Nike has always been well known for creating stunning visual homages for their iconic athlete endorsers. In recent memory there is none bigger than the tribute to LeBron James when he was drafted by, and started playing for, his hometown team – the Cleveland Cavaliers. After this week’s ‘Decision‘ to join Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh and form the new ‘Big Three’ (the term originally coined by my beloved Celtics in the Bird/Parish/McHale era), the city of Cleveland decided it had had enough with Nike’s larger than life building wrap and started the process of removing all traces of King James from it’s public edifices. Athletes come and go – some have more impact than others. LeBron was a beacon of hope to the economically distressed Rust Belt. I wonder if he’ll need ‘Witness Protection’ when he returns twice a year to play his former team.
I’m a HUGE NBA fan… and even bigger when my beloved Boston Celtics are involved this late into the post season. I take every opportunity to poke my friend and social sparring partner, Michael Brito, who moved on from Intel (Boo!) and joined Edelman not long ago. He’s also an unabashed Laker fan so the poking is warranted. We’ve been going back and forth over Twitter over the last couple of weeks as our favorite teams navigate their way through the playoffs. Had I known about Nike Basketball’s Post Season Twitter page, I would have channeled my energy there in an effort to disparage more Laker fans in one fell swoop! Nice execution – bringing people’s passions for sport to a socially relevant medium. Hats of to Stamen Design – I worked with them a number of years ago for our Digg Arc visualization – glad they are continuing to innovate.
As you are probably discovering from some of my previous posts, I am an ardent basketball fan – even maintaining interest after my beloved Celtics exited in the last round. TNT has been feeding my basketball jones with their ‘40 games in 40 nights‘ campaign – tag teaming with ESPN to bring the fans every moment of NBA action coast to coast. During this time, Nike has broken out a new advertising campaign. Kobe vs. LeBron with the implication that a finals meeting between the two is a ‘sure thing’. These commercials have been running non-stop for the last couple of weeks.
What’s interesting, however, is that during last night’s game between the Nuggets and the Lakers, none of the three installments ran. Could it be that with the Cavs down 2-1 to the Magic and now the Lakers series with the Nuggets tied at 2-2, ESPN is getting nervous that the pre-ordained Kobe/LeBron finals is in doubt? When the doubt creeps in, the advertisements wane. Good lesson for advertisers – don’t take anything for granted and be careful not to limit the runway for your campaign. Regardless of the outcome – these are some really creative spots… ‘Chalk’ (below) is my favorite. As a fan – I’m still rooting for them to meet.
It’s Finals time. Not in the NBA – in Fantasy Basketball. I’m not in them (no surprise there – I never seem to be, despite my best efforts) but that doesn’t stop me from following them ardently. What is interesting this year in the NBA is the rapid adoption of Twitter by some top names in the league. Shaq, Baron Davis, and Paul Pierce. My favorite – Charlie Villenueva. He’s probably one of the most prolific NBA players on Twitter…with his most publicized ’tweet‘ coming at halftime of a recent game against the Celtics.
What I find intriguing about this is that it gives unprecedented access to our sports heroes. Shaq and Paul Pierce routinely give out tickets to games via the micro-blogging service. With Shaq, it’s the first person to find him in the NBA city he’s playing in and touching him after he tweets. He recently visited my hometown, Portland, and put the tweet out for tickets against the Trail Blazers. It took 4 minutes for someone to find him and win the tickets. His response to his followers? “100 people n the prtland area just came for tickets wow portland twitterers r niiiiiice“…
I’d be remiss if I didn’t call out my current opponent, who is not ashamed of using the power of Twitter to gain an edge in his matchup. Fab Fish – this one’s for you…. way to game the system.
Somone has gone to a lot of work to find and verify accuracy of sports figures on Twitter, which they list in a spreadsheet for the public to see. Who will you follow?
I’ve often said that if I could get SportsCenter and the plethora of sports I watch through my PC, I’d ditch my paid TV subscription. From what I can see – we are getting closer and closer to that. Last year we saw NBC broadcast their Sunday night games with the option of several different camera angles that allows you, the fan, to customize your viewing experience. Major League Baseball has come up with much the same play, however they have added features that make the offering even more compelling – like the ability to ‘overlay their favorite radio broadcasters onto the television feed‘ which harkins back to the days when families sat around the radio and ‘visualized’ the scene as Vin Scully would bring the game to life by his colorful commentary.
Perhaps the most engaging thing to come out of Sports and the Web is the social aspect. I follow Adam Ostrow of Mashable on Twitter and notice that he is as avid a sports fan as I am…. in a recent article, he posed the question “Can Social Media Get You to Watch the NBA Playoffs?“ He goes on to outline the massive social media campaign Turner Sports is launching in hopes of reversing the declineof ratings in the NBA’s postseason. Smart. The league and its broadcasters are embracing you, the viewer, with more access than you’ve ever had before. It’s made me a more engaged fan – will it do the same for you?