The NBA & TNT’s Interactive Brand Building

I have a confession to make: I like the NBA Playoffs more than I like March Madness. It’s the equivalent of being a “cat person” in a dog obsessed culture, but I don’t care. The talent level is unrivaled, the match-ups have history, and a 7 game series is more like a chess match than a frantic, winner-goes-on 40 minutes.

NBA Brand Building

Jeremy Lin wearing NBA’s Chinese New Year warm-up

Regardless of whether or not you agree, it’s tough to deny the recent success the NBA has had. It’s come a long way since the post-Jordan, thug culture of the late 90’s and early 2000’s and has turned itself into a globally recognized brand thanks to savvy marketing, the emergence of several key international players, and a cast of superstars who’re just as concerned with taking their personal brand world-wide as the NBA is.

TNTOvertimeScreenShotAnother strength of the NBA is making it accessible for people to experience their brand in new ways. A great example of this comes through its partnership with TNT, a cable television network. In addition to airing many of the games throughout the playoffs (15 games in the first week alone!), they offer an online-only viewing experience called TNT Overtime. Designed specifically to supplement the game, TNT Overtime allows you to choose from 1 (or all 4) additional cameraNetsVoteResults angles. Two of the cameras are set to always follow the fan-voted player, which plays just as well to the star-obsessed fan as the basketball purest.  The other two camera’s  show the action from behind the backboard and an on-the-ball angle not typically shown during the telecast, respectively. The camera feeds are further supplemented with live player stats, team specific social media measurements and more.  Another entertaining – though possibly unintended – result of the additional cameras is that they typically stay live during most of the television commercial breaks, providing some (often humorous) behind-the-scenes shots of your favorite players on the sidelines or your favorite analyst while they’re supposedly “off-camera.”  It’s just another way for fans to feel like they’re closer to the game.

Though TNT Overtime is not the first example of online-augmented television viewing, it’s certainly one of the best. Unlike scripted television, sporting events are rarely recorded to be watched at a later time and benefit greatly from adding additional viewing angles. The interactive component of player-camera voting brings fans closer to game, and the inherently competitive nature of basketball lends itself towards a highly social audience, spreading its brand even farther and in real-time.

As a fan of the NBA, it’s great to see them get onboard early to open up additional channels to strengthen their brand.

Paul Arterburn is a Co-founder and the Head of Product at Brandfolder, a Techstars Boulder 2013 company. In this capacity, Paul is responsible for overall product vision and execution. This includes managing the development and design processes, constructing and executing the product roadmap, and deploying code daily. Paul is nearing the magic 10,000 hour mark of coding through the dedication of learning 15 different coding languages over the past 15 years. Daring and scrappy, Paul is ready to leave the Web better than he found it: this is what drove him to found Brandfolder. Me in 3: • Movies people can’t believe I don’t like: Star Trek and Star Wars. • My secret talent: As a songwriter my first songs at age 16 were about all girls, and my latest about just one - my fiancé. • My first invention: A wrestling move dubbed 'The Bob Dole' still used across the state of Nebraska today.

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