• Loading stock data...
Wednesday, June 19, 2024

How the Seattle Storm Social Team Pulled at Community Heartstrings

Seattle - Storm - WNBA

With 5:06 remaining in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals, Seattle’s Sami Whitcomb made a 3-pointer to put the Storm up by 13 points against the Washington Mystics. It was in that moment that Storm Senior Director of Marketing Kenny Dow knew his team was going to win the championship. He was seated courtside behind behind the basket, along with Seth Dahle, who was running the team’s Twitter account.

“In our scenario, we had all the graphics prepped, so once she hit that, we started prepping everything, and we were ready to go with the win,” said Dow. “We were taking advantage of what we were seeing from fans on social and at the watch party and getting that out there… It was a very fun experience, being able to take what happened in the arena and tell that story in a unique way and give content to our fans.”

In fact, Dow realized there was so much going on that he didn’t even have time to bask in the celebration.

“Looking back, you win, and Seth and I didn’t really take in the moment,” Dow said. “We just went to work, so it’s interesting looking back. In the digital landscape, you just have to go. We were just pumping out content for 45 minutes straight afterward.”

SEE MORE: WNBA Teams Find Success Through Creative Partnerships 

Even before winning it all, the team had high expectations. Heading into the playoffs, the Storm had the luxury of a strong regular season and thus high spirits.

“Being the number-one seed, we were confident,” Dow said. “We wanted to exude that confidence, partly to translate into ticket sales, and also to show content and be more bold, like ‘We’re going to win this thing.’… There was no reason for us to shy away.”

Despite the confidence, the Storm’s future came into question in Game 4 of the Conference Finals against the Phoenix Mercury. Sue Bird suffered a broken nose in the 86-84 loss, and the teams would face off in a decisive Game 5. However, Dow and his team were unfazed — in fact, they capitalized.

“The coolest thing we did during whole playoff run was something unprepared,” Dow said. “[Bird] broke her nose in 2004 and then won championship, so we went out with that digitally with an email to fans, quoting Sue saying, ‘I will play in Game 5.’ Through the mask campaign, we put that out there, and fans made nose bandages, and we had t-shirts available in the team shop with a mask on it that said ‘Legend.’ The ‘Fear the Mask’ thing took over.”

SEE MORE: New NBA Sneaker Rule Opens Up a Rainbow of Opportunities 

Bird came out with a vengeance in Game 5, with an explosive, 14-point fourth quarter as the Storm went on to earn a 94-84 win and a trip to the WNBA Finals. Throughout the rest of the playoffs and beyond, the legend of Bird continued.

“The ‘mask mentality’ became real, and fans owned it,” Dow said. “At the championship rally, Sue had the mask strapped to her pocket, and she had it at FIBA. We jumped on it and were able to adjust our strategy to focus on Sue and the mask. We even used a Batman quote.”

Dow’s work didn’t end after the playoffs ended. The Storm still had its championship parade and rally, and a number of Storm players competed in FIBA World Cup action afterward.

“We continued to hit the video content on social, and we did emails to people and got media involved and players doing media appearances,” Dow said.

Much of the Storm’s strategy during the playoffs and after the win was playing into the community aspect with its #WeRepSeattle campaign (which became #WeRepS3ATTLE to acknowledge the team’s third championship).

“Our messaging was #WeRepSeattle — bringing a championship home to Seattle, like ‘This is for you,’” Dow said. “A lot of teams talk about playing to that city mentality. We really own that in what we do as an organization. We’re in the community 12 months out of the year — we do so much community work. #WeRepSeattle goes beyond basketball. It’s very organic, and we feel that Seattle love between our fans and players.”

“What makes Seattle so special is its support for women’s sports and the WNBA, and it’s so apparent people love to play here,” he added.

Dow also mentioned that having other leagues in Seattle supporting the Storm meant a great deal to the team. The Seahawks, Reign, Sounders and the University of Washington all chimed in on social.

