NBA Adds @NBA to the Ball

Big news out of the sports and social media world today, including this story on ESPN and this Vine clip below from the NBA:

While I do love stories that show the convergence of social media into more “traditional” elements of sports business, this one actually left me a little perplexed. On one hand, I see the “brand” value of this, for the same reason that the league puts the NBA logo on the ball (thanks @CatyTedman). But in terms of building and engaging fans via social, this is unlikely to have an impact for one key reason – NBA fans already know that they can follow @NBA on Twitter, as evidenced by they 10.8 million followers. The presence of a social media handle or hashtag in communications or marketing collateral is usually to drive action, so in this way, it doesn’t feel like a big story.

So what would have made this a big story to me? Here are some “out of the box” ideas:

  • Put @Spalding on the ball. They only have 3,832 followers, so I bet they’d like some more and would probably pay for it. It’s not like their name isn’t already on the ball!
  • Put Adam Silver’s account on the ball as a “modern replacement” to the signature. Unfortunately, he’s not on Twitter, but it would be a really fast way to grow that account and give him a direct channel to engage with NBA fans.
  • Add a specific hashtag for this season, like #NBA2014, so that fans know it’s the official hashtag for all NBA talk this year. Now they have something new to engage around.

So what do you think of the news?