In recent years, the NBA has built a reputation for being aggressive with its adoption of new technologies, and was one of the first sporting leagues to fully embrace social media.
According to Bryan Perez, senior vice president and general manager of NBA Digital, by the end of last season, the NBA, its teams and players had accumulated close to 120 million followers and fans combined across Twitter and Facebook.
After a highly entertaining 2010-11 season, it appeared that nothing could stop the NBA’s dominance of the digital landscape. But since July 1, the NBA’s players and owners have been locked in a 5 month battle over money, and apparently fans have had enough.
With collective bargaining talks breaking down last week, and fans sick of watching billionaires and millionaires squabbling over how to share revenue, one fan started the #unfollowNBA hashtag movement.
For as long NBA lockout persists, fans are being given an opportunity to express their displeasure by unfollowing everyone who relates to this decision in some way – namely the players, executives and owners.
With the NBA crediting social media’s role in driving traffic to NBA.com and its video content, and the majority of its overpaid stars using their Twitter accounts to build their personal brand, it will be interesting to see how long will it take for all involved to realise that it is the fans paying $50 for the cheap seats and buying their favourite player’s overpriced shoes.