All-Star Weekend, the NBA’s 63rd annual mid-season fiesta, took place this past Friday to Sunday in New Orleans. The 2014 All Star Game happened to be the first one in 30 years for which the game ball did not bear David Stern’s signature. The Commish, as Stern was anointed, lead the NBA as its top dog for 30 years following several years of service as the league’s legal council. Arguably the best commissioner of any professional sport, David’s conviction, intellect, and vision make him worthy of high praise. Adam Silver, groomed by Stern and appearing to be the yin to his yang, had has autograph on the ball.
In the sports business, no one defines the term ‘game changer’ as well as David Stern. Since 1984, Stern lead the NBA from being broadcasted in two countries to 215 countries today, generated $12 billion for team owners, increased the average player’s salary from $270,000 to $5.5 million for 2013-2014, and grew the league’s annual television deal from $28.5 million to $937 million for the current season. In his first event since taking over as commissioner, Adam Silver was shuttled between his fair share of interviews. When asked how he will grow the NBA past the boundaries that David achieved, the first words out of Adam’s mouth were “Social Media”.
All-Star Weekend was a clear representation of Adam’s vision. Aside from the All-Star Game played on Sunday evening, the NBA created a whole weekend of events as well as an interactive experience known as Jam Session. Jam Session is fun environment for fans of all ages to enjoy non-stop, wall-to-wall basketball action where they can shoot, slam, and dribble as well as compete against friends in skills challenges and collect autographs from NBA and WNBA players.
The 2014 Jam Session was even more interactive than before. Fans received “NBA Jam Bands”, which are radio-frequency identification bracelets, presented by NBA partner SAP. The bands measured and analyzed fans’ basketball skills in real-time and provided fans the ability to share their activities at Jam Session via social media networks. While tracking data and creating content that was easy to share, the fun promotion also gave sponsors the chance to engage with potential customers.