Archive for the ‘NBA’ Category

This week I want to focus on what is often called the “next generation fan.” And what is the next generation fan? It’s the sports fan who consumes sports in a much different manner than the traditional fan. The “traditional fan” would primarily go to watch the action on the field, court, ice or arena. But the “next generation” fan consumes sports in a very different way. Instead of just watching the on-field action, the “next generation fan’ is constantly multi-tasking. They are also watching the big scoreboard/big screen as well as using their smart phone to text, Tweet, take photos, check-in, post to Facebook, etc.

Jimmy Lynn for iStrategy

In the past two years, I’ve been fortunate enough to attend sporting events in two of the greatest sports venues in the world. In late 2009, I went to the famed Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro (one of the three greatest soccer venues in history) to watch Flamengo play a league match. And, in the spring 2010, I went to see Arsenal play Porto in a Championship League match at their new beautiful Emirates Stadium. The passion of the fans at both venues was remarkable and bone-chilling. But, it was also clear that they were there for one thing … to watch the action on the field.

Big screen Cowboy Stadium

Contrast that to the American sports fan in the US. Go to nearly any professional sports league game and you’ll witness a good number of fans multi-tasking. I think back to Feb 2010 – at the NBA All-Star Game at Cowboys Stadium in Texas. I’ve never seen a more spectacular sports venue. Wow. The place is simply amazing. In particular, the high-definition screen that runs 60 yards long will simply take your breath away. What’s interesting is that the picture is so clear that often times you find yourself watching the big screen versus the live-action on the field. Then, of course, the fans are on their iPhones, Blackberrys, Androids, etc to tell their friends about the spectacular venue – snapping photos and posting on Facebook, posting tweets on Twitter, checking in on FourSquare, texting and emailing, etc.

I do love the purity of watching the soccer/football matches in Rio de Janeiro and London, but as a sports marketer, I marvel at how sports venues in the US, such as Cowboys Stadium, create so many more meaningful ways to create revenue.  The sponsorship opportunities alone are staggering.  But also the advent of mobile apps will continue to help sports fans consume in even more engaging ways. There’s a number of apps that help fans follow their fantasy sports teams, order concessions, change seat locations, follow other teams and sports, look at traffic reports, check on weather, etc.

iphone sports app
Sports has always been one of the key content areas to drive the adaptation of new technologies. This “next generation fan” will continue to multi-task in more and more ways as new applications continue to be developed.  Yes, the US is probably leading the way since it’s the largest consumer sports market, but many of these lessons will be shared – and fans in the UK, Brazil, China, Australia, India, Russia, etc will also consume sports in a different manner. This also means that leagues and teams will also be able to create new incremental revenue streams. It will be interesting to watch this play out in the coming years. The game – or “watching the game” has changed.  And, those that embrace it will be the ones who can most benefit.


Auburn Hills, MI, January 24, 2011) – The Detroit Pistons announced today that the club is hosting its first ever Social Media Night at The Palace of Auburn Hills when they face the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday, February 2 at 7:30 p.m.

Fans that purchase tickets on Facebook ( or Twitter ( will have access to three exclusive ticket offers for the game on February 2. Option 1 includes a 100-level ticket, social media t-shirt, exclusive pre-game meet and greet opportunity with Pistons’ forward Jonas Jerebko and VIP Club access for $125. Option 2 includes a 100-level ticket, social media t-shirt and exclusive pre-game meet and greet opportunity with Jerebko for $35. Option 3 includes a 200-level ticket and social media t-shirt for only $10.

The Pistons will also give selected local bloggers the opportunity to cover the game and write about their experience at The Palace. Following an application and approval process, bloggers will receive a lower-level suite ticket and have access to an exclusive post-game media interview session with forward Charlie Villanueva. Any post-game coverage that is shared will receive recognition on Bloggers can apply at by January 26 to apply for this unique experience. The website location provided should include specific examples of your work in regards to Pistons or other sports coverage.

PNC, one of the nation’s largest financial holding companies, is the presenting sponsor for the Detroit Pistons. For more information about PNC, please visit


Portland, OR, January 25, 2011) – ShopIgniter, a rapidly-growing provider of innovative social eCommerce solutions, today announced that the Portland Trail Blazers have launched their Facebook Store and social promotions to engage their 190,000+ Facebook fans located at: The Trail Blazers are looking to optimize their social network to drive loyalty programs, promote limited time sales, move ticket inventory, increase fan base, and engage with loyal Trail Blazer fans.

