Engage Gen-Z Sports Fans Authentically During The NBA Playoffs

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By: Reuben Dongalen Jr.

January 5, 2023

Engage Gen-Z Sports Fans Authentically During The NBA Playoffs

The NBA Playoffs is an exciting time for basketball fans rooting for their favorite players and teams as they compete at the highest levels. If the data is any indication, all eyes will be on the game, with viewership numbers at its highest both in live television and through reaction commentary, post-game highlights, and analysis via the top YouTubers in the NBA space. 

This marks an opportune time for marketers to reach and engage Gen-Z sports fans consuming the game through multiple avenues compared to traditional advertising only.

From April to June, brands should be fully locked in on both ends of the court, as fans are watching the action unfold bigger and better than ever. With BBTV’s NBA Playmakers network, a unique partnership with the NBA, advertisers can authentically connect with millions of highly engaged sports fans–especially Gen-Z viewers–through their favorite basketball content on YouTube. 

Setting The Stage for a Unique Storyline

This season has been unique in many ways; first and foremost, the unprecedented parity that has created a wide open race for the NBA championship. Unlike previous seasons, the standings for both conferences are tight, making every regular season game important. With more teams fighting for playoff positioning and/or contending for the trophy, the NBA Play-In Tournament becomes an even bigger spectacle in mid-April.

Secondly, a large collection of NBA’s stars have made a return from injury. Big names such as Kawhi Leonard, Zion Williamson, John Wall, Jamal Murray, and Ben Simmons have amplified the excitement for this season in particular. As more star players play for their respective teams, more hardcore fans and mainstream viewers will be tuning into a wide variety of matchups, and not just nationally televised games. That also means more eyes on niche creators and channels covering solely their favorite teams and players.

Finally, the NBA Finals have featured three different matchups in the last three seasons. While the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors have been labeled as championship contenders again this season, they are no longer seen as title favorites, putting the league in foreign territory. No one can safely put their stamp on who will be the last two teams standing.

Content is King for Young Sports Fans

Between the NBA’s emphasis on digital media and this season’s unique narratives, the NBA’s presence continues to rise across screens. Last year, social media and content searches regarding the NBA skyrocketed to new heights. In fact, brands that partnered with the NBA last season prospered on social media during the 2022 NBA Playoffs, proving the value of digital advertising against NBA content and its ability to generate interest beyond the broadcast.

“… Brands have myriad chances to capitalize on the interest by partnering with the NBA and gaining exposure from a worldwide audience. During the NBA Playoffs, that spelled millions in value for the likes of Google, State Farm, and YouTube, among others.”

While partnering directly with the NBA can be far-fetched for some brands, the NBA Playmakers network offers advertisers an opportunity within reach to capitalize on high-level interest during this time of the year.

Real Reach to Real Fans during the NBA Playoffs

For brands looking to contextualize their campaigns with fandom truly driven by the game and its unique narratives, the NBA Playmakers network offers unparalleled access to content by creators that viewers love. 

“… From April 15 through June 18… the NBA’s official partners received $54.9M worth of social brand value because of their affiliation.”

Coincidence? Not at all, as the NBA has become a digital leader compared to other major sports leagues, pivoting its strategy to cater to the consumption habits of this generation’s average sports fan.

The NBA Playmakers network is all about its creators, aligning with the NBA’s shift to a digital-first strategy. Partnering with the NBA Playmakers allows brands to engage with fans through their favorite basketball YouTubers amplifying NBA content and culture on and off the court, both in long and short formats. With over 90% of the NBA Playmakers’ audience being the ages of 13 and 34, a large portion of the network’s viewership is purely Gen-Z and Millennial sports fans, most of which are consuming NBA basketball first and foremost through digital content.

From popular basketball heads such as Jenna Bandy, INTHELAB, and Chris Staples, to IP-driven creators highlighting the on-court action such as MaxaMillion711, Golden Hoops, Dime, Heat Check and more, brands have a massive flight of choices to collaborate with for custom content, or to integrate within pre-existing programming.

The highlight of the NBA Playmakers network is that it draws more attention to the game beyond the on-court action. In fact, these creators are shaping culture around the NBA and the game of basketball, acting as lynchpins to bring the NBA and culture together through food, fashion, gaming, live music, and entertainment.

The NBA Playoffs is one of the world’s premiere sports tent poles spanning three months worth of high level basketball. The unique component of the NBA’s biggest stage is the element of entertainment, whether it’s at live games, during timeouts, within the broadcast, via social media, or at in-person events before or after games. YouTubers bring you closer to the action, allowing you to experience the game of basketball and latch onto teams, players, events, and fans’ favorite personalities through settings they’d never see without the lens of a creator.

The 2023 NBA Playoffs will be crucial for brands looking to engage millions of viewers heavily tuned into the on-court action, and invested in the off-court happenings of their favorite teams and players. Between the exciting storylines, the digital-first promotion of live broadcasts, and popular creators amplifying the game through their channels, the NBA Playmakers is the choice for brands to authentically engage with millions of Gen-Z sports fans.

By partnering with the NBA Playmakers network, advertisers can contextually target fans tuning into the world’s top YouTubers and popular content amplifying the NBA’s biggest stage.

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