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The @NBA: First Pro Sports League To Promote Twitter On Official Game Ball
It’s no secret that the National Basketball Association loves Twitter, and Twitter loves the NBA. Consider the fact that, in this era where the National Football League is seen as the dominant sports league in the US, @NBA’s 10.8 million Twitter followers is more than 50 percent better than the @NFL’s seven million followers. It’s even more than the NFL and Major League Baseball combined.
The NBA says it’s the first major pro sports league to promote a social media handle on an official game ball, which is definitely true among major US sports leagues and probably true worldwide, too.
It’s interesting not so much as an attempt to gain more followers — every NBA player and pretty much everyone that will handle these official game balls already knows about @NBA and how to follow the league. It’s interesting because it’s not a Facebook URL or logo going on the ball. The NBA’s Facebook page has nearly 25 million likes right now — about 2.5 times its Twitter follower count. So the decision to put Twitter on the basketball speaks to the ease of promoting Twitter handles over Facebook URLs, and perhaps to some unhappiness with the ongoing challenges of Facebook visibility. (Remember NBA owner Mark Cuban’s frustration about having to pay to reach Facebook fans a couple years ago.)
All of this is a feather in Twitter’s cap.
You might recall how, back in 2011, the NBA’s Boston Celtics became the first pro sports team to advertise Twitter on their home court (or field/rink). NBA teams have also allowed players to wear uniforms during games with their Twitter handles — not their last names — on the back of jerseys.
I spoke with the Celtics’ Peter Stringer about the NBA’s ties with Twitter (and other social networks) during our SMX Social Media conference last year. You can watch that conversation if you missed it the first time around.
(Photo via NBA.com.)