Unless you’ve been ignoring all forms of media for the past week, you already know that NBA’s Lebron James announced where he will be playing next season last night. LeBron’s event, dubbed “The Decision” was broadcast live on ESPN’s television channel and website for all the world to see. Some were saying it was not just the biggest decision in NBA history; but the biggest decision in all of sports history.
For months, commentators and fans speculated on whether or not James would stay in Cleveland. Vegas had odds on what team he would choose. According to Google, there were over 1,900 articles on the subject posted in the last week alone.
Earlier this week, LeBron (aka “King James”) created an official Twitter account. Within 24 hours, he had almost 200,000 followers. If you search Twitter for posts about LeBron, you’ll get a constant stream of results. His Facebook page teased the announcement and pushed people to sign up on his official website.
LeBron (and ESPN) used every tool available to build up the suspense and attract traffic for this momentous event. Whether you loved or hated the spectacle, and whether you were happy or saddened (or “betrayed” ) by the decision itself, you have to acknowledge it was a well-fueled fireball of hype.
LeBron is a business, a brand. This “decision” and the spectacle around it is just one example of how social media and the internet itself can be used effectively as part of a larger promotional mix. Some may argue that this whole show was just an ego trip, but it got everyone talking. And that’s what brand-building is all about.