Snapchat is playing a significant role in helping the NBA entertain its young Z audience. Fan attendance will be limited due to Covid-19 at one of Atlanta’s annual All-Star Games. The NBA is one of the first major sports leagues to return to the All-Star Game, almost a year after the pandemic. In this All-Star Game, the NBA is looking to Snapchat to attract Gen Z users who have an interest in sports and use snapchat filters online.
“This is a pretty unique collaboration in the sense that the NBA can reach every corner of our platform,” said Anmol Malhotra, who is the head of Snapchat’s sports partnership. “They do a great job at this and help broaden the experience of casual fans, avid and not-so-sports fans in their league.”
“Innovative collaboration,” said NBA chief executive Sam Farber, describing the partnership. “We use all of the options and tools that are available in Snapchat. We see our partnership with them as something that will change the way we do business.”
How this partnership works
The NBA-Snapchat deal has been in effect for 7 years and was renewed last June. The revenue-sharing model is such that Snapchat shares NBA video ad revenue with the league. Snapchat announced that revenue from six-second video ads has more than doubled over the past year, but did not disclose specific financial numbers.
The NBA, in turn, is also engaged in marketing activities and at the same time pays for advertising on Snapchat. The league is looking to leverage Snapchat Discover channels to promote its content and customization for its Disney-owned ESPN media partners. The League also actively uses Snapchat’s augmented reality feature to promote its own content.
Generation Z, or young people in the 13-24 age group, are the main consumers of the NBA. Snapchat highlights that it reaches about 90% of the age group and about 75% of users between the ages of 13 and 34 in countries including the UK, US, and France.
“This is truly a new way to connect with our fans, and it is also one of the most important platforms for our young fans,” said Farber, NBA’s senior vice president of digital strategy and business development. “This platform is valuable to us because it helps us reach a hard-to-get young audience.”
The company also heavily relies on the daily NBA Highlights show and says the league-focused in-game viewership has increased by almost 24% in the 2020-2021 season. And at the 2021 All-Star Game, the NBA records as exclusive moments for Snapchat.
MediaRadar the advertising info company shared with CNBC that during the 2019 NBA season, about 190 brands were spotted in sponsored ads on NBA Snapchat Discover channels, including Call of Duty, State Farm, and Amazon. “Snap is helping to gain an audience that the NBA would not otherwise have received,” said MediaRadar CEO Todd Krizelman.
What’s next for Snapchat?
In the meantime, Snapchat is also investing heavily in AR, which is widely believed to be a technology that will usher in a new era of computing beyond mobile phones and smartphones. Snapchat introduced AR features back in 2015 and leveraged the NBA’s user base to expand it the following 2016.
The year the NBA resumed its season in the Orlando Bubble, Snapchat created an augmented reality lens that allowed all users to transform their smartphone screen to create an NBA court. The company also said that this particular option has been used by more than 19 million people, and it is also planning to release new augmented reality features for the NBA playoffs and finals.
In the NBA draft in November, Snapchat also sent about 30 gifts to potential customers, including various QR codes. When scanned, they allowed all players to immerse themselves in a virtual AR project. It has also become known that Snapchat could probably expand its Snap Minis product for sports leagues such as the National Football League to switch to contactless payment options.