With an avid fan base that supports one of the NBA’s most exciting young teams, the Trail Blazers are constantly looking at ways to drive a deeper relationship and deliver a better experience for their fans.

“For the past couple of years we have known social media will evolve to be a key part of our fan relationship as well as a way to work more closely with sponsors,” said Kristi Wilson, senior director of Retail, Portland Trail Blazers. “ShopIgniter’s social eCommerce platform is enabling us to deploy a Facebook Store and deliver social programs that will engage our fan base, incent them to share their experiences with their social networks and reward their loyalty. This will be a natural extension of the existing social dynamics between fans and help us generate revenue through retail, ticket sales and sponsorship programs.”

ShopIgniter offers a comprehensive suite including the Facebook Store, Social Promotions Engine™ and eCommerce Platform which can be used in a modular fashion. Companies can easily integrate their social solutions to their existing eCommerce to extend their reach and generate revenue through social eCommerce. The Social Promotions Engine enables companies to incent their fan base to share promotions, group and limited time sales, social coupons and more — all tied around transactions. Fans can earn points, discounts or earn social badges as a reward for sharing with their social networks

“We believe social eCommerce is more than just putting up a store within social networks,” said Matt Compton, CEO of ShopIgniter. “Our Facebook Store tied with Social Promotions Engine helps our clients engage their fan networks in viral promotions and rewards programs that drive revenue through the social conversation.”

About ShopIgniter
Founded in 2009, ShopIgniter is a rapidly-growing, social eCommerce software company funded by early investors, Madrona Venture Group. Headquartered in Portland, OR, ShopIgniter helps companies of any size activate their social network to extend their reach and generate revenue through social eCommerce efforts. ShopIgniter provides the sCommerce Suite of flexible products that include a Social Promotion Engine to power shareable coupons, group based promotions, referral and loyalty incentives, private and time-based sales; a fully transactional Facebook Store; and a cloud-based eCommerce Platform; all of which can power a stand-alone eCommerce business or be integrated with existing eCommerce systems.

With hundreds of customers and growing daily, ShopIgniter meets the social eCommerce needs of a variety of companies including retailers, brand manufacturers and their interactive agencies. More information can be found at


(New York, NY, January 27, 2011) – For the first time, the NBA and Taco Bell are giving fans the opportunity to determine participants in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge as part of the “Choose Your Squad” program.  In addition to adding a fan vote, the 2011 Taco Bell Skills Challenge will feature an expanded field from four to five participants.

Beginning today and running through 11:59 p.m. ET on Feb. 14, fans can log on to to choose from among eight players to determine four of the five participants in the 2011 event in Los Angeles.  The players taking part in the “Choose Your Squad” vote include:

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs
Baron Davis, Los Angeles Clippers
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls (2009 Champion)
Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings
John Wall, Washington Wizards
Derek Fisher, Los Angeles Lakers
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

The four finalists will compete against “Choose Your Squad” spokesman Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets. A three-time NBA All-Star and Taco Bell Skills Challenge (2006 to 2008) participant, Paul will chronicle his preparations on the program microsite  The site will also feature highlights of each of the eight players eligible in the fan vote.

This year’s event will include a new charitable element from NBA Cares and Taco Bell Foundation for Teens’ “Graduate to Go” program, a national initiative to help teens graduate from high school through real-world experiences.  Each of the five participants will be matched with a teen member of a local Boys & Girls Club. The teen paired with the event winner will receive a four-year college scholarship, while the other scholarship winners will each receive an educational scholarship, all courtesy of the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens.

“The “Choose Your Squad” program is another example of how we are constantly looking for ways to empower our fans and provide them with ways to play a part in our NBA All-Star events,” said Mark Tatum, NBA Executive Vice President, Global Marketing Partnerships.  “Taco Bell is always looking to create unique experiences for its customers, and these exciting changes to the Taco Bell Skills Challenge will not only bring fans closer to the event but also leave a lasting impact on the lives of others.”

