NBA and WNBA “Bubble” Presents Golden Opportunity for Content
Professional basketball is officially on its way back after it was announced in early June that operations will resume this summer for the NBA and WNBA. Not only is this an opportunity for players to get back to playing professional basketball, but a chance to create new content, collaborate on social media with teammates and give fans an inside look given the unique circumstances of the situation.
In the NBA, the league owners and NBPA approved a plan that will see 22 of 30 teams return to action for a brief, eight-game finish to the regular season, plus a potential play-in tournament to determine the last seed in each conference. Following the regular season, the playoffs will begin in a traditional format leading up to the NBA Finals. This is all scheduled to take place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, located within Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. With teams making the transition to Orlando as soon as July 7th, this presents players with a chance to give fans a sneak peak of the preparation before the season resumes on July 30th.
Set to begin its season in late July as well, the WNBA has finalized a partnership with IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, to make it the official home of the 2020 WNBA season. The 2020 season will be highlighted by a competitive schedule of 22 regular-season games followed by a traditional playoff format. Similar to the NBA, the league is confined to a certain area on IMG’s campus, prohibiting travel and visits home like a normal season would.
The restrictions of the season’s “bubble” forces athletes to adapt from their traditional routines. Since they can’t travel in between games, and fan interaction will be limited with no fans attending games, those athletes with ambition can use their social media pages to give fans a front row seat that they’ve never had before. This presents players the opportunity to grow their audiences, collaborate with teammates and players from other teams and unique content creation opportunities for sponsored content.
Brands with existing endorsements of these athletes will get even more exposure given the containment of the season. Brands that have not yet attached themselves to NBA and WNBA athletes should use this moment as an opportunity to get involved with a sport that will be popular and captivating.
Those keeping an eye on the 22 remaining NBA teams will have the chance to see the chemistry between the players blossom beyond just the play on the court. People may not realize that the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is not just home to gym facilities, but athletes will be living at three resorts at Walt Disney World. With activities like ping pong tournaments, an NBA 2K lounge and movie nights planned, there should be plenty of entertaining content from the players.
Turning these unique face-to-face conversations into something compelling on social media can give those athletes with a smaller following a quick way to grow their pages and popularity. Fans love hearing the inside scoop directly from stars and the new environment will be ripe with stories to tell. Media will have less access than usual, giving the players the opportunity to control the narrative of the “bubble” from their perspective.