By Devi Mahadevia, Evan Shugerman and Amy Hudson — Sports Partnerships

The 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend festivities in Toronto marked the first time the league had hosted its annual showcase event outside the United States, and the Facebook sports partnerships team was on the ground in a big way to support NBA with its social media activations.

NBA is a global league, with more than 100 international players on team rosters, and widespread appeal around the world. To reach its legions of fans in far-flung places, in a way that no other social media platform can, NBA leveraged Facebook and Facebook Live in creative, spontaneous and powerful ways throughout the All-Star break.

From press conferences and player interviews to practice sessions and Q&As from the Facebook Live booth, millions of NBA fans around the world were able to keep up with events in real-time, as Facebook became a live window into all of the action in Toronto.

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LA Clippers’ Chris Paul answers fan questions during a live, rapid-fire Q&A

All-Stars connect with global audience from the Facebook Live booth

Players made the rounds during the league’s All-Star media day, and Facebook had a presence on the media circuit to capture live, behind-the-scenes and unique content. NBA All-Stars had the opportunity to pop into the Facebook Live booth for quick, Q&A sessions. More than 30 athletes went “live” from the onsite, dedicated social space, swiping through questions on a tablet device during rapid-fire, 60-second interviews.

The roster of elite NBA All-Stars who participated included Thunder’s Russell Westbrook and Pistons’ Andrew Drummond to Pacers’ Paul George and Rockets’ James Harden. Fun topics ranged from players’ favorite pregame meals to their go-to dance moves.

Fans could Subscribe to Live and view the live All-Star content directly on the NBA Facebook page (www.facebook.com/nba) which has 28.5 million likes.

Players and teams also used 360 Video on Facebook to give fans an immersive perspective on their Facebook Live Q&As.

 

Facebook Live Featured Live Press Conferences and Player Interviews

For the first time, NBA fans had access to live-streaming of select NBA All-Star events through Facebook Live, including NBA Commissioner Adam Silver‘s press conference, along with coverage of pre- and post-game interviews with players for the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge, State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, and the NBA All-Star Game.

In October 2015, NBA Digital debuted Facebook’s first-ever simulcast of a live sports program featuring NBA Real Training Camp with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.  The NBA and Facebook first teamed up for Facebook Live during The Finals in 2014.

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Rick Fox interviews 18-time NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant LIVE on Nike Basketball’s Facebook Page

Nike Basketball tapped into Facebook Live to bring global fans an intimate interview with Kobe Bryant, ahead of his 18th and final appearance as an All-Star. Former teammate, Rick Fox, conducted the interview as part of Nike’s “Bring Your Game Live Presents” series, asking Bryant to break down his “Do What Others Don’t” lesson and other inspirational messages.

Clippers’ JJ Redick, took his fans behind the scenes with Facebook Live for shooting practice, to show how he was preparing for the All-Star 3-point contest.

Turner Sports and NBA TV provided fans with round-the-clock coverage of NBA All-Star Weekend with Facebook and Facebook Live. Over the course of four days, Turner and NBA TV produced 27 Facebook Live sessions and posted over 150 videos to various Facebook Pages, resulting in more than 65 million views. NBA TV’s Hangtime Podcast crew, Lang Whitaker and Sekou Smith, embraced Facebook Live with a dozen exclusive interviews with All-Stars including Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and more, garnering more than two million views.

Also embracing Facebook Live were NBA legends Chris Webber, Rick Fox and Shaquille O’Neal.

Yahoo sports NBA Insider and Editor of The Vertical, Adrian Wojnarowski, conducted interviews with NBA All-Stars and Rising Stars using Facebook Live and the Facebook Sports Newsdesk throughout the weekend. Some great talent came through to speak with Woj, including Thunder’s Russell Westbrook, Wizards’ John Wall, Raptors’ Kyle Lowry, and more. Woj also used Facebook to break some news, including word that Heat’s Chris Bosh had withdrawn from the All-Star game.

Woj also went live from his Facebook Page to interview the legendary Sonny Vaccaro.