LA Lakers’ hall of famer, Kobe Bryant, had his remarkable career and final game celebrated by snapchat. The NBA invited fans (or anyone) to follow the story, providing a unique, if fleeting, experience. 100 million users were given a chance to see what one of sport’s greatest ever stars meant to his fans, from his own perspective.
From the outset, this might not seem that different from watching the event on TV. The box’s endless reruns, commentaries and ad-breaks surely convey a sense of what’s going on, but they lack the sense of personal involvement. Quite clearly Kobe is talking to an interviewer. Events are narrated by a commentator. There is an intermediary. And ultimately a distance.
Through the snapchat platform Kobe was able to cut this out. He spoke directly to the fans and shared exclusive shots from the court in almost real-time. A select few linked to the account could also share snaps from both courtside and the stands, conveying further the sense of excitement. Whilst fans of course could share their own experience with Kobe.
But then after a 24-hour period it was over.
Not quite blink-and-you-missed-it, but nonetheless transient and finite. Enough time to engage at your own leisure, but not enough that the moment lingers and two months later you are sick of hearing about it (consider the endless TV reruns). The NBA have tapped into a global audience providing a brief snapshot of one of its most poignant moments and capturing the attention of a worldwide audience. To find out more, log onto their website, subscribe to their channel go to some games etc. Clever no?
In the summer no doubt, the NBA’s snapchat story will be back offering insight into another of its more theatrical events. Just enough to keep you guessing and wanting to know more.
In a sport noted for its association with advertisers and acquiescence to commercial demands, (much to the annoyance of some its fans), it is somewhat unsurprising that they find themselves at the forefront of the marketing industry. However, through snapchat they have established a more holistic means of connecting with fans. Less abrasive than reels of ads and yet indulgent in that fans can send their updates in tandem with their heroes. One that is less grating and intrusive but more personal and appealing.
And it is ultimately more memorable, thanks to its impermanence and lack of subsequent reminders.