NBA Roundup: Jimmy Butler’s Trade, Derrick Rose Soars, and Pacers Ink Motorola
As we’ve hit the halfway point of the 2018-2019 NBA season, several storylines have caught the attention of fans throughout the world. From Jimmy Butler’s training camp drama and subsequent trade to trouble in paradise on the West Coast surrounding Kevin Durant’s impending free agency, and, of course, Derrick Rose’s resurgence into the spotlight with his strong performances and possible All-Star selection.
These storylines create tremendous impact across the media for teams, players, and fans alike – but do they carry a significant social impact? Can a team’s successes and/or failures lead to spikes in engagement? If so, what kind of social amplification do entities’ owned and operated (O&O) social channels experience because of it?
Jimmy Butler’s Trade Saga
By now every NBA fan knows about the Jimmy Butler saga. After the summer offseason, Butler returned to training camp with a *bang*. Reportedly demanding a trade and creating major tensions in training camp, Butler was sure to be traded before the deadline. Mainstream media started picking up the trade on November 10; Butler was officially traded to the Philadelphia 76ers on November 12, and he’s caused more controversy with his new team since then. We took a look at the Timberwolves and 76ers’ O&O social channels for two four-day periods in November while the trade rumors and subsequent trade happened. The graph below shows the increase in average engagement per post during November 12-16 compared to November 17-21.
Derrick Rose – The Return of an All-Star
Before the season started, the majority of the NBA community had all but given up on veteran Derrick Rose resembling anything close to his 2011 MVP form…well, everyone except for Derrick Rose. Rose is now in the running for an All Star appearance and has demonstrated his explosiveness, speed, and scoring ability that propelled him and the Chicago Bulls to heights unseen since the Jordan era. So far this season the quintessential example of Rose’s resurgence occurred on October 31, when he dropped a career-high 50 points against the Utah Jazz. With Rose’s epic performance, did the Timberwolves experience a spike on social media? Leveraging Blinkfire’s daily engagement report, we looked at the team’s top five days by engagement since the start of the season to determine whether Rose’s on-court success transferred to social. The numbers speak for themselves.
Pacers’ Jersey Patch
On December 18, our partner the Indiana Pacers announced a jersey patch deal with Motorola, (leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder as the remaining NBA team without a patch partner — of the 32 NBA teams, 31 have inked patch partnerships within the past 18 months). Since the 2017-2018 season when the NBA started allowing jersey patch partners, teams and brands have taken advantage of the additional advertising opportunity. Upon announcing their partnership with Motorola, the Pacers did a fantastic job driving engagement for the telecommunications company – earning more than 64,000 engagements on the day of the announcement.
Motorola has also gained valuable exposure from entities other than the Pacer’s O&O social channels, specifically from NBA league posts. On game days, winning teams get more than a W; the league posts Instagram carousels with at least one picture for each winning team.
The NBA’s Instagram carousel posts drive enormous earned media value for jersey patch partners such as Motorola, with this specific carousel earning more than 840,000 engagements.
Stay tuned for more sports, social media, and sponsorship updates from us as we gear up for an exciting month ahead, including the Australian Open finals, NHL All-Star game, Super Bowl, NBA All-Star game, and the first leg of the Round of 16 play of the Champions League.