Before the 2019 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament - aka March Madness - tipped off we blogged about why ‘Digital Professionals Will Be Watching March Madness’. Now it’s over - with Virginia beating Texas Tech in overtime in the Championship game - what did we notice in terms of the action on-and-off the court?
Aside from getting teary-eyed (like every year) at the ‘One Shining Moment’ recap this morning, it’s been a particularly interesting year from a social media and content perspective.
Increasingly, the social channels of the teams play a role in both elevating prospects into the national consciousness (and upwards to the NBA draft) and making the Schools themselves more attractive to potential new recruits (future players and students).
Here’s a breakdown of my four key takeaways from March Madness 2019:
The hype is real - College sports can always be relied upon to create a good hype video and March Madness was no exception.
Whether it was LSU’s ‘one game at a time’ which does a great job of taking fans inside the emotion of game day, Michigan State’s simple quick-cut countdown or Auburn’s pre-game walk-out video there’s a lot to draw inspiration from.
Stop-motion elevates big moments - In our role running the NBA’s European channels on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram we spend a lot of time focusing on how to maximise big moments from some of the biggest stars in the game to capture the attention of potential fans across Europe.
One way that a number of Schools deployed to make this happen was stop-motion imagery and GIFs. That could be as simple as Gonzaga’s use of GIFs to celebrate dunks, Virginia’s fresh approach to creating a recap video (using just photos) or UNC GIFing their way through live coverage.
Bring fans closer - a key weapon in any good Social Media Manager’s arsenal is to use social to give fans exclusive access to their heroes. College sports offers great opportunities for this with the perfect mix of digitally-savvy players and Schools wanting to make a splash.
Michigan State took us beyond-the-scenes to enjoy their post-game celebrations, eventual winners Virginia rolled-out a regular #Wahoowa feature which saw players fielding questions direct from fans and Duke even got the NBA’s next superstar Zion Williamson to take the mic post-game to review the games.
And finally... Emotion trumps all - deep-down the reason we all love sports is that it takes us on an emotional rollercoaster (the highs of the Championship win, the lows of an early-round exit) and helping fans feel this through content is a very particular skill.
That could be creating videos focused on the inspirational style of your coach, Duke’s clean and simple post-defeat video or taking fans on-court with you as you celebrate the moment of the Championship win!
What did you see? What have we missed? Let us know over on our Twitter.