The NBA is one of the biggest rights holders in the world, with fans spanning across the globe. When they came to town for NBA London, DMS & Tiger Films were on hand to capture all the action.
When the NBA comes to London every January, its growing number of European fans are treated to a true American spectacle. But with 1.3 million followers of the NBA UK Facebook page and only 20,000 seats available to accommodate them at The O2, engaging video content is essential in bringing the NBA Global Games London fever to the majority of fans that can’t get their hands on tickets.
With over one billion followers across team, league and player accounts, the NBA is dominating the social media engagement stakes predominately in the US. To replicate a similar level of success across the pond, the NBA chose London-based end-to-end digital agency DMS and its Tiger Films’ production team to be its on-the-ground EMEA video content team. Tiger Films provided creative ideas as well as the filming, editing and delivery of HD content right from the game’s announcement back in July 2016, all the way through to the post-game party. As part of this project, the NBA wanted to give fans as much behind-the-scenes and on-court action as possible as the Denver Nuggets beat the Indiana Pacers in both teams’ first trip to the UK.
A jam-packed schedule
With a core team of 17 working throughout the week, Tiger Films used two high-end Canon EOS C300 Mk II video cameras and a selection of Canon lenses to give them the flexibility to meet the ever-changing demands of the schedule. There was a real variety in content briefs, with day one alone involving the filming of a Jr. NBA clinic at The O2 in east London before shooting an Afternoon Tea segment with NBA Ambassador John Amaechi at the Landmark Hotel in Marylebone.
There’s clearly a demand from fans for exclusive backstage access, one video of the Nuggets visiting Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium getting over 400,000 hits alone. The NBA and Premier League crossover provided a particular win for engagement, with another 12 second video of Arsenal footballer Hector Bellerin doing an impressive on-court trick shot gaining another 400,000 views.
Ensuring a fast-turnaround
When it comes to speed, fans want access to new content faster than ever. Having a strong schedule of high-quality content to film is one thing, but this needs to be professionally shot and turned around quickly to grab, and keep, fans attention in order to maximise the buzz on social media.
Videos like John Amaechi’s Afternoon Tea round table, were shot during the day to be turned around and delivered first thing the following day.
Within twelve hours these were ready for pushing out over the various NBA social channels. Having two editors on-site at The O2 assisted with this, particularly on game day when the NBA content team could sit in the roaming edit suite to view footage and provide immediate feedback as it was being cut.
With A-listers filling the much sought-after court side seats, catching them as they arrive on the red carpet is an unmissable opportunity to document their excitement ahead of the tip-off and share it with NBA fans on social media. After a long evening of shooting, the final video was completed, approved and uploaded during the second half, before fans had even left the arena.
The post-game highlights package was produced in similarly impressive timeliness, with an editor working around the clock to ensure the final piece was ready to be distributed to news outlets the next day and of course posted on the NBA UK social media feeds.
Making use of new technologies
As one of the world’s biggest sports leagues, the NBA doesn’t shy away from testing new technologies to improve fan engagement. The weekend before the Global Games saw the NBA successfully stream a regular-season game for the first time via Facebook Live to fans in India and Facebook live was being used again in London to stream the game on the BT Sport Facebook page.
It therefore made sense to live stream an interview with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver that same week using Facebook Live for the first time from the NBA UK page.
The live stream had over 3000 comments and 380,000 views and was hugely successful.
Instead of the usual pre-arranged questions, the video gave the opportunity for UK fans to have their voice, and shape the conversation with what’s important to them, with topics ranging from the growth of the Global Games, to the special atmosphere at The O2 and even Brexit.
The NBA is widely regarded as one of the best brands at engaging its fans when it comes to any kind of content marketing. Activity around the Global Games is an excellent example of the latest platforms and channels that the league can use to do this and, with the help of DMS and the Tiger Films team engage an audience in the UK more than it’s been able to before.
Deputy Editor & Social Media Specialist