The Ball, a reality/docu series following a non-traditional basketball tournament, would fit well within basketball’s preexisting media structure, complementing elements of broadcast basketball while also bringing new, modern component’s to basketball fans.
- Sports betting
- Currently, “$150 billion is wagered illegally on sports every year in the U.S.” As the conversation around legalizing sports gambling progresses and the cultural engrossment of brackets and betting around tournament predictions continues, The Ball will offer yet another space for fans to engage with elimination/performance based predictions.
- Fantasy Leagues
- “Today, an estimated 59.3 million people play fantasy sports in the United States and Canada, with each player spending an average of $556 per year on league dues and online entry fees. Fantasy football has been a godsend for the NFL, driving up interest and revenue.”
- The market for fantasy sports teams are extremely large and growing every year, The Ball will be an opportunity to bring more attention to this activity by letting fans pick their favorite players to make the team of their dreams and acting as an additional source of income.
- Current landscape of sports/team-based doc series
- Shows like American Ninja Warrior and the newly premiered Titan Games demonstrate a hungry market ready and willing to consume physical-competition based reality TV. Sports
- Enhanced narrative
- As referenced in the previous point, The Ball will work to focus not only on the technical aspects of the game, but the personal journeys of the players and the teams. THis adds a whole new element of personalize narrative to enrich the weaker points of broadcast sports.
- Additionally, this fandom-building is a benefit to the NBA, the owner of the show, because it drums up pre-season viewership interest in talented players they may be looking to recruit into the league. Although we have yet to see this trend bleed into sports broadcast, the whole of the entertainment industry is has focused with new intensity on the need for original content. The Ball will be the first step for a sports league into the area of original TV content outside the format of broadcast/streaming games, both following and pioneering in the trend of entertainment conglomerates creating their own content.
- Fills a broadcast slump
- The NBA postseason wraps in June, with regular season not picking up again until October. NCAA College Basketball functions within a similar seasonal rotation, starting around November and going until April.
- The Ball will fill this content slump, airing between June and October, making up for the content gap that the NBA has in the middle of the year.
- New space for athletes
- For the athletes in college that don’t quite make it, to those in the league that retire or are looking for a second chance, The Ball will offer a new, unique outlet for them to showcase their skills
- Beyond this, is keeping with the new trend of athletes pivoting into entertainment (and other industries), The Ball would offer them a platform to build a viewership and a personal brand that would create a foundation for a broader career after the show and after their basketball career.