With the number of internet users worldwide having grown by around 70% since the last FIBA World Championship in 2006, FIBA’s online presence has become critical, as a key tool for reaching out to the largest number of people, in established markets but also in more and more remote areas all around the world.
Our corporate website fiba.com is thriving, seeing an average yearly increase in traffic of over 20%, with the many visitors having access to an increased quantity and variety of content. The editorial team has been enlarged, while the number of regular contributors is constantly growing and includes writers stationed on all continents, as well as some high-profile basketball experts and bloggers, ensuring a broad and comprehensive coverage of international basketball. Our function as a basketball news hub is growing with an average of ten news stories being published each day outside of top events, while this number swells dramatically during competitions such as the FIBA World Championship.
The 12 million unique visitors we had for Japan will be dwarfed by the 2010 edition of the Championship, with fans being informed and entertained by an ever-increasing choice of text, photo and video content.
Fiba.com heads a large online family of websites that not only includes event sites, but also sites dedicated to historical and statistical data, sites set up for the purpose of sponsors and partners, a site designed for mobile devices, an online TV channel, while the revolution in social networking has resulted in many of the most recent additions to the family.
As of 2006, we have helped provide FIBA and FIBA Zone competitions with a website showcasing each event. 28 multi-languages sites have been created over the past four years, with a specially set-up template allowing high-quality pages, a recognisable branded feel, standardised way of presenting the information and, just as importantly, efficient maintenance.
The World Championship website turkey2010. fiba.com has been the biggest of these by some distance, whether in terms of traffic or in terms of content, and it includes Turkish, Spanish and Chinese versions as well the English language one.
Social Networks and New Media – connecting the FIBA with the basketball community
A small revolution began a few years back that changed the way many people communicate which is now widely known as ‘social networking’. Allowing individuals and groups to unite around common interests – in our case FIBA, international basketball and basketball in general – to interact, communicate and express ideas as well as opinions, online social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook have become an extremely powerful channels to engage with fan audiences.
FIBA became precursor among International Federations in focusing on social media and networking when it launched myFIBA, a community website that lets users set up their own web pages tailored to their tastes and needs, and interact with other basketball lovers.
FIBA’s Facebook page, which any user can sign-up to, has been running for more than a year and is still seeing membership grow rapidly. Each fan of the page is informed about any news posted on it, while they can comment and exchange opinions about what is going on at FIBA or at our competitions.
Actively maintaining the page, answering questions, correcting misconceptions or simply creating discussion and debate about basketball are becoming more and more important for us and are the focus of increased resources on FIBA’s behalf.
Our Twitter page, which sees members sign up to receive brief text updates on their computers or mobile devices, is followed by an already extremely large number of members. If a big story breaks, they will be made aware of it very quickly. Results are also communicated this way, and we can also remind followers about an upcoming game or event.
With FIBA producing a growing number of videos – especially leading up to and during events – our Youtube page showcases our most important content on the world’s most widely used video platform, making it even more accessible to the millions of online basketball fans.
While fiba.com and event websites remain the centrepiece for our online activities, the social networking and new media sites that we also manage have been identified as essential tools for building and maintaining the public’s awareness of and trust in FIBA as the sport’s governing body.
A new era – expanding online assets testimony of growth
FIBA was among the first International Federations to set up its own website when it launched fiba.com back in 1996 and a lot of things have changed over the years. Investing in a website hopeful of it opening up new channels of communication was not as obvious 14 years ago as it may seem. Even today, one of the big challenges when developing an online strategy is evaluating the return on what is a costly investment.
However, fiba.com and its online family is entering a new era as some of this return is becoming quantifiable. Indeed, with statistical data proving that the different sites run by FIBA are getting unprecedented exposure, existing and potential new commercial partners are showing a lot of interest in sponsoring pages, purchasing advertising space on them or teaming up with FIBA to provide specific services.
Current online partnerships
In 2009, FIBA launched FIBAtv, our online television service, which provides video on demand as well as live streaming services, with both free to view and paid packages available. FIBAtv also includes its own subsites for the five FIBA Zones (FIBA Africatv. com, FIBAAsiatv.com, FIBAAmericastv.com, FIBAEuropetv.com and FIBAOceaniatv.com). BEKO, the Presenting Sponsor of the World Championship has extended its partnership to present the FIBAtv on-line TV platform.
Chinese online giants Tencent QQ have been working with FIBA since 2006 to manage the official Chinese language versions of the FIBA World Championship website and fiba.com, opening up the world of basketball to QQ, while FIBA’s presence is guaranteed on one of the world’s biggest and fastest growing basketball markets.
Swiss watchmaker and FIBA Global Partner Tissot are sponsoring the countdown clock and live statistics on the FIBA World Championship website, highlighting their status as FIBA’s official timekeeper.
Another global partner, telecommunications giant Nokia, has teamed up with FIBA to produce ‘Bball’, a basketball application for Nokia mobile devices that allows users to easily access news videos and live results, while it also includes games and quizzes, in addition to managing the FIBA and World Championship websites.
Gaming company bwin has developed a free ‘Pick the Score’ World Championship prediction game that will be accessible to visitors of the World Championship site.
Above are but a few examples of how FIBA is rapidly expanding the commercialisation of its online assets, bringing our web-based activities into a whole new era.
Key Facts & Figures