The NHL has received some of its lowest viewership ratings since its first airing and their ticket sales have dramatically declined over the years. The NBA had lost its most historic player that seemed to devalue sports entertainment. By 2010, the gears finally started churning again and both leagues have exploded in followers. Contributing factors include fresh talent and a package deal with Comcast’s Xfinity, but I believe the missing link was social media.
The NBA and NHL have decided to play on Facebook and Twitter. Currently, the NBA Facebook page has reached approximately 7,500,000 ‘Likes’ and over 2,300,000 people following them on Twitter. The NHL’s Facebook page has gained 1,300,000 ‘Likes’ and 500,000 followers on Twitter. One of their most effective strategies they have implemented is the involvement of the top performing athletes. Allowing fans to feel personally connected to their favorite players has pumped life back into the sports industry. Now all Facebook users can have as-it-happens updates sent directly to their computers and mobile devices.
The question that surfaces is how will these leagues push ‘social’ to the next level. The NBA and NHL have reportedly been involved with YouTube to begin live streaming major games. There is a one-to-one ratio of people that find this to be amazing news and think that this will attract new customers and maintain relationships.
How do you think the contract with YouTube will change the sports industry?