“I’m looking forward to taking the court in Los Angeles and seeing who the fans choose to compete in the 2011 Taco Bell Skills Challenge,” said Paul.  “All of these players are great competitors, and I’ll be working hard to prepare, knowing that the outcome will help some very deserving teens pursue their educational dreams”

Introduced at NBA All-Star 2003 in Atlanta – the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge will feature five players competing in a two-round timed “obstacle course” consisting of dribbling, passing, and shooting stations. All players must observe basic NBA ball-handling rules while completing the course. The two players with the fastest times from the first round advance to the finals with the order of competition determined by inverse order of the first-round times. At the discretion of the referee, television instant replay may be consulted for clarification of rules compliance.

Last year in Dallas, Steve Nash finished with a winning time of 29.9 seconds, joining the Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade (2006 and 2007) as the only other two-time winner in Taco Bell Skills Challenge history.

The Taco Bell Skills Challenge will be televised live nationally as part of the NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm, which will also feature the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, Haier Shooting Stars, and Sprite Slam Dunk.  TNT and ESPN Radio’s national coverage will begin at 8 p.m. EST from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. The 60th NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 20, will air live on TNT and ESPN Radio, and in more than 200 countries in more than 40 languages.

About Taco Bell Corp.
Taco Bell Corp. (“Taco Bell”), a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., (NYSE: YUM), is the nation’s leading Mexican-style quick service restaurant chain. Taco Bell serves tacos, burritos, signature quesadillas, Grilled Stuft Burritos, nachos, and other specialty items such as Crunchwrap Supreme®, in addition to the Why Pay More!® Value Menu. Taco Bell serves more than 36.8 million consumers each week in nearly 5,600 restaurants in the U.S.

About the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens
The Taco Bell Foundation, Inc., also known as the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens (TBFT), a non-profit 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation, is committed to addressing the growing number of high school dropouts in the U.S. by providing at-risk youth with mentors and real-world experiences that will motivate them to stay in school and achieve more in life, and to collaborating with like-minded individuals and organizations to garner greater impact. Since 1995, TBFT has donated more than $28 million to support teen programs at Boys & Girls Clubs of America and other teen-serving organizations with the help of on-going customer, franchisee and employee donations. For more information about TBFT, visit

About NBA All-Star 2011
NBA All-Star 2011 in Los Angeles will bring together some of the most talented and passionate players in the league’s history for a global celebration of the game.  The 60th NBA All-Star Game, which will be held on Sunday, Feb. 20 at the Staples Center, will reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages.  TNT will televise the All-Star Game for a ninth consecutive year, marking Turner Sports’ 27th year of All-Star coverage.  NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm will feature the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, Haier Shooting Stars, Sprite Slam Dunk, and Taco Bell Skills Challenge.  Other events at NBA All-Star 2011 will include the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam, NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, and NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by adidas.  This will be the fifth NBA All-Star held in Los Angeles, which also hosted the event in 2004, 1983, 1972, and 1963.

Carmine N. Tiso, NBA, (212) 407-8208,
Will Bortz, Taco Bell Corp, (949) 863-3915,


What’s the best way to sign a new sponsor? The Phoenix Suns are surely taking an innovative approach.

They’re offering something called a Suite and Social night, in which a company gets 20 tickets to a suite for a game night along with six parking passes and catering. They also get the right to make two Facebook status updates about their company to the Suns 229,000+ fans, at least a quarter of which are in Arizona. They also have the rights to make three Twitter mentions on the @PhoenixSuns feed, which has more than 45,000 followers.

Photo credit: Phoenix Suns

The idea, of course, is to allow companies to sample a Suns game and also see the power of its following. The package costs $7,000.

“We wanted to tailor an affordable package to smaller businesses that don’t have large advertising budgets,” said Mandy Medsker, digital account executive for the team.

Medsker said the team has already sold the package to a local social media company called Digital Madhouse.

I had two questions.

Were the Suns worried that fans would be turned off by the messages from a company that doesn’t even have a relationship with the team?

“We’ve addressed that here,” Medsker said. “We have to be careful with that balance and we think we’ve limited things and don’t think it will appear like we’ll be shoving marketing messages down the throats of fans.”

The other question was: Are the Suns giving away too much?

