The NBA has a sixth man for this year’s All-Star Weekend – social media.
Arguably one of the league’s biggest weekends of the season, All-Star 2011 festivities get an added boost this year from heavy social media integration. Already, Twitter’s Trending Topics are dotted with NBA-related comments around the game and its accompanying side-show events.
The high-dollar attraction this year is the NBA.com’s “All Star Pulse”, a real-time look at the social buzz from the weekend. It’s sort of Trending Topics built for Facebook. Fans can visualize the social conversations or hone in on specific chatter based on topics, people and events from the All-Star weekend.
The NBA is reportedly using Facebook’s open graph technology to capture all the public banter. But not forgotten is Twitter, which is key not only from the aforementioned Trending Topics, but because of its prominence on NBA.com’s live Twitter feed, featuring tweets from players, writers and others.
Nice work by the NBA to integrate so well with social media. It’s a good way to pump up fan participation in a sport that’s seen declining ratings, attendence along with a growing lack of interest and player controversies, to name a few.
It’s still a pro sport, and on a weekend with few marquis matchups in college basketball, it’s arguably the most interesting of sporting events this time of year.
Personally, these new social tools do make for a more engaging way to follow along with the action – even if I’m not all that interested in a meaningless professional all-star game. Like most fans, the dunks and three-pointing shooting end up catching my attention – as well as generating buzz and Sports Center highlights.
The NBA needs a shot in the arm, and hitting Facebook and Twitter users with these interactive tools – right on the NBA’s main internet property – is a good move.
My only question – can they create the technology to make Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson each 20 years younger? Until then, the NBA remains pretty far down my list of sports worth watching.
Thanks for being a fan.