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Volume 26 No. 45
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Social Studies: Turner Sports Celebrates 30 Years Of "Inside The NBA"

The new NBA season brings the 30th anniversary of TNT's "Inside the NBA," the rare long-running sports program that has managed to remain relevant and fresh. Turner Sports will spend the entire season looking back on where the show has been while navigating new terrain. Turner Sports VP/Social Media Morgan Dewan (@NBAonTNT) said celebration plans included a 30-day countdown to the start of the season. Across all touch points, Turner has been trying to hype up the 30th anniversary of "Inside." There will be 30th anniversary activations on NBA.com, NBA TV, on studio shows, YouTube and other places. Dewan said Turner will "start ramping things up" around the All-Star Game in Chicago. There also is a "special surprise and treat" coming during the playoffs that will culminate with the 30th anniversary celebration. Dewan and her team are not only focused on the NBA. They manage 35 social media handles spanning March Madness, MLB and more. She said, "We have a lot of social media ninjas. ... A lot of teams (have staff who are) Facebook or Twitter experts or YouTube experts. That's not our approach here."

SOCIAL SNAPSHOT
Must-follow: The photographer Jimmy Chin. He was the director of "Free Solo." I am an avid outdoorswoman and Jimmy's photographs allow me to daydream for a second before I get to the reality.
Favorite app: I live and die by Rent the Runway. As a working professional woman and a mother of two who is constantly on the road, I use Rent the Runway app to order all of my clothes ahead of time and send them to hotels, events.

Average time per day on social media: Four hours.

Determining which social tech fits Turner's needs:
We have people dedicated to doing that. Not only do we work with our emerging technology group to go out and prospect for the latest and greatest social media technology, but those same people are attending some of the more traditional broadcast conferences as well. That's why we have a dedicated social media war room. We have a social media studio as well. That's how we stay up on the latest. We're making sure we're not building anything for a single-use case.

Developing/implementing social platforms:
We have always been listening to what is going to be the next big thing. As you can imagine, when you decide to spin up a new fan engagement channel like we just did with TikTok, you're talking about another publishing cadence, more content creation. Sometimes these platforms require content to be cut and used in a very certain way, so it is quite a lift. We wouldn't call ourselves first adopters, but we're very close behind.

Corporate acceptance of social media:
If your social media KPIs (key performance indicators) aren't the same as your business KPIs, you have a problem. If you start quantifying success in terms of really nebulous data points that nobody except your team understands, you've got a problem. My team wants to understand the need and the driving force of the business at large and to understand how social can be a contributing factor to those. It's really given us a seat at the table but has garnered executive buy-in as well. They know we're not out there doing social for social media's sake.

Fostering an innovative environment:
It comes from the top. I'm going to cite two of our executives. (Exec VP and Chief Content Officer) Craig Barry talks a lot about how you are only as good as your last show. We tend to not rest on laurels with past achievements. We look at the last thing you did and iterate off that and how we can make that better. If you were to constantly look at the entire body of work and focus on, "oh look, isn't it great," I don't think that would push you nearly as fast or as far as taking things in smaller bites. The second person I'm going to point out is (VP/Production) Tim Kiely. When a lot of producers say "but," he says "and." You hear executives say good ideas can come from anywhere. Nobody embodies that spirit the way Tim Kiely does. He doesn't care where an idea comes from.

Success of #NBATwitterLive:
NBA Twitter is a force. It has not been duplicated by any league or any platform. NBA and Twitter are synonymous and that's because of a couple factors. No. 1, that's where the fans are and we believe in fishing where the fish are. The second thing is, it's the most real-time of the platforms and with the fast-paced nature of NBA games, it's really well suited for it. The third thing is just great partnership with the Twitter team. We're in a multiyear agreement with Twitter to produce original content specifically for their platform. #NBATwitterLive is going to come back this year for a second season.

If you know anyone who should be featured for their use of social media, send their name to us at jperez@sportsbusinessdaily.com.