‘Ball in the Family’: The Next Phase of Digital

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The shows success is attracting opinions from experts across the industry.

Via Ball in the Family

We have known for months that the collaboration of the Big Baller Brand and Facebook was coming, but this week the launch of the show ‘Ball in the Family’ may be exactly what Facebook needs to up their game in the digital world.

If you have not heard of the Ball family, welcome to the entertainment and royalty of the basketball world over this past year. The reality show features father, Lavar Ball; wife, Tina Ball; and the three basketball boys, including Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball.

While many believed the show would be mainly laughing and making jokes, the first episode set the tone for some serious moments of their everyday life. Do not shy away though; it is clear the Ball family will still be bringing plenty of entertainment throughout the season too.

“What you’re seeing from the Ball family is the beginning a movement that will change the way we look at athletes. Young men and women all over the world are now realizing that athletes are brands too.” — Jeremy Darlow, Author of Brands Win Championships

With the stats of the first few days of ‘Ball in the Family’, it is the beginning of something special for the Ball brand along with Facebook. Taylor Sharp, Producer of HOOPS AFRICA brought forth some insight on what it could mean for both brands.

“It seems that everyone has something to contribute to the narrative surrounding the Ball family. In recent years we’ve been witnessing an ever-changing media landscape with many more platform options to distribute content, and Facebook putting out this series is yet another example of a digital media player utilizing original content to attract viewers. The Ball family is not likely to leave the public light anytime soon. This show will surely get people’s attention, elevating the Big Baller Brand’s ability to engage with casual viewers and changing the way certain sports fans will think of Facebook when it comes to their own content consumption.”

The first episode alone has received 4.6 million views in three days. This a huge step for Facebook in their plans of growing their content organically though their Facebook Watch feature.

Plenty of hot takes have been made around social platforms of the first episode, so I caught up with Digital Media and Public Relations Specialist, Peter Roumeliotis to get his take on what this means socially.

“This announcement about the new ‘Ball in the Family’ reality show on Facebook is actually a prime example of a disruptive technology. A very interesting media concept is the theory of second screen consumption/dual viewing. This is essentially the ideas where when you are watching a show or content on big screen, you have your phone with you while you are doing it and you are tweeting about a sporting event while you watch. You have two screens basically. This show, which will be on Facebook, is COMPLETELY eliminating one of the screens. You do not need to watch it on your television screen because it will all be on the digital device.”

Roumeliotis’ thoughts truly go back to the question, “How can we make content more user friendly for our followers?” Via a press release from the company that produced the show, this is a move that is a win-win for everyone involved.

“For Bunim/Murray, participating in the launch of Facebook’s new Watch platform and contributing to its video ecosystem is exciting because it fits with our long history of pioneering new formats and using our programs to help launch platforms.”

As I mentioned, the convenience in this day in age for followers is a big deal, but I am not the only one who thinks so, as I found out when speaking with Associate Editor of ‘ThePostGame,’ Jeff Eisenband.

“This is a long time coming for Facebook. It’s a must-see modern content on a digital-only platform. It’s essentially the first time you don’t have to tell your friends where to find a show on TV or YouTube. You can just share it on your profile.”

While Facebook Watch has been a venture they have explored, bringing in a reality family that already has a heavy following in many circles has been an early success. Eisenband brought up a great point on how this is more than just a typical partnership between two brands.

“The Balls are a great fit because their whole agenda is to build an independent brand from scratch. That’s what Facebook did. There’s no old-school corporate media partner necessary.”

It is early on, but it is fair to say that we could be viewing the beginning of the way we view many of our shows, not in TV, but digitally through our platforms.

This piece has been presented to you by SMU’s Master of Science in Sport Management.

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