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Volume 21 No. 1
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League plans a ‘Big NBA Xmas’ on social media

The NBA is preparing an aggressive rollout of social media initiatives to help herald the start of its abbreviated 2011-12 season.

Among the social media-focused marketing and outreach programs scheduled for this week: an extensive series of ticket and merchandise giveaways through the league’s @NBA Twitter feed under the moniker “Big NBA Xmas,” and a live online Town Hall session on Facebook for fans featuring several active players. “Big NBA Xmas” is a play on the league’s current marketing tag line, “Big Things Are Coming.”

On the content side, NBA Digital, the league’s joint venture with Turner Sports, is expanding the Twitter and Facebook integration within and individual team pages, and prominently featuring on-air the individual Twitter usernames of NBA TV talent. NBA Digital is also reviving its popular Fan Night program in which fans, in part through social media, select games shown nationally Tuesday nights on NBA TV.

Facebook and Twitter factor heavily into the plans.
“The social conversation is obviously going to be ramped up, and is a very important part of both the launch of the season, and the ensuing weeks,” said Christina Miller, NBA Digital senior vice president and general manager.

NBA Digital also has significantly reworked its out-of-market game package, League Pass. Primarily marketed in years past as separate products between TV, online and mobile, marketing in earnest began last week for a single $169 subscription that provides access to live game video on all three platforms. Discussion on the combined offering, as much as $70 less than the total price of each version of League Pass last year if purchased individually, began before the end of last season. But plans then accelerated during this summer’s lockout in part as a means to thank fans for their patience during the sport’s labor dispute.

“It was sort of both situations,” Miller said. “Certainly, we’re seeing the continued growth of mobile and the desire among our fans to have access to the game any time, anywhere. But this was also a situation where we wanted to provide a lot of value to fans.”