Sport & Digital Media 2013-14 | 4.1 The NBA’s short-form content strategy

The exploitation of short-form content across multiple platforms has become a central part of North American basketball league the NBA’s global media rights strategy over the last three years.

Short-form content is extremely important in Europe, for example, due to the time difference. As Matt Brabants, the league’s SVP, global media distribution and business operations, told TV Sports Markets: “Not all our fans will stay up to 2.30am or 3am. Short-form content is increasingly the way we can get our message to our fans.”

All NBA games are now produced, televised and edited for digital use, specifically with mobile consumption in mind.

The league uses the following platforms and products to provide short-form video:

  • nba.com and other official websites
  • the NBA League Pass, the league’s out-of-market sports package
  • NBA GameTime, the official mobile app
  • The NBA YouTube channel
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Vine
  • Snapchat.
  • Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest are used for distributing NBA images.

The NBA sees its website and other official sites as the destinations for NBA fans who want the most complete picture. Each provides video highlights for all games and events, as well as news, blogs, statistics and scores. The nba.com website might carry 50 clips per day, ranging in duration from 10 seconds to five minutes.

The NBA League Pass offers live games for hardcore fans for a subscription fee and also shows in-game highlights and archive footage. NBA GameTime offers video and editorial content produced for a specific country, targeting the local fanbase in a particular market.

Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The YouTube channel reaches a wider audience of avid, casual and connected fans. The content focuses on best plays, such as the Daily Top 10, and outstanding performances. A typical subject for such content would be LeBron James’ 61 points haul for Miami Heat against the Charlotte Bobcats last season.

Facebook is largely a platform for off-the-court, behind-the-scenes content, as well as images and graphics.

Twitter is the platform for live events and breaking news, including score updates and in-game highlights under the league’s #nbarapidreplay initiative.

Vine is used exclusively during live events and shows videos of players pre- and post-game.

Snapchat appeals to a younger demographic, and the league uses it to show live events from beginning to end via photos and videos.

Tumblr is used to showcase more artistic photos, while Pinterest is more female-oriented, with a focus on apparel and fashion.

The NBA is the most successful US sports league in social media reach. Its YouTube channel has 5.6m subscribers, its Facebook presence has 23.1m likes and its Twitter feed has 10.2m followers.

The league also uses short-form content in sponsorship deals. For example, when fast food chain Taco Bell renewed as an NBA sponsor for the 2013-14 season, the two launched a digital/social media project called Buzzer Beaters that showed highlights of last-second, game-winning shots. The clips were shown on a Taco Bell-branded section on nba.com.

Original TV Sports Markets story published May 2014


>>Next chapter: 4.2 NBA on its media rights sales strategy

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