“It’s big-time, and the WNBA is big-time, and Seattle really proves that, which is exciting,” he said. “Everyone in our city supports each other. Everyone is supporting each other, and that helps grow our digital following, that crossover from digital teams.”

The fan connection with the players is what sets the WNBA apart from other leagues, according to Dow.

“The great thing about the WNBA and the Storm is that what separates us from other sports is that access to players and unique touchpoint with fans,” he said. “I think the key focus we try to think of is, ‘What is the content that our fans want?’ We try to look at analytics and what our fans are responding to and engaging with.”

[mc4wp_form id=”8260″]

Although the Finals and ensuing celebrations may be over, the offseason still brings content opportunities, so Dow and his team will continue to showcase Storm players. On top of weekly player profiles, they are promoting the players who are competing abroad — an Instagram takeover by Whitcomb, who is competing in France, for example.

“It’s about our players and telling the story of our players and how they’re developing their game overseas,” Dow said. “We’re building them up as basketball players and people, and creating that touchpoint for fans to get to know our players and get invested because our team is going to be around for a while.”

Linkedin
Whatsapp
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Caitlin Clark Continues to be Enormous Box Office for the WNBA

Sunday’s Fever-Sky game was the most-watched WNBA broadcast in 23 years.

ESPN’s Up-and-Down NBA Season Ends With Finals to Forget

The Finals are set to stay on ESPN through 2036.

Grousbeck’s Big Bet: Can Owner’s Spending Keep Celtics on Top?

The high-spending team faces more rising costs heading into its title defense.

The Celtics’ $600 Million Duo Fits Comfortably Under the NBA Salary Cap for Now

Boston has another year before its title core starts getting prohibitively expensive.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

The Major Implications of the SCOTUS Sports Betting Decision

0:00

Featured Today

Jan 3, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; General view of the NFL shield logo signage before the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field.

Odds Stacked Against NFL in Multibillion-Dollar Sunday Ticket Trial

Why the class action trial does not look promising for the league.
Jan 7, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter (11) takes a three-point shot against the Golden State Warriors during the second half at Chase Center.
June 9, 2024

‘Bound to Happen’: The Age of the Sports Betting Scandal Has Arrived

A banishment, betting scheme, and guilty plea all in one scandal-filled span.
June 8, 2024

‘Experimental in Nature’: The Rapid, Confounding Rise of Streaming Bundles

Here’s why confusion continues to outweigh solutions in the streaming package boom.
June 2, 2024

The Nostalgia Market: Michael Jordan’s Memorabilia Remains Coveted, With Caveats

Due to scarcity, and sometimes, items’ undisclosed whereabouts, this world has limitations.

Roger Goodell Rips ‘Below Standard’ NFL Network Broadcasts in Trial Testimony

The commissioner testified in federal court that NFL Network was subpar.
June 17, 2024

Why U.S. Soccer Fans Can’t Watch Some Euro 2024 Games on Cable

The small number of matches are exclusively on the expensive streamer.
June 17, 2024

Leagues’ Disclosure Demands Add Complexity to DSG’s Bankruptcy Exit

The bankrupt regional sports network operator makes an emergency motion for a discovery conference.
Sponsored

How HOKA is Reimagining the NIL Relationship

HOKA, the renowned athletic footwear and apparel brand, is betting on a new reality with NIL.
June 17, 2024

Charles Barkley’s ‘Retirement’ Could Be Last-Ditch Power Play

Barkley has always proved himself to be a master negotiator.
June 17, 2024

Stakes Rise in NFL Sunday Ticket Trial As Goodell, Jones Take Stand

Roger Goodell and Jerry Jones are scheduled to testify early this week in the high-profile case.
June 17, 2024

Tom Brady Finally Got in the Fox Booth for a Football Game

He’ll be the network’s top NFL analyst this season, replacing Greg Olsen.
June 16, 2024

Pro Football Focus’s Dysfunction Comes at the Worst Possible Time

On the surface, Pro Football Focus has it good.