In the 2012 Dunk Contest, the NBA decided to go American Idol style and have America vote for the winning dunk. When I first heard about this, I couldn’t decide how I felt. I liked having judges that could actually understand which dunks are more complicated than others and judge accordingly; I still feel that way. However, in a world that revolves around social media, this was a great move for the NBA.
I’m still impressed that the NBA allowed one of their biggest events of the year to be decided by fans. Twitter allowed the NBA to boost their fan involvement in addition to promoting their sponsors such as Sprite which had you tweet “#SpriteSlam” followed by the letter designating which player you wanted to vote for. This was a great business move for the NBA because encouraged fan involvement while simultaneously promoting their sponsors in a more affective, and less annoying, manner.
We’re in a world that’s rapidly revolving around social media. Had the NBA not opted to use social media during their highly publicized dunk contest, another major sport would have used social media later on and would be reaping the positive publicity.
In addition to the NBA promoting the use of Twitter in their Dunk Contest, I love that Paul George “invited fans to submit dunk ideas to him via Twitter.” Regardless of whether he used those ideas or not, the invitation continued to promote social media, the NBA and him specifically.
I’m not going to lie, I was so impressed with his willingness to communicate with fans and welcome other ideas for his dunks that I checked out his bio to learn more about him. It’s refreshing to see that athletes are turning to fans for advice and opinions.
As for the last line in the article, “Do you think the NBA is doing a better job than other pro sports leagues of leveraging social and digital technology?” I’m going to refer to the Sports Fan Graph website to answer this question because it’s the best way to compare, side-by-side, teams and their social media usage.
Here’s a quick comparison between the major sports leagues to give an idea of which league is ahead of the game (pun intended) in their social media usage.
Twitter followers: 4,567,571
Facebook fans: 12,630,219
Total: 17, 197,790
Twitter followers: 1,812,662
Facebook fans: 1,033,963
Twitter followers: 3,028,513
Facebook fans: 4,890,732
Twitter followers: 1,002, 812
Facebook fans: 2,154,200
Clearly, the NBA is dominating the use social media. The NBA, overall, does a better job of promoting the use of twitter in their broadcasts in addition; the announcers and players promote Twitter themselves by communicating with fans through their Twitter accounts. At the rate that the NBA is increasing in their social media usage, no other major sports league will be able to catch up.