Should someone that doesn’t have a formal relationship with the team have this much access? One sports marketer told me absolutely. That the Suns were throwing in too much to try to land new sponsorships. He’d use this as a throw-in to one of his team’s current partners already spending a lot of money. Another said he was impressed with the ingenuity and believed it was a very creative way of trying to get new companies into the building and spending money on the team.

Klout and the NBA

Posted: December 7, 2010 in Klout, NBA, Social Media

Klout Influencers Share in the Sacramento Kings Hoops Action


(Sacramento, CA, November 29, 2010) ~ Millions of people around the world will be at the center of the action when the Sacramento Kings take on the Dallas Mavericks in basketball next week — but they won’t actually be at the game in person.

A small group of online “influencers” will be treated to a once-in-a-lifetime experience during the December 4 basketball game at ARCO Arena in Sacramento. As they watch the play-by-play action from the best seats in the house, the thousands of people who follow each of them on Twitter and other social media platforms will experience the roar of the crowd and the thrill of the game right along with them.

“We’re always looking for ways to reach new fans, and this experience is a great way to get the word out about all the fun and amazing things about a Kings game at ARCO Arena,” says Mitch Germann, vice president of marketing and communications for the Sacramento Kings.

Klout, the company that rates social media users based on their influence on specific topics, organized the experience for the Sacramento Kings. As part of its Klout Perks program, Klout will identify 25 invitees who have high Klout Scores and who tweet actively about the Sacramento Kings or are well-known Sacramento-area business leaders.

These registered Klout members will receive an offer shortly before the date of the game to participate in the event. And that’s when the fun begins.

Hosts will greet the 25 participants when they arrive at the arena, and the guests will meet a Kings player and win great Kings prizes during a pregame reception. Then they’ll watch the game from the Kings’ amazing box seats, with great court views and in-seat food and beverage service.

The influencers will also participate in activities throughout the game. Some will hang out in the Courtside Corner 3-Point Party or in the Kings SWAT Team section – the interactive fan experience areas. Others will sit along the court during pre-game as part of the Sideline Star Watch. A few select Klout guests will participate in on-court contests during time-outs and breaks throughout the game. One lucky participant will also sit in and observe Coach Paul Westphal’s post-game press conference.

A special welcome will be displayed on the KingsVision video screen during the game, and the influencers will pose for a photo with a Kings player after the game. Participants will also receive Kings shirts printed with a place to add their Klout Score.

Participants are not required to write or post about their experience, but based on their history and personality, they most likely will. “These influencers have tremendous online reach – they live to talk on Twitter,” says Garth Holsinger, vice president of global sales and business development for Klout. “The buzz comes in the form of a huge conversation on Twitter, Facebook and other major social networks.”

Holsinger says that this kind of Klout Perks “experience” is a natural fit for sports teams that want to build loyalty among their existing fans and reach new fans. “Sports players and fans are highly engaged on social media. This is a good way to show off the amazing experience of a Kings game and introduce new people to the team,” he says.

For the Sacramento Kings, an NBA team that actively uses social media for interacting with fans, the Klout Perks promotion offers a chance to share the excitement of a Kings game through the perspective of people who are already generating conversations and changing minds online.

“We want the people we invite to have such a wonderful experience that they want to do it again — and that they want to tell their friends, families and contacts about it, so they can experience the thrill of a Kings game as well,” says Germann.

About Maloof Sports and Entertainment

Maloof Sports & Entertainment includes the Sacramento Kings and ARCO Arena. Owned by the Maloof family with long-term, local partners, the organization is committed to being a contributing member of the Sacramento community. Teaming up with local leaders and non-profit organizations to give back to those in need throughout the region, MS&E has donated millions of dollars to charity in 11 years of Maloof family ownership. For more information about Maloof Sports & Entertainment, please visit, or call 916-928-0000.

About Klout

Klout measures influence across the social web. Using its core technology, Klout analyzes social network user data and identifies influential individuals based on the impact of their opinions, links, recommendations and other online content. Klout then provides innovative tools to allow companies, including major brands such as Disney, Audi, Nike and Fox, to interact with interpret this valuable influencer data. Klout is a privately held company based in San Francisco, Calif.

Controversy between two Nike brands. Seems to be all in favor for Phil Knight.