UT NEWS & Updates

NBA & Social Media Integration v3

Posted by Team UT on October 28th, 2014   Interactive, Social Media, Sports Marketing

The new season tips off tonight, and we take another audit of the NBA to see how the teams are promoting and integrating social media on their websites.

Just like our previous reports (#1 – May 10, 2012#2 – Nov. 21, 2013) the focus of this audit is strictly on the league and team websites: how they promote and integrate social media on the website. All findings are based on research of team sites on October 27-28, 2014.


Team Key Findings

Total # of SM Channels Integrated by year:

  • Oct. 28, 2014 – 175
  • Nov. 21, 2013 – 181
  • May 10, 2012 – 143

Team Activation by Channel:


  • Flickr and Socialcam were removed from the list as Milwaukee stopped promoting them.
  • Snapchat joined the list with promotion by Golden St., Clippers, New Orleans, and Washington.
  • New Orleans and the Clippers joined Golden St. in promoting Weibo.
  • Memphis and Miami added Instagram so it joins Twitter and Facebook with promotion of all 30 teams.
  • YouTube lost the most promotion with 9 teams dropping it, followed by Pinterest with 5 teams.
  • Philadelphia dropped the most channels with 7 (YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, 4sq, Linkedin, Vine, and Flickr.
  • The Clippers added the most channels with 4 (Tumblr, Vine, Weibo, and Snapchat).

Teams Promoting the Most Activations:

  • 11 – Golden St., LA Clippers, Sacramento
  • 8 – New Orleans
  • 7 – Dallas, New Orleans, Toronto, Washington
  • 6 – Boston, Detroit, LA Lakers, Milwaukee, Orlando, Portland

Social Media Navigation:
Teams that included a social media related naming scheme in their main navigation dropped from 17 to 5:

  • Warriors – Connect
  • Clippers – Social
  • Heat – Social
  • Pelicans – Social
  • Raptors – Live

Social as Mainstream Content
Teams integrating social content into other sections besides a normally hidden social media sub-page:

  • Celtics – Video > YouTube
  • Pistons – Video > YouTube
  • Pistons – Video > Instagram
  • Blazers – TBTV > YouTube
  • Wizards – Team > Wizards on Twitter


  • Includes a Twitter Follow and +1 links in the top header, and Social Spotlight and NBA.com Pulse callouts on the Home Page.
  • Player Pages include a Connect module with icon links for the team’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ pages. Also includes a team-related (players, team, news) Tweet feed.
  • No changes to the NBA Pulse page.
  • Social Spotlight has added integration of Twitter with Instagram, and still shows only 12 boxes with no Load More or scroll option.
  • Removed the main navigation “More” tab that included links to the NBA’s social platforms. It was inadequate promotion before, but even worse now. No excuse to not promote the league’s social platforms with universal icons in the header.

Bottom-line when map out all the options that the NBA could be doing on the site, the integration is just completely lacking. No excuse.

Team Notes

  • Compared to the 2013 review, we noticed fewer features to showcase. In some cases teams just kept with what was working, but in many cases initiatives were removed and the creativity seems to have lessened this go around.
  • This past summer the NBA redesigned all the team websites with a focus on responsiveness.  It’s nowhere near as creative limiting as the MLB team sites, but the uniform look and approach has definitely  lessened many team’s social promotion and integration. Dallas is the only team to have their own unique responsive design, but sadly they are also now the only team to not universally promote any of their social channels. We noted in many cases the result is just old page layouts in a new housing (for example the Hawks SM Hub that has needed a new design for 3 years running now).
  • Also of note, despite the focus on responsive design, we noticed numerous problems with team’s main nav section rollovers getting cut-off:


Charlotte Hornets – #MJTakeover

Congrats to the Hornets for this SM promo with Michael Jordan – should make for a great Storify:


Houston Rockets, Washington Wizards – Hashtag
http://www.nba.com/rockets – http://www.nba.com/wizards/
Small detail, but the Rockets and Wizards were the only teams to integrate a hashtag (#Pursuit and #dcRISING) in their universal header. Checking a few of their SM accounts it was good to see they are both actually using them as well.

Memphis Grizzlies – #BuildMemphis
Grizzlies created a gallery to promote their Day of Service initiative on October 25th – nice way to tie social into recognition of community service.

 Miami Heat – SM Website Audit Lesson
Good reminder from the Heat to do a perioditic audit of the social integration on your website (all the touchpoints and links). The Heat promote their Goolge+ account, but it’s been 3 years since an update.

Milwaukee Bucks – Sponsor SM
Couple things to like about this: 1. Sponsorship and social media tie; 2. Using social media for website content; 3. Promotion of the sponsor’s social platforms – smart extra step you rarely see from teams with social & sponsor promotion.


Minnesota – Twitter Listings
Good example by the Wolves of a good Twitter Directory display.

Orlando Magic – Pure Magic Sweeps
Promotion by the Magic asking fans to tag images with #PureMagicSweeps for a chance to win prizes.

Portland Trailblazers – Feed Issues
 Blazers promote fans tagging photos with #WeAreRIPCity, but the feed shows images out of order.

San Antonio Spurs – YouTube Promotion
Including this because YouTube was the most dropped platform by teams (9) this time around. Granted it was in a rotational ad and not permanent, but it was still odd to see when so many others dropped it:


Site Sponsorship
Not SM-related, but congrats to these teams for integrating overall site sponsorship:


*For inquiries on how UnCommon Thinking can help improve your team’s social media integration strategy please contact us at info@uncommonthinking.com

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