The NBA’s 68th glorious season is off to a roaring start and the storylines are coming faster than John Wall in transition.
Will LeBron James and the Miami Heat (the reigning MVP and NBA champions) continue their march to dynasty status? How long will it take for injured stars Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Kobe Bryant to return to their former powers?
And will anyone get dunked on in a more vicious manner than the way DeAndre Jordan dunked on Brandon Knight? There is plenty of hype around the 2013-14 session, which promises to keep us on the edge of our seats from now until the NBA Finals in June.
However, one of the more subtle headlines is how technology is changing almost every facet of the game.
While basketball is no longer bound to the 13 original rules conceived when Dr James Naismith invented the game in 1891, the digital transformation of the NBA over the last few years has significantly impacted how the game is played, consumed, advertised and much more.
With the aid of social media, online streaming and stats, lets have a look at how digital has changed the NBA experience.
40% of the 1,000 most shared Instagram videos (Instavids) last month came from brands.
The 15 second long Instavid format has only been around for a few months, but is already giving Vine a run for its six second-long money. We've discussed the respective benefits of each in this provocatively titled article Fight Club! Instagram vs. Vine.
It seems that brands have been quick to utilise this longer form media. The 150m incumbent Instagram users are clearly a major draw, as opposed to the still not inconsiderable 40m users on Vine, although it should be noted that Vine picked up all those users in just nine months.
It has often been said in filmic terms that if a story can't be told in 90 minutes than it's not worth telling. Try telling that to The Godfather.
However this certainly rings true on some level, especially in advertising where you're engaging with a customer or selling a product rather than telling a sprawling, expansive story of gun violence and enemy disposal.
Who does benefit from the longer format? For a customer it's good to keep things brief, nobody needs to sit through another colossal Thomson marathon, but conversely six second Vines may seem too short for the purpose.
Six seconds may be the prime length for our fleeting attention spans, but for marketing, this truncated length can be too much of a handicap to get a brand message across.
Perhaps, for this reason, the 15 second Instagram video is a far more effective method and may explain why there was a dip in Vine usage during its launch period. Let’s investigate…
In 2010, if you want to be the King of the NBA, you need to have a digital presence. That's what LeBron James is quickly learning as he ponders his current contract decision. The man currently known as the "best basketball player in the world" may be ending his reign as America's most sought after free agent on ESPN tomorrow night, but this whole process has shown how big social media's role has become in real-time events. Sports writers, fans and even cities have been immersed in the process online.
And now LeBron is deploying his digital strategy. He's got a shiny new Twitter feed (KingJames), a soon to launch website, and an hour long ESPN special to announce his decision. It may be the most elaborate PR strategy ever for an unsigned basketball star. Which leaves a question unanswered: Is he ready for people turn on him?