PR in Sports

Looking at the World of Sports from a PR Perspecitve

NBA Leading The Twitter Trend

with 6 comments

I’ve been posting a lot lately about Twitter and social media in general, but Twitter really has been dominating the sports news in recent weeks. This past weekend was more of the same as Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was fined by the NBA for a tweet, and Celtics forward Paul Pierce entered the Twitter fray (@paulpierce34). Pierce used one of his first few tweets to hand out tickets to Sunday’s Celtics game to the first five people to meet him at the players entrance to the arena and use the code word “truth.”

We’ve also discussed the infamous Charlie Villanueva halftime Tweet and other popular athletes on Twitter, mostly from the NBA. SportsPRBlog has an interesting post that includes a google document with a searchable list of nearly every athlete, league, conference and sports media outlet on Twitter.

One thing strikes me after looking at the Twitter google document and digesting all of the news previously mentioned. Why are NBA players and teams dominating Twitter compared to other sports and athletes, and what makes Twitter more attractive to the NBA?

There are numerous reasons, and one could be that Twitter really started becoming main stream a few months ago. Right around the time the NBA was heating up and the NFL was winding down. But, it’s more than just timing. The NBA places much more focus on marketing individual players, as opposed to the NFL, MLB and other sports, where marketing is more team based. Due to the NBA’s marketing strategy, the individual players also place more emphasis on their personal branding.

The NBA is about personalities, and that lends itself to social media, and specifically Twitter. Just last week we saw Shaq and LeBron having an intro competition. That’s right, they battled over which player had the most creative intro skit during pregame annoucement of the starting lineups, somthing you’d never see in football or baseball.

Also, NBA fans and media sit right on the court. NBA players can often be found interacting with courtside fans and media during games. It’s the only major sport with that type of access. It allows a greater comfort level for NBA players with the type of interaction that social media sites like Twitter promote.

Baseball’s opening Day is just a few days away, so I’ll be watching to see if there’s an increase in MLB players on Twitter in the coming weeks. But, I’d like to hear why you think NBA players and teams have a larger presence on Twitter?

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Written by Brian Gleason

March 30, 2009 at 11:24 pm

6 Responses

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  1. NBA players already embraced texting partly b/c of lengthy travel schedule, and there’s a follower effect based on Shaq’s tweets. I don’t see that iconic MLB/NFL player to step up and take Twitter to the next level. If Peter King and Michael Silver are to be believed, NFL players text journalists quite often, though–Twitter shouldn’t be much of a change!


    March 31, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    • I agree have Shaq onboard definitely got other NBA stars involved with Twitter. I’m very interested to see if there’s an increase in MLB players in the coming weeks. I’m not sure if there will as they’re marketing is much more conservative. I think a real aspect of this is that football players wear helmets, baseball players where hats/helmets, but NBA players are right there for the fans to see. You’d think tools like Twitter and Facebook would be even more important for NFL players to get their brand out there.

      Brian Gleason

      March 31, 2009 at 10:49 pm

      • I think the NBA has by far done the best job of marketing players instead of teams, and making rivalries/arguments between players. who is better? LeBron or Kobe? these things are discussed daily.

        You can’t really make as many arguements about that in the NFL or MLB because the players are not always playing directly against each other.

        A huge opportunity i see in the NFL would be a big prospect like Mark Sanchez to start twittering and taking all his fans through the process of getting ready for the NFL draft and all that comes along with it. It would also help the player to develop a following before they are even drafted and get more exposure. Then they can take the lead in NFL players twittering

        Alan C

        April 9, 2009 at 12:10 am

        • Hi Alan,

          I agree, the NBA does a tremendous job of marketing players compared to the other leagues. They almost have to because the team/divisional rivalries, with the way scheduling is setup in the NBA, don’t mean as much compared to other leagues.

          I think you’re point about an NFL draft prospect, like Sanchez, twittering his draft experience is great. I’m surprised an agent or PR rep for one of the players hasn’t come up with this yet. I guess it just shows that basketball really is ahead of the curve as far as personal branding of it’s players, although we’ll have to keep our eye on any college bball players doing this with the NBA draft approaching as well. This would have been a great idea if high school basketball players were still able to jump straight to the NBA. Part of the issue there was the league getting players that weren’t marketable yet.

          Brian Gleason

          April 9, 2009 at 8:53 am

  2. I think the reason for Twitter being so big in the NBA is because they, unlike other sports, can express themselves more freely. The NBA has more personalities who support its ability to express themselves more openly than in other sports. I agree 100 percent that the NBA places more emphasis on single players than on teams. They’re always recognizing specific players as the face of the franchise. I too am very anxious to see if MLB players will begin using Twitter more often.


    May 4, 2009 at 8:41 pm

  3. Hello, I found your blog in a new directory of blogs. I dont know how your blog came up, must have

    how to use google trends

    February 5, 2010 at 4:37 pm

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