Basketball has emerged as a truly international sport over the past two decades, due to the worldwide popularity of the National Basketball Association, which has served as a showcase for a succession of star talent with high profile personal brands (think Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James). Nowhere is the NBA's global audience more visible than on social media: some 50 percent of the league's Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube followers are located outside of the United States.
Beutler Ink was thrilled to team up with the NBA during the 2013-2014 Regular Season and Playoffs to produce mobile-optimized social graphics that would be seen by this massive global audience. We had handled data graphics for the league during the previous postseason, but our new role involved more day-to-day social content and tune-in enticements for big games.
A key component to our graphics' success was our distributed team arrangement and streamlined production process, which together allowed us to create rapid reaction graphics that capitalized on prime time match-ups and viral dunks. Beutler Ink will put that system to use again at the end of the summer when the NBA Global Games kick off the next season of NBA action.
The partnership was a huge success. Over the course of the season, we produced more than 160 tastefully stylized graphics that achieved peak social engagement levels across channels.
Our regular season graphics averaged nearly 55,000 likes on Facebook and 81,000 likes on Instagram. But playoff engagement numbers were off the chart. The "NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs" graphic that was posted immediately after the Spurs' Game 5 win quickly became the most viral graphic in NBA history. In all, the NBA's Facebook page received more total engagements during the 2014 Playoffs than the NFL, MLB, and NHL did combined in their previous postseasons.