Social media is transforming how fans experience sports. Let’s face it, what was once watched only on television is now viewed on a phone, and with the NBA’s videos being freely shared on Vine, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube, there’s little reason to believe we’ll ever move back to TV. The game is more accessible than ever. With the rise of technology and the advancement of electronic devices amongst the youth, people like their sports and the players accessible with the tap of a button. While baseball and football struggle to speed up their games in an effort to appeal to short attention span of Millennials, the NBA already has them in masses and is dominating social media. Each NBA team has a dedicated social media coordinator to help them stay relevant in the media and stay on the cutting edge of what is considered cool. It won’t be long before we start to see NBA teams beefing up their social media teams in lieu of traditional staffing.
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Basketball has become more marketable and watchable than football. The national anthem controversy, the resistance from the NFL to change or to be more open to having more of a social media presence, and an aging fan base are all factors that have contributed to its recent decline in popularity. The brutal nature of the sport is another reason people have stopped tuning in and parents are more hesitant to involve their children. Football has always been brutal however with the recent light being shed on concussions and CTE due to injuries while playing the sport, people are losing interest.
I think the NFL’s biggest enemy is another sports league: the NBA. Showboating has always been discouraged in the NFL. Cam Newton was admonished for being too arrogant when he performed his dab move in the end zone after a touch down. However basketball’s grass roots culture was built on underground mix tapes, crazy seemingly not human dunks, or hitting a three point shot in someone’s face. They even have a separate competition dedicated just to see who can perform the most outlandish slam dunk. Football just doesn’t have the same flair or cool factor, and it never will. Basketball players also dominate fashion, more specifically sneakers.
The NBA is currently winning against the NFL in global popularity. The NBA is doing a better job at being more inclusive. There are currently about 100 international players in the NBA. The NBA has an advantage over the NFL. The more profitable the NBA is that creates marketing fund advantages. That means more money to develop streaming advantages which is so important in today’s technology driven world and its more money to develop mobile device connectivity. The NBA has already gained that tech advantage and revenue growth superior to that of the NFL. That matters because American culture in sports and other industries will inevitably shift its mindset for the changing demographic. We are becoming more like the rest of the planet. The Census Bureau predicts that the United States will become a majority-minority country by 2043. Some will be dragged kicking and screaming. Some will never convert. But most will. As the NBA becomes more global, it will inevitably have owners and executives that understand the global fan base. Some of those owners and executives will be from the countries and culture that matches the global future of the franchise. We will adjust to seeing more diverse owners, more so in the NBA than the NFL and as we have already seen the globalization of the players themselves in basketball.
I just don’t foresee a future in which football can keep up when all the cultural factors make it so much easier to follow basketball. I believe the ratings will continue to drop, especially if there isn’t two huge market teams in the Super Bowl. The NFL will always be popular, but just like baseball yielded to what is considered cool, football will eventually have to pass the torch. I think anyone over 40 needs to start adjusting.
Social Media Sports. (2019, Apr 10).
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