• Loading stock data...
Saturday, March 2, 2024

How Twitter Has Changed the NBA Offseason

The platform has kept the conversation going 365 days a year.

NBA Twitter is one of the most exciting parts of the season. (Photo via DFS Report)

We’re nearing the end of perhaps the most exciting NBA offseason ever – but this isn’t something completely new. For the past couple seasons, there has been lots of talk about the NBA’s ascension into an all-year sports league. In addition, the growth in social media usage has coincided with the number of marquee offseason events — leading to a league that provides entertainment outside of the limited scope of its season.

Twitter has played a large role in this success, and in examining it, it’s important to look at the three major roles it plays:

a) improving the fan experience

b) a SportsCentre substitute

c) social interactions

Improving the Fan Experience

While the NBA product is immensely exciting to watch, it is a sport, that by nature (and design) has a lot of dead time.

The strength of Twitter has been its ability to occupy this dead time — improving overall fan experience (or consumer surplus).

If the only option presented to a fan is to watch a game, the average game’s utility curve (a fan’s enjoyment over the course of a game) could look like this:

Where peaks are experienced while fans are watching the game, and the troughs are commercial breaks.

However, if an option were presented to fans that could improve their utility at no added cost (ignoring the cost of ad consumption), the graph would look like this:

Where fans would check Twitter when the consumer surplus (willingness to pay minus price) of checking Twitter is greater than watching the game on TV. While advertisements are far from the only moments when fans prefer to use Twitter, it does serve as a useful comparison, especially since the utility gained by watching these advertisements is zero (at most).

Treating TV consumption and Twitter consumption as a bundle, this is obviously good for fans — but it’s also good for the league. Sports is a medium where a premium is placed on emotion (there’s a reason why brands will continue to sponsor sporting figures and events). This results in an improved overall consumer surplus, providing fans, leagues, teams, and broadcasters added value.


While Twitter has served as a clear substitute for SportsCentre when it comes to viewing highlights, its other, more subtle innovation has been the democratization and capitalization of sports analysis and journalism.

In the pre-Twitter world, sports analysis and journalism was dominated by journalists hired by networks such as ESPN. This meant that the barriers to entry were extremely large.

Since the advent of the internet, and blogging as a viable platform, barriers to entry were significantly reduced. But when Twitter became the one-stop platform to share and consume ideas, search costs were also reduced. Users only needed to scroll through the app to find content.

This led to the capitalization of sports analyses, where users were motivated to increase their Twitter followers and engagements in what effectively can be described as an unregulated market.

By extension, we can say that Twitter has exhibited the true beauty of capitalism: where collective competition surpasses the production of few.

The best example of the capitalization of sports analysis and journalism is insiders: where there is a heavy incentive to be the first to report stories.

Social Interactions

The basic network effect curve looks like this:

Users would consume where their willingness to pay for the service (orange), exceeds the marginal cost of using the service. n is the total number of people in the network, and n* is the equilibrium quantity. The short-term goal is to reach critical mass: where there are enough people in the network to sustain it.

The importance of this graph is to show the value that users will gain from social interactions on Twitter. Their willingness to pay is intrinsically linked to the number of users on their timeline, and users are usually benefitted with a greater number of users.¹

While watching sports, and especially when watching alone, Twitter acts as a substitute for real social interactions, where ideas can be shared and confirmed. A consequence of Twitter has been the filter bubble — but this also contributes to its value to fans.

Similar to competition, Twitter exhibits one of the best examples of network effects — which also act in a virtuous cycle. The more users, the greater the quantity of contributions and resulting quality, which again, leads to more users self-selecting onto the platform.

¹ Important Twitter caveat: Twitter actually neuters negative network effects by having user-curated timelines. Users can pick and choose how much content they want to see, and who they want to see. ^

Front Office Sports is a leading multi-platform publication and industry resource that covers the intersection of business and sports.

Want to learn more, or have a story featured about you or your organization? Contact us today.


Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Damian Lillard ESPN

McCarthy: ESPN Should Apologize For Fake Damian Lillard Video

The network digitally altered version of an interview Lillard did three years ago while he was a member of the Blazers.
Twitter X

The Spread of Sports Misinformation on X Is Increasingly Apparent

Some aggregator X accounts have come under increased scrutiny.
Twitter X

The Spread of Sports Misinformation on X Is Increasingly Apparent

Some aggregator X accounts have come under increased scrutiny.

Historic Rise of Threads Creates Big Questions For Sports

The meteoric rise of Meta’s Threads has presented a pressing dilemma for sports properties
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Jenny Cavnar is Breaking Barriers During Oakland’s Strange Season


Featured Today

Sheer Madness: What You Need to Know About MLB’s New Uniform Saga

MLB’s reworked uniforms have become a major source of spring training controversy.
Oct 5, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, points to the lettering outside of the museum Tuesday.
February 28, 2024

How Do You Keep Negro Leagues Baseball History Alive? Put It in a Video Game

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum attracting increased donations, visits from ‘MLB The Show.’
February 26, 2024

The Victor Wembanyama Rookie Card Market Hasn’t Matched His Hype

A cooling market and Fanatics autograph deal leaves big-money collectors waiting.
February 25, 2024

Sham Gods: The Rapidly Growing World of Sports Impersonators on X

Fake Schefters and Wojs, fabricated trade demands, and borrowed profile pictures.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers
The Adidas ball has changed over the years.

The Most Advanced Tech at the Women’s World Cup Might Surprise You

This year’s OCEAUNZ introduces connected ball technology to the women’s game.

Creating Fan-Centric Content With AI

WSC’s highlight automation improved the speed of ESPN’s content creation.

Rewriting the Sports Media Playbook

WSC’s highlight automation improved Clemson’s content strategy and overall growth.

How LivePass is Redefining Ticketing for the Next Generation of Fans

The next wave of ticketing technology.

Re-Imagining Storytelling With AI

Amy Anderson, Head of Content Strategy at NASCAR Studios, discusses the role of AI technology in developing and growing new content.
Arial view of Audi testing track
December 4, 2022

Audi Gears Up for F1 with Major New Facility

Audi is building a 10,000 square-foot building to support its F1 efforts.
Woman wears Meta Quest headset while working out to have virtual reality exercise session
November 22, 2022

Meta’s Plans for VR Fitness Could Hit Snag

A government agency is looking to block an acquisition by Meta.
Nike phone advertisement
November 15, 2022

Nike Jumps Further into Metaverse With Virtual Sneaker Platform

The world’s largest sportswear company is taking its talents to the metaverse.