It’s not easy to quantify a gut feeling. But it certainly seems, these days, that NBA basketball is a shell of its former self, both in terms of the product on the court and its mainstream appeal.
By one measure -- Nielsen ratings for the Finals -- the NBA is holding steady. The Finals consistently out-draw the MLB World Series, for one, but that’s hardly a massive compliment. If you really dig into the numbers, you’ll see that basketball’s popularity is still a far cry from its peak in the late 80s to late 90s, when the sport’s greatest legends dazzled the world with ability like we had never seen before.
The NBA looks to be holding steady, sure, but when you stop and reflect on the glory days -- it’s really just treading water. So what happened?
Picture this scenario. You’re online shopping for clothes or a new gadget. You find a great deal on a website you’ve never heard of and don’t hesitate to add the item to your cart. You navigate to the checkout screen. Without a second thought, you input your name, address, phone number, email address, and credit card number. You click Submit.
We’ve all done it hundreds of times, but we rarely stop to think about where that information goes from there. We don’t think about the hackers lurking and dredging for anything they can steal – looking to snatch your identity out from under you and sell your information to advertisers, open credit cards in your name, or make unauthorized purchases that you won’t find out about until a collections agency starts beating down your door.
For this reason, we need a way to know whom we can trust with our personal information. We need a way to know who’s going to take the necessary precautions to keep it out of the hands of ne’er-do-wells and thieves. You might think that you can trust your banking website, Amazon, the Red Cross, or other names you recognize – but on the web, it’s incredibly easy for hackers to impersonate people or organizations. We need a way to know for sure whom it is that we’re dealing with.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
We recently reached out to an industry contact because we wanted to use his firm for an upcoming high consideration / high value purchase (I’m being intentionally vague here). We've known him for a few years and he's always been a super nice guy. When we began looking at options together, he was friendly, knowledgeable, and made it clear that he'd take great care of us. Everything was going great.
And then the emails started.
The drip marketing emails. You know the type. They started trickling into our inbox, offering us all kinds of promotions we had no use for and consultations on products we didn’t want. He had added our name to some database, and now we were on the hook for every intrusive email his company wanted to put out.
Peyton Manning may be the greatest football player of all time, but not because he overwhelms opponents with his physical talents.
He’s renowned for his study habits and the way he rigorously breaks down opponent film. He self scouts. He works with position coaches to refine his already near perfect mechanics and his elite understanding of the game. So you’d think a player like Manning wouldn’t need structured practice. He knows the playbook like he wrote it. He’s seen every blitz package and every coverage disguise a defensive coordinator could possibly throw at him. He’s the gold standard at his position.
But the man shows up to practice the same way he did in his rookie year. He attacks every rep, every drill, every scrimmage as if it were the final play of the Super Bowl. He takes practice seriously as an opportunity to hone his craft even though he’s already a master.
He’s a living blueprint for what it takes to become great.
The living room has traditionally been the hub of entertainment for as long as anyone can remember. When Americans were promised “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage” back in the 1920’s, a radio in every living room would have fit perfectly in the infamous campaign slogan. By the 1950s, television became the new standard. Families would gather round the set top and watch “I Love Lucy,” “Gunsmoke,” “The Ed Sullivan Show,” or “Father Knows Best,” at the same Bat Time on the same Bat Channel.
While this model thrived for decades, as time moved on our habits changed and technology evolved. What was once the big TV in the living room has started to become the elephant in the room. This is true for both millennials, who are often more engaged on their mobile device, and marketers, who aren’t sure how to change their strategies to match the status quo.
Most of the discussion about this development refers to mobile devices as the “2nd Screen,” where viewers are using their laptops, smart phones or tablets while simultaneously watching broadcast TV. However, this designation does more to serve the needs of marketers and programmers than represent reality. While viewers are often engaged on their mobile devices while watching broadcast television, Googling facts or discussing shows over social, the 2nd Screen is more and more becoming the first screen for millennials in terms of viewing content.