to their other mediums and tried to redirect fans to their website.

Yet, the crowning, memorable moment this season belongs to the commemoration of Allen Iverson.

“#AI3Forever” was the hashtag for this campaign that elicited the team’s most comprehensive undertaking of the year. There were 14 original videos produced under this theme, including an animation tribute in the same vein as their later depiction for Carter-Williams’ Rookie of the Year achievement. There were close to 40 different posts highlighting this event on Instagram alone–not to mention a couple new Facebook cover photo changes and the plethora of tweets sent. Beyond the site, Instagram and Twitter were the dominant vehicles that showcased everything leading up to, during, and ensuring parts of the ceremony. The team lived up to Iverson’s “The Answer” nickname with their own crafted coverage for him; though, some other worthwhile incentives for the fans would have elevated these efforts that much further.

This year, too, the 76ers launched their first mobile app. The standard features carried on various other teams’ apps are present. There isn’t anything specifically genuine that personalizes fans’ experience compared to any other digital medium. While the same presenting sponsor from the team website is carried over, it’s likely just a value add to them at this nascent point. Also, there wasn’t enough promotion of the app to drive significant downloads, which could have been an opportunity for its own campaign.

The season-long mantra of “#TogetherWeBuild” will likely continue for Philadelphia 76ers’ foreseeable future. The team’s site already counting down the NBA Draft Lottery that’s less than a week away. Even with Michael Carter-Williams in the fold, a little more luck is needed from those ping-pong balls to build off the foundation that’s taking shape.