NBA TV’s critically acclaimed roundtable show featuring host Ernie Johnson with NBA Hall of Famers Charles Barkley & Dominique Wilkins, NBA Champions Rick Fox, Steve Kerr, Kenny Smith & Steve Smith and Seven-Time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady aired a Fan Takeover episode that used social media to generate the discussion content for the show. NBA TV’s Fan Takeover episode of Open Court leveraged the NBA’s exceptionally social audience with the roundtable nature of the show to enable fans to connect with its legendary cast on topics they were interested in. To execute the social TV integration, we asked fans to tweet in their questions for the panel using #AskOpenCourt. We then used a social media search tool to scrape Twitter for the #AskOpencourt mentions, and sent them to the producers of the show, who sifted through to find the most compelling topics. Mentions of that hashtag received almost 1.5k tweets with almost 50 million impressions from enthused fans. The fan-centered show painted a different light on the casts’ usual banter, as they covered subjects that they normally would not have discussed; furthermore, it allowed our passionate fan base to connect deeper with our talent and get insight on how the guys felt about issues that ranged from decades ago to the present. The topics included those such as athletes they wish they had played alongside, coaches they wouldn’t want to play for, their most memorable shot, comparisons between players and various eras, and their favorite NBA cities. Some excerpts from the Open Court Fan Takeover episode are listed below: Tracy McGrady on whether there was a point in his basketball career when he thought about quitting: “Absolutely there was…my last year in Orlando, my fourth year there…we only won 19 games that year, and by that time I was looking to compete in the East, at least to get out of the first round; never happened. I’m frustrated, this is when they integrated zone, [so] teams are playing zone on me. I started off the season slow, averaging about 22 points… I even think I called Tyronn Lue to get MJ [Michael Jordan] on the phone…‘How do I beat this?’ I needed some help, because I was really frustrated. It got to the point where I don’t even want to go to the arena…I could have 30 [points] but we’d still lose." Kenny Smith on a coach he was glad he never played for: “Bobby Knight. I saw that letter. I didn’t even open it. I did not even open it." Charles Barkley on how LeBron James would translate in the NBA if he played in the 1990s: “I’ve been in the NBA for over 30 years now; there’s always been a player that you could compare somebody to. LeBron James is the first player that I’ve never seen another player that I could compare to." Kenny Smith on his favorite NBA city: “The reason that I like New York…playing in The Garden…you could get cheered; the opposition gets cheered. If you’re playing well, regardless of who you are [you get cheered]; the other thing is, they come to see the game. The show is the game." The night the show aired, our social team simultaneously tweeted out congratulatory graphics to the fan whose tweet was being discussed on air. This both increased anticipation around the authenticity of the event and socially rewarded fans for their questions that were selected as material for the show. Overall, the telecast received a lot of positive feedback, and we felt that it was one of our most successful social TV integrations.
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