Quick, guess which sport in Canada had the biggest growth spike between 2010-2012? If you guessed soccer – you would be wrong. Basketball is the winner: It had an increase in participation of 16%. Notice how hockey isn’t on the list either.
For anyone interested in learning how to achieve a higher level of engagement in their business, they should read the recent National Post (Financial Post) article where Dan Mackenzie, Vice President and General Manager of NBA Canada is interviewed.
As somebody who likes sports, and has been a longtime user of nhl.com and the Game Center app, the NBA seems to be taking things to the next level. Their multi-level strategy involves grassroots marketing, coaching clinics and more – an example of this was the NBA’s exhibition game between Minnesota and Detroit at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg this past year. It wasn’t a case of the teams flying in, playing, and hustling out of town as quickly as they could. Instead, the NBA came early, stayed for a number of days after the game and helped refurbish a local community center. MacKenzie commented: “We tried to leave something so that when the game is gone, people still remember the NBA was there.” The NBA has even got the branding down, and call the exhibition games the NBA Canada Series. Pretty clever if you ask me.
The NBA has increased its broadcast (includes Digital) revenue and its merchandise sales considerably over the past number of years. What’s next for them? They are continuously building on growing their brand in China and the Philippines. In China alone they estimate there are 300 million basketball players. How’s that for a number!
While very few businesses have the marketing cache of the NFL, NHL, and NBA, they are proof that nothing stays the same, no matter how valuable you think your franchise might be. You constantly need to evaluate new ways of promoting your brand to get year-over-year growth.