SBJ/April 30-May 6, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NBA expands to Pinterest, Tumblr platforms

The NBA is launching new league pages on the Pinterest and Tumblr social media platforms, extending its fan engagement efforts as the 2012 playoffs begin.

The league will debut its first official extensions into Pinterest, a fast-growing site devoted to content sharing around the concept of digital “pinboards,” and Tumblr, a more established platform based around microblogging and photo sharing.

The NBA will upload rarely seen playoff photos to its new home on Tumblr.
Photo by: NBA
The efforts are aimed at boosting fan interest in the postseason, and will include steady tune-in messages to drive TV viewership of games. With Tumblr in particular, the league plans to upload rarely seen professional-quality photos from the past 20 years of playoff history that can shared on social media platforms and purchased.

Both the Pinterest and Tumblr destinations for the NBA will also include an e-commerce component in which merchandise such as hats and jerseys will be featured, with links to the league’s online store. Similar to the NBA’s own history and that of other leagues, the new initiatives for the playoffs also serve as a test run toward likely larger rollouts for the following season.

The NBA’s destinations on Pinterest and Tumblr will supplement the league’s social media efforts on Twitter and Facebook, as well as on NBA.com.

“Photo sharing in general is very interesting to us, and we think there’s another opportunity there to use our rich library of content and help drive further engagement,” said Melissa Rosenthal Brenner, NBA vice president of marketing.

The league’s interest in photo sharing will take on a fan-driven component for the playoffs. The NBA is launching a parallel social media campaign titled “Hoops Around the World” in which fans will be invited to send in images of their basketball nets or where they play basketball. Photos will be aggregated on Twitter using the hashtag #hoops, and then displayed on online platforms including NBA.com, Twitter and Facebook.

The NBA says it is now up to 260 million total social media followers and fans, counting all league, team and individual player destinations, as well as those on Chinese social platforms. The aggregate total represents one of the largest social media communities in the world.

NBA.com and its related mobile assets, meanwhile, also will refresh themselves for the playoffs, based in part on a “hub” concept in which content will be organized primarily within areas devoted to each of the series. Despite the abbreviated regular season, NBA Digital recorded mid- to high-double-digit percentage increases compared with last season in each of its key digital metrics, including video views, unique visitors, and mobile app downloads.

“It was certainly better across the board than what we expected initially, but you have to remember, this all happened for a reason,” said Christina Miller, senior vice president of strategy, marketing and programming for Turner Sports and general manager of NBA Digital. “We had great players and great story lines all season.”

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