The NBA was looking for innovative ways to maintain fan engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic.


When the 2019-2020 season came to a halt, we started brainstorming ideas to help drive fan engagement both during the season suspension and the season restart.


For the past eight years, Wunderman Thompson Apps has worked with Turner Sports and the NBA to deliver mobile and connected device apps. These platforms include iOS & Android handsets and tablets, wearables including Apple Watch and Android Gear, and connected devices including Apple TV, Roku, Android TV, Fire TV, and Alexa.

When the season was suspended, we gathered over 70 ideas and synthesized them into concepts supporting video and editorial content (new ideas and new ways of showing historical content), contests and games, and activations. These concepts covered three phases: No Live Events, Games Without Fans, and The New Normal.


While games were paused, the NBA app featured curated historical content, and virtual content using real games from NBA2K. When the season resumed, the NBA app launched with new features including chat-based watch parties, trivia contests, and Tap to Cheer, which not only helped fans feel a part of the live game, but also lit up the arena with light and sound to support the players.

As a result, the NBA saw no loss of subscriptions and viewership has remained on a steady increase.

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