SBJ/June 9-15, 2014/Franchises

Spurs to refresh YouTube channel

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The San Antonio Spurs are moving forward with an aggressive relaunch of their YouTube channel to boost their digital presence.

The proposed overhaul of the Spurs YouTube channel calls for the creation of a wide variety of content and the addition of staff dedicated solely to building and operating the team’s YouTube channel, including the hiring of a program director and talent.

Twenty-seven of the NBA’s 30 teams have their own YouTube channels, but the Spurs are revamping their efforts after an outside consultant conducted an evaluation of the team’s digital assets this spring.

The Spurs plan to give their fans a voice as part of their YouTube channel relaunch.

“Right now, the channel is just a passive video archive and we have to repurpose it in a different way,” said Lawrence Payne, executive vice president of partnerships, broadcasting, branding and content for the Spurs. “The goal is to get more fan engagement. It is a space that has a lot of viewership.”

The team is still developing specifics surrounding the relaunch, but it plans to give a voice to the fans.

“There would be user-generated content,” said Jeanne Garza, director of corporate partnerships and interim marketing director.

The Spurs already have their own half-hour show called “E-Spurs” streamed on their team app and on Spurs.com. It is possible that a similar approach also would be used for the team’s YouTube channel.

All NBA teams have ramped up staff overseeing the creation of digital programming. The Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers are among NBA teams that create their own content and spread it across all of their digital assets.

“Clearly there are a lot of people using YouTube and our teams are global brands, so it’s important for teams to be part of that,” said Melissa Rosenthal Brenner, senior vice president of digital media for the NBA. “From a strategic position, there is a lot of great storytelling and YouTube gives us a chance to highlight the stories on and off the court. Our teams are setting up staffing that is nimble and responsive.”

But the Spurs want to put more resources and programming specifically against their YouTube channel.

“If fans want highlights or replays, they can get it in 100 different places,” Payne said “We are underutilizing it and we are not afraid of investing in things.”

Payne said the team is early in the relaunch planning phase and would not disclose any specific costs in the effort, adding that he expects to present the team’s revised YouTube plan to league executives sometime this summer.

“No team has a blueprint and we have got to find things that are unique and that people like,” Payne said “We’ve got to evolve rather than wait.”

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