The NBA Playoffs online

The #MayPac fight is over, and it wasn’t that exciting—but now the NBA playoffs are here! As millions of basketball fans are tuning in to see which teams will make it to the finals, advertisers are aggressively going after these exuberant, beer-loving masses.

Traditionally, big blue-chip brands have dedicated significant advertising dollars toward TV commercials that air during these live games. But nowadays it’s clear that brands need to expand their focus toward online viewers, who watch (and sometimes re-watch) game highlights, behind-the-scenes content, interviews, and a range of digital exclusive content. The importance of digital content to these massive online audiences (and consumers) is becoming more and more apparent. And it’s not going to change anytime soon.

The NBA’s social media presence

According to NBA.com, the league saw its fastest-ever growth on social media this past year, adding 240 million new fans since last season. Here are some jaw-dropping stats about the NBA’s online presence in 2015:

  • 31B impressions across all social platforms
  • 4.8M new likes on Facebook
  • 4.1M new followers on Twitter
  • 3.5M new followers on Instagram
  • 665M new video views on YouTube
  • 2.7B total video views on YouTube
  • 16.7B page views and 4.2B video views on NBA Mobile
  • 7.4M NBA Game Time app downloads

The NBA Playoffs and YouTube

Viral moments like Chris Paul’s and Derrick Rose’s buzzer beaters—and their massive appeal with online audiences—have fueled the 67M+ monthly average views and 60K monthly average subscriber growth figures the NBA YouTube channel sees today.

Brands are wising up and getting into the act with custom content around the NBA playoffs. Here are a few examples:

Universal Pictures worked with Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry to promote the highly anticipated summer blockbuster Pitch Perfect 2.

 

ESPN has been on top of their game too. Check out this time-lapse video they created in collaboration with star YouTube illustrator Heather Rooney.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03DV8Q72r7Q
 

Taco Bell is the official sponsor of the NBA Buzzer Beaters, and it’s hard not to think about tacos when you watch Derrick Rose’s game-winning shot on repeat. The video currently has more than 1.2M views on YouTube.

 

Finally, the NBA churns out great videos itself. Fans agree that the league has done a fantastic job of mixing game highlights with humorous original shorts that feature funny memes, pictures, and user-generated content.

 

The NBA understands the digital space, and so do smart brands. It’s game time!