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NBA Finals: League uses social media to take fans courtside during finals in Oklahoma City

Post by post, in an extensive operation, the NBA uses social media like Facebook and Twitter to tell the story of the NBA Finals in Oklahoma City and Miami.
by Lillie-Beth Brinkman Published: June 17, 2012

Amati has to forecast what photo demands will be, whether people want to see player matchups like the Thunder's Kevin Durant vs. the Heat's LeBron James, celebrities who attend, key action shots or more. In Oklahoma City, of the 10 photographers covering the game high and low, he assigned a photographer just to take photos of the Thunder fans — with James Harden beards, painted faces and more.

“It's an enthusiastic crowd that brings it for the whole game,” Amati said. “I think the way the playoffs have evolved is that the building and the fans have evolved into their own separate storyline.”

It's a story line that more than 278 million people followed in Oklahoma City last week and will continue to Miami for this one. This number equals those who either “like” or “follow” NBA and related sites on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and other social media, such as the NBA Arena for fans on Facebook's Shaker site. That number includes those who follow individual NBA players and teams. In China, more than 52 million followers are active on Chinese microblogs Sina and Tencent. The videos on the NBA's YouTube channel have been watched nearly 1 billion times.

On Twitter, the NBA focuses on posting live updates; on Facebook, more conversation, Brenner said. The NBA's Tumblr site is designed for more evocative, thoughtful imagery from the games, such as Durant giving kids a high-five during a recent pregame warm-up, she added. The NBA's mobile apps for smartphones and the iPad, known as NBA Game Time and Game Time Courtside, have videos, statistics, news stories and detailed information.

“Anywhere you're interested in consuming some of it, it's there,” said Christina Miller, general manger of NBA Digital. “It's our role to bring that experience to everybody who's not sitting in those seats every night, for them to be able to feel that they've had a bit of access, that they've had a peek behind the curtain.”

by Lillie-Beth Brinkman
Lillie-Beth Brinkman is a Content Marketing Manager for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. She was previously an assistant editor of The Oklahoman
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