Women’s basketball can benefit from social media revolution for live games

In zijn meest recente column voor FIBA.com slaat Paul Nilsen weer eens de spijker flink op zijn kop. Het is te hopen dat clubs ook de koudwatervrees voor ‘verlies van recette’ laten varen en de kansen zien die er liggen. 


Women’s basketball can benefit from social media revolution for live games

NEWCASTLE (Paul Nilsen’s Women’s Basketball Worldwide) – If women’s basketball has felt ignored and shoved in a dark corner in past decades, the move towards live games on social media is an incredible opportunity to shine the spotlight on the female game.

For some people reading this, such a statement will seem both obvious and indeed for those at the cutting edge, almost out of date already. Such is the pace of change.

It is true that many women’s basketball leagues are only playing catch up and recognizing that the old battle of trying to persuade traditional broadcasters to pay for [or even just take] coverage is now over – at least for the grind of Regular Season games.

A lot of leagues are doing the smart thing. They are flipping the traditional scenario on its head and putting the product out there themselves, in order to attract new fans and hopefully some commercial investment.

Perhaps in something of a quirk to the way women’s basketball has been largely ignored and was a negative, it is now the case that women’s basketball has never been so accessible to so many people. That could be priceless for the sport moving forward.

Women’s basketball is not being hidden away on subscription channels, or sat in the bottom of a decision-making tray of a Television Executive who has not yet been persuaded whether to put it on the big screen.

🎬 C’est parti à @usombasket et @ESBVALM pour les 3 premiers matches de la 📺 A suivre en direct sur http://www.lfbtv.fr 

In recent months, the LFB has been showing free league games each weekend and that illustrates the points above, since France is a country where women’s basketball has been popular and well broadcast – at least in comparison to other locations.

In neighboring Spain, Liga Femenina games have been available for a while now on the website, but this has also been transitioned to showing action Live on Twitter which is a great move.

Every Wednesday and Thursday, EuroLeague Women games are available to view live and for free on the FIBA Youtube channel, while we look forward to more international action in next month’s FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2019 Qualifiers.

These are just a handful of examples of course and this is being replicated across the globe.

Importantly, it paves the way for a ‘mixed economy’ in terms of free provision and then hopefully getting a combination of subscriptions and national broadcasters involved at the business end of competitions when silverware is on the line.

The biggest tournaments and biggest games of those competitions, should still provide a chance for fans [many of whom have enjoyed free access previously] to realize that they do think women’s basketball is something worth paying for.

Or, for Television Executives to look at the engagement numbers on various social media channels and realize there is a market out there – even if it is modest. One that can also possibly be grown. Ditto for commercial investors and advertisers. Or in time, do league and clubs just benefit from direct advertising revenue on channels?

For me though, the central issues is that women’s leagues, clubs and those involved in the promotion of the women’s game don’t think that showing games on social media free-to-air is a panacea.

Was asked today about my hopes for 2018 – really simple.

1. More PASSION than ever in pushing and promoting the women’s game globally to get more people watching.

2. Learn new tricks in order to help with that!

3. Look to work with even more interesting new people too!

It is only part of the solution. Everyone still needs to get even more active in the promotion of the women’s game using all the channels. That is a group effort from the entire women’s basketball community. Social media is a powerful tool, but only through engagement and it is up to us all to give these initiatives a push.

Without passion for women’s basketball, even the power of social media won’t be enough. So, let’s all capitalize on the opportunity we have in front of us.

Paul Nilsen


FIBA’s columnists write on a wide range of topics relating to basketball that are of interest to them. The opinions they express are their own and in no way reflect those of FIBA.

FIBA takes no responsibility and gives no guarantees, warranties or representations, implied or otherwise, for the content or accuracy of the content and opinion expressed in the above article.


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