Sunday’s NBA free agency “opening day” was every bit the frenzy it was expected to be—and more. Where players ended up—principally, the Nets’ scoring both Kyrie Irving and the injured Kevin Durant on huge contracts—may have been a surprise, but as reporters, teams and the players themselves have more direct access to reach fans than ever before, the way the news broke was not a shock.
Columbia University professor and strategic communications expert Joe Favorito broke down how the story was told and some of the ways various entities use their platforms in this blog post today.
A few excerpts:
Then we have the end of June 2019 as NBA Free Agency dawns, and Kevin Durant sets his sites on where he will settle next. The news, while first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, did really become official until KD’s camp spoke. And where was the message finally delivered? Not on Durant’s personal social media outlets, it was delivered on the Instagram page of The Boardroom”, Durant’s relatively new show/media platform that is on ESPN +. As of the following morning, the simple static message generated over 780,000 views and over 11,400 comments, and became a news story in itself on a quiet Sunday night. No message on his own Twitter feed, which has 17.7 million followers at all (and the deal is not yet official so it makes it hard to send the correct message). All traffic, most of it probably new, driven to “The Boardroom.”
Now as free agency plays out this week and deals become official in a week or so you will see athletes using their channels to talk about their new destination, thanking former cities and embracing fans as we have seen in the past. What you may not see is the use of a third party platform to break news fast and first and so cleanly as we saw on Sunday night.