SBJ/March 13-19, 2017/Franchises

Cavaliers launch social media channel to boost engagement between fans

The Cleveland Cavaliers are launching a new social media channel to create more direct engagement between fans and provide the team with another digital marketing outlet.

The defending NBA champions have partnered with Drund, a Youngstown, Ohio-based software company, to develop the Wine & Gold Nation Community. The platform allows users to interact with each other and includes team-controlled exclusive content such as game highlights and behind-the-scenes video. Users can message each other privately, receive email and text notifications, and use other social media tools. Fans can access the site through the team’s new Wine & Gold Nation app.

Wine & Gold Nation Community
“We realized that over time on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, we lose engagement with fans and we wanted to find a platform where we can grant fans access,” said Mike Conley, vice president of digital for the Cavs. “We want to figure out ways to bring back engagement. It becomes our launching pad for all things Cavs.”

The Cavs have about 25 million followers on social media. Conley said the challenge is to reduce the clutter from the various social media outlets so fans won’t have to wade through other content on those other networks to find Cavs content. The expected result is a more defined social media audience.

The team is rolling out the social network today. The Cavs plan to sell merchandise around the new platform but have no immediate plans to sell sponsors around it.

The team will not be adding to staff but will reshape the responsibilities of some staffers. Other teams that have created their own social media networks include the Portland Trail Blazers, New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns, according to the league.

Drund created the software infrastructure of the site and will provide moderators to keep the site free of spam and to monitor content. Financial terms were not disclosed, but it is the first sports deal for the company.

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