NBA
Strategic Media Management

Background

Founded in New York in 1946, the National Basketball Association (NBA) is the world’s pre-eminent basketball league. It consists of 30 franchised member teams, of which 29 are located in the United States and one in Canada.

Challenge

In March 2011, the NBA brought two regular season games (between the New Jersey Nets and the Toronto Raptors) to the O2 Arena in London for the first time.

In support of this initiative, it created ‘Basketball Week’ to give young people a chance to try out the sport.

Lacking UK internal media resource and expertise, the NBA marketing team approached ID Comms to help them understand the role that media could play in contributing to the success of these important initiatives as part of a broader marketing approach.

As part of this, ID Comms was briefed to develop a media strategy that would connect with the NBA’s ‘urban youth’ target audience in order to maximise the performance of their media investments.

Specifically, the core objectives were to:

  • Raise awareness of the regular season games and drive attendance at the O2;
  • Raise awareness of Basketball Week and drive participation in the activities and events; and
  • Identify the right media suppliers for activation

Action

ID Comms developed an integrated media and communications strategy designed to raise awareness of the regular season games and Basketball Week.

This strategy was deployed via a London-wide multichannel campaign that pin-pointed the NBA’s core ‘urban youth’ audience:

  • A fully integrated partnership was developed with Kiss FM that included DJ support on-air and at Basketball Week events, as well as a bespoke campaign page on the Kiss FM website.
  • Online display ads ran across core urban youth environments such as MTV and Mixcloud.
  • Social media activity targeted relevant interest communities – basketball and sports fans living within reach of the O2.
  • Location-specific print activity raised awareness of Basketball Week events and the regular season games.
  • Transport and ambient media targeted arterial routes to and from the O2.

This approach marked a significant departure from previous NBA Europe media activity that had been restricted to limited investment in traditional media channels. Therefore a key legacy of this project was to raise knowledge levels of senior NBA marketers, allowing them to better understand the dynamics of the modern media landscape. This enabled them to identify key pillars for future investment in media in order to deliver competitive advantage for their business and to raise the profile and performance of media within the organisation.

Results

  • Capacity sell-out of both regular season games at the O2.
  • Participation in Basketball Week events exceeded expectation by 20%.
  • Legacy understanding of media as an investment in growth of the NBA in Europe
  • Aligned objectives amongst senior NBA stakeholders for future investment in media
“ID Comms provided the best solution to plug the gaps in our in-house resource. We were completely reliant on them, as our Media Director, to deliver a strong marketing campaign. They delivered on time, within budget and were successful in driving huge growth in the UK market.”
Senior Director Marketing and Communications, NBA EMEA
Summary
The stars of US basketball came to London to play a competitive fixture for the first time in 2011.
ID Comms was asked to provide strategic media management for Basketball Week.
We devised a London focused media plan that would pinpoint the organisations urban youth target.
A partnership with Kiss FM combined with advertising on MTV, social activity and targeted transport advertising to get the message out.
The matches were a sell-out and participation in Basketball Week events exceeded expectation by 20%.
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