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NBA in the UK: WePlay Brings Challenges, Chances and Social Media ROI

WePlay is doing an awesome job of showcasing the NBA's impact in the UK

WePlay is doing an awesome job of showcasing the NBA’s impact in the UK

This week, the social media marketing, strategy and analysis company WePlay released “NBA in the UK: Challenges, Opportunities and Social Media ROI” which is available as a free download from the company’s website,

The report takes an in-depth look at the NBA’s UK fan base in order to identify the opportunities and challenges the organization faces ahead of the Global Game in London, which sees the Atlanta Hawks take on the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, January 16 at the O2 arena.

With tickets sold out the event could already be deemed a success.

However, other challenges ahead for the NBA include reaching and engaging new audiences, sustaining conversation after the event, creating opportunities for sponsors and partners, leaving a legacy from the game and, importantly, driving revenue and ROI from social media efforts.

So how do you track revenue and ROI from social media?

WePlay Brings The NBA’s UK Impact To Light

This is the $1million question. And the WePlay report goes some way to answer that question.

WePlay have monitored the growth of all 30 NBA teams’ social media presences for a number of months, and this analysis – coupled with the company’s deep understanding of sports fan behavior – has allowed WePlay to develop their Fan Evolution model, which documents the basketball fan journey from casual to avid. This can also be seen on a commercial scale, from passive bystander to retained customer.

Both the Hawks and Nets are no strangers to London.

The Hawks took part in the NBA’s first ever preseason games in London back in 1993 with back-to-back games against the Orlando Magic.

This will be the Nets’ third game in London after playing the Miami Heat in a pre-season game in 2008 and taking part in the first regular season games in the UK with back-to-back games against the Toronto Raptors.

Though January’s event may be only one game in an 82 game season for both teams, it’s provides both the franchises with a one-off opportunity to extend their fan base in a new, valuable market.

What Do These Stats Say About The NBA?

The Hawks have 447,995 fans on Facebook; of which 2,217 (0.5%) are from the UK. The Nets, on the other hand, have 1,276,508 fans on Facebook; of which 5,491 (0.4%) are from the UK.

Share of VoiceThe reigning champion Miami Heat are unsurprisingly the most talked about NBA team in the UK with 31% of conversation. The Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs sit in joint second with a 10% share of voice.

Rounding out the top five are the Boston Celtics, who own 5%, and the New York Knicks sitting at 4% alongside their cross-city rivals the Nets.

However, the Hawks and Nets have a 2% and 4% share of conversation, respectively. This raises questions to weather the teams are actively expanding their reach within the UK or just waiting for the UK game to do that for them.

The NBA UK Facebook page currently has 73,416 fans, of which only 24,949 fans (34.1%) are actually from the United Kingdom. The NBA global Facebook page has 214,917 UK based fans.  This highlights huge growth potential for the UK page.

Check Out Your Team In This Awesome WePlay Report!

Check out the report to see where your team ranks in the UK. Included in the report:

  • WePlay Fan Evolution Model: how fans can go from casual bystanders to retained customers
    • The challenges faced by the NBA and the teams participating in 2014 Global Games
  • The impact previous NBA UK events have had on social media and lessons from these events
    • Which NBA teams are currently the most talked about in the UK
    • The importance of leaving a legacy from the Global Games
    • How social media can help the NBA drive revenue

The report is available for FREE from the WePlay website:

Hopefully this report will shed some light to the NBA and respective teams to show how much untapped potential there is in the UK to grow their brands.

What do you think of the NBA playing games in the UK? Leave your feedback and comments below.

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