NBA Free Agency: The Signings & Trades That Rocked The League
For some, July 1 is just another summer day; but for NBA fans (and the fair weather fans) it’s the beginning of one of the “most magical” times of the year — free agency. Last year’s free agency period saw King James essentially steal the show. This time around things have been different.
Since the beginning of July, marquee players like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Kyrie Irving moved cities, ready to embark on the journey of an NBA Championship with a brand new organization. Several teams considered themselves winners of the free agency period, so how have big name signings impacted jersey patch exposure for some NBA teams? Is the hype of free agency real? Let’s check it out.
Media Companies – A Goldmine for Patch Partners
With one of the most surprising pieces of free agency news breaking yesterday, Russell Westbrook was traded to the Rockets for Chris Paul and an assortment of draft picks — in turn earning a chance to team with James Harden and an opportunity for Houston to battle for a championship. The Bleacher Report announcement generated over 1.5 million engagements in less than 14 hours for the Rockets’ patch partner Rokit.
Anthony Davis’ long expected trade to the Lakers paired with Demarcus Cousins’ decision to reunite with the New Orleans Pelican helped Wish earn more than 1.2 million engagements in a single post.
NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard decided to trade the winters of Toronto for the forever summer in LA, joining the Clippers and giving Bumble more than 1 million engagements via this Bleacher Report post.
Finally, the Portland Trail Blazer’s acquisition of Hassan Whiteside via a sign and trade made waves around the league, driving additional exposure for Biofreeze.
Owned and Operated: Best Practices
We’ve talked about how free agency moves and the subsequent media frenzy can significantly impact the value driven for brands across their sponsorship deals — but do NBA teams create the same type of hype on their owned and operated channels? We took a look at some best practices teams are utilizing when announcing their new player acquisitions.
Taking jersey patch partners out of the equation, right holders have several other assets that receive valuable exposure throughout free agency. One such asset is the step and repeat most visible during press conferences — whether that’s after a post-game or in this instance a new trade holding his team’s jersey. Trail Blazers and Atlanta Hawks showed how to effectively include their step and repeat partners when unveiling Hassan Whiteside and Jabari Parker.
Most Engaging NBA Teams
It’s no secret that the NBA’s trade frenzy during these last few weeks can be more exciting than the actual season. Excitement brings attention and attention brings fans and fans bring the engagement. And, the NBA’s teams’ social media accounts drew in the fans + engagement. To better understand how the regular season compares to a few electric weeks of summer, we looked at total team engagement during the regular season versus the beginning of free agency.
There’s been significant movement in specific teams driving the most engagement. The Lakers displaced the Warriors as the #1 engagement driver during the free agency period, and the New Orleans Pelicans (Zion), Brooklyn Nets (Durant & Kyrie), and New York Knicks (RJ Barrett) all jumped into the top 10 after a rapid start to their offseason.
Free agency, in particular massive free agent moves, provides teams and brands exactly what they’ve been looking for: eyeballs. With the influence of major media companies and teams, as well as the ability to post engaging content and news 24/7/365, the chance to drive valuable exposure for partners has become a necessity. As we continue into the offseason and upcoming regular season, we are curious to see which teams will shine.