SBJ/April 1-7, 2013/In Depth

Chicago Bulls: Engaging the fan

The Chicago Bulls perennially lead the NBA in attendance, leaving Bulls.com and the team’s other digital assets to extend the franchise’s brand far outside the United Center.

“It is about fan engagement and brand extension,” said Susan Goodenow, vice president of branding and communications for the Bulls. “There are a finite number of games per year, and we are always looking for more ways to engage our fans in different ways and year-round.”

The top three traffic categories on Bulls.com are team information (schedule, roster, tickets, etc.) followed by content provided by Bulls.com writer Sam Smith, and then multimedia content consisting of video, photos and audio. It’s that third category the Bulls are looking to increase.

Much of the digital content on Bulls.com is player related.


“We are really looking for ways to use more photos, and you will see more Instagram; we are about to do more with Pinterest; and we are launching our own Tumblr page,” Goodenow said. “Our next area of content is historical. That is an area which we are looking to emphasize more.”

The Bulls rely on seven full-time staff members and three to six contracted workers to create their digital content. All video streamed on the team’s BullsTV platform is edited in-house.

Much of the digital content is player-related, with the organization enjoying a healthy relationship between the basketball and the business operations departments, something that’s not always the case for professional sports teams.

“We have the opportunity to do different things and explore different areas,” Goodenow said. “We try to be respectful of the players, executives and the coaching staff.”

The digital content is sold heavily, with banner ads on Bulls.com along with specific content sponsors. AT&T is the presenting sponsor of Bulls.com with other team sponsors such as Budweiser and Kia paying for specific digital content.

“There are a lot of digital elements that are part of larger sponsorships,” Goodenow said. “We are having more and more conversations with sponsors who want to find ways to engage online and in the social media space.”
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