Connect with us

Media

NBA and Turner Tap Facebook Watch for Documentary Release

“Something in the Water” is more proof of the league’s commitment to growing both internationally and digitally.

Greg Esposito

Published

on

Facebook Watch - NBA - Turner

The NBA, as a league, is known for three things: basketball, its commitment to the global game and a willingness to be at the forefront of technology.

This past weekend, those three elements collided in a beautifully constructed and fascinating documentary created by Turner Sports and their Players Only Films called “Something in the Water,” which premiered on Facebook Watch.

The documentary focuses on a group of talented and young stars from the former Yugoslavia — such as No. 3 overall pick and Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic — who are embarking on their NBA journeys, as well as the group of players from the region who paved the way for them in the 1980s and 1990s.

The plot is about family, struggle, hardship, war and the blossoming of one of the NBA’s most fertile regions for talent outside of the United States despite its smaller size. Stories like these are important for the league and its broadcast partners to tell because it showcases the power of the game and its transformative nature.

“The NBA is a global game,” said Craig Barry, executive vice president/chief content officer of Turner Sports. “We live in a diverse world and we need to speak in a diverse language that extends to global platforms such as Facebook Watch. The international game is having a big impact on today’s NBA, as seen with Luka Doncic going No. 3 overall in this year’s NBA Draft and Dzanan Musa also being a first-round selection. It was the right time to tell this story.”

While the NBA and Turner have more conventional platforms on which to air this documentary, a story of this magnitude deserves a platform with global reach.

Enter Facebook Watch.

The relatively new distribution channel provides a truly unique opportunity for the league and Turner.

“This platform offers an ability to create engagement around the content, to ensure fans can consume and interact with it while also having real-time conversation surrounding the subject matter,” said Barry, who also serves as executive producer for the Players Only Films series. “This is becoming more and more important as we talk about the importance of engagement metrics and there’s a robust, international community on Facebook Watch. We felt it was the best place to share this compelling story.”

One of the great things to emerge in sports since the advent of social media a little over a decade ago is its connective power. The fact that fans of basketball across the globe can discuss the game has helped grow it far beyond North America. That discussion has finally found its way to longform video on the Facebook Watch platform. It’s something that Turner and the NBA hope to tap into with “Something in the Water.”

“It’s 100 percent about the level of engagement with the content and to tell stories that resonate and drive emotional connection with fans,” Barry said of what will define success for the documentary. “For Players Only Films, our subset to the overarching Players Only franchise, this is also an opportunity to raise awareness for a fast-growing brand as we expand it to multiple platforms. Players Only is all about authentic storytelling around the players through their eyes – whether that is through NBA on TNT, NBA Digital, our social handles and platforms – and Facebook Watch offers a dynamic distribution opportunity for this content.”

The documentary is more proof of the league’s commitment to grow both internationally and digitally. It also will provide an interesting test case for sports content providers overall. If a longform documentary can find its audience and generate buzz via Facebook Watch, it very easily could signal a shift in the way we see content distributed moving forward. Whether it’s a bellwether of a shift in media or not, the documentary is an example of great content that transcends the platform on which it’s housed.

Proud husband & father to a young daughter. Student of social media & #SMSports. Social and Digital Media Columnist For Front Office Sports and host of the podcast The Solar Panel. Former Senior Digital Manager and voice of the Phoenix Suns social media channels.

Media

Golf Digest Back Charging For Growth With New Owner

Golf Digest is set to embark on its third ownership transition in its nearly 70 years of operation and all signs point to growth under new owners.

Avatar

Published

on

Golf Digest Discovery

Photo Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Discovery, Inc. continues its drive into golf with the acquisition of Golf Digest.

Discovery had already entered the golf space, attaining exclusive rights deals outside the U.S. for the PGA Tour, European Tour and Ladies European Tour. GOLFTV, an international streaming service launched by Discovery this past New Year’s Day, is in year one of a 12-year, $2.4 billion deal carrying the PGA Tour’s TV and streaming rights outside the U.S. Discovery also has global content deals with Tiger Woods and Francesco Molinari, using GOLFTV as its platform.

The bullish approach follows the trend of niche content in today’s media landscape. Discovery knows this firsthand with Food Network and MotorTrend. In sports, Discovery has had success with Eurosport and realizes sport fans crave consistent coverage.

READ MORE: The Caddie Network Partnership With Golf Digest Shows Power of Niche Platforms

“We’re looking to evolve our business and investing in content and genres that work for traditional and digital channels,” says Alex Kaplan, Discovery Golf president and general manager. “We learned from our experience with Eurosport Player, it’s very difficult to build an engaged fanbase when we offer multi-sport content.

“Let’s go deep into a specific vertical. Golf rights were available in an expansive way, and it’s not just compelling to watch, but fans play it, buy it, travel for it. It’s an ecosystem that was particularly compelling.”

The acquisition includes all brands under the Golf Digest brand, including Golf World, Golf Digest Schools and The Loop. According to the press release, Golf Digest attracts 4.8 million monthly readers and 60 million monthly video views. That’s along with its 2.2 million social followers.

This is Golf Digest’s third transition of ownership in its nearly 70 years of operation. All three have brought the media company different advantages, says Golf Digest editor Jerry Tarde, who’s been with the company for 42 years.

Tarde said The New York Times, which acquired the magazine in 1969, brought the basics and values of journalism, while Conde Nast, the owner since 2001, brought design, art and sophistication to the brand. Now, Tarde believes Discovery will bring growth.

Tarde, along with being editor-in-chief, gains a new title and role: Discovery Golf global head of strategy and content.

“This is an organization we’re at the heart of, in terms of developing sports and connecting with a high-value audience that’s passionate about the subject,” Tarde says. “This is the most exciting thing to happen to Golf Digest since it was founded in 1950. It lights a fire under us and gives us an opportunity to improve and expand U.S. coverage.

“We’ll also be able to extend it worldwide to more than 200 countries.”

On the other side of the equation, the acquisition gives Discovery a golf presence in the U.S. Kaplan said Discovery has been collecting its golf assets and knew an editorial vertical would be crucial, but it could take years to build. The Golf Digest acquisition allows Discovery to acquire that piece with one check.

“Our offering to golf fans and golf advertisers is now that of a global platform,” Kaplan says. “We can bring an aggregated golf audience anywhere in the world.”

READ MORE: GolfPass Could Set Standard in 21st-Century Sports Media

With a strong strategy in place, it will be business as usual for the time being, Tarde says, but there will be talk of new ideas and potential investments. Discovery will retain Golf Digest staff, continue the U.S. monthly print product and acquire global licenses for editions 70 countries.

“We’ve got a great team that’s been underutilized, really,” Tarde said. “Because of the way the publishing economy has been treated, our business has been in retreat. That’s now the way I spent my first 30 years. We were charging.

“This is the exciting part, we’re back on the charge.”

Like Tiger Woods on the prowl on Sunday.

Continue Reading

Media

Inside the XFL’s New TV Deals

With nine months to go until its first game, the XFL has locked in its lineup of broadcast partners for all 43 regular season games.

Front Office Sports

Published

on

Photo Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

*This piece first appeared in the Front Office Sports Newsletter. Subscribe today and get the news before anyone else. 

With nine months to go until its first game, the XFL has locked in its lineup of broadcast partners.

The deals will see all 43 games appear on either broadcast or cable TV and will see them divided up between ABC, Fox, ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 and FS2.

What do you need to know?

1. – 24 of the XFL’s 43 games to be on broadcast TV (13 on ABC; 11 on Fox)

2. – According to Joe Flint of the WSJ, the deals are for three years, but no cash is changing hands.

3. – As part of the deals, the broadcast partners will cover the production costs of the games, which John Ourand notes will run $400,000 per game.

4. – Disney and Fox will keep all the television advertising inventory for the games while the XFL will handle the selling of sponsorships in the venues, according to Flint.

Will we see a repeat of 2001? 

The XFL’s reboot will come 19 years after McMahon and company attempted to make spring football a thing. Like the AAF this year, the league started with a promising opening night and then sputtered to the end. By the end of its first and only season, the XFL saw its ratings fall from a 9.5 to a 1.5 at their lowest point, according to OSW Review.

While the first time around may have not gone as planned, executives from all sides of the table are enthusiastic about the possibilities.

“The effort Vince is throwing behind it with his own personal capital and the combination of Fox and Disney platforms give us the best chance to make spring football work.” – ESPN programming chief Burke Magnus to Joe Flint of the WSJ.

Rolling into upfronts…

The announcement of the deals couldn’t have come at a more strategic time for all parties involved with upfronts scheduled to begin in six days. Given the fact that the broadcast partners will be responsible for selling ads, it would be rather surprising if the XFL inventory wasn’t included in their presentations.

Last year alone, the television upfront market for commercials generated $20.8 billion in commitment from advertisers, up 5.2% from the previous year, according to an estimate by Media Dynamics.

Continue Reading

Media

Why Fewer Ad Breaks are Coming to the Super Bowl

Fox will be cutting back the number of commercial breaks for the big game by one, having only four breaks per quarter instead of five.

Front Office Sports

Published

on

Photo Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

*This piece first appeared in the Front Office Sports Newsletter. Subscribe today and get the news before anyone else. 

Next year’s Super Bowl might feel slightly different to viewers.

That’s because Fox will be cutting back the number of commercial breaks for the big game by one, having only four breaks per quarter instead of five, according to Brian Steinberg of Variety.

Fewer breaks, but the same amount of commercials…

Although Fox will be cutting down one whole commercial break each quarter, the four that remain will be slightly longer, allowing the broadcaster to still have the same amount of slots for advertisers even with fewer breaks in the action.

This isn’t a first for the NFL…

The league has been working with broadcast partners since last year to find new ways to deliver advertisements during telecasts. The initiative last year focused on delivering more sponsored vignettes and less “billboard” ads, a change that could be difficult at times for the networks seeing as in the past they have used the “billboard” inventory as bonuses to big-spending sponsors, according to Variety.

Why do they want to cut down? According to calculations from Streaming Observer’s Chris Brantner, the average NFL fan watches almost 24 hours of advertisements in a season.

Or other leagues…

As leagues battle for the attention of their consumers, making sure they give them less time to check their phone or change the channel has become a priority.

Earlier this year, MLB announced that it was planning to reduce each national commercial break by 25 seconds, NASCAR has been using split screen advertising since its days on ESPN back in 2011, and the NBA has done it with ESPN during timeouts.

Continue Reading

Trending