NBA CMO Henault: How the league added music and fashion to its bench strength

Day two of the Possible conference in Miami on April 16 is in the books, and among a series of interviews Digiday conducted with C-suite executives who took the stage, Tammy Henault, CMO of the NBA, shared some of the strategies that helped the association stand out from other pro sports leagues.

Henault, who also oversees the WNBA and G League, cited the intersection of sports and culture that the professsional basketball league has cultivated as a means to growing its global fan base.

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“99 percent of our fans will never get the opportunity to watch a live game, so they will interact exclusively with us on our digital products and digital platforms,” said Henault, who was attending her first Possible. “[We have] 2.3 billion followers across our league team and player accounts — it’s just massive the … share of volume of people we’re able to reach at any given time. It’s also fueled our global growth and fandom.”

Henault said that in-season innovations like this year’s in-season tournament — which she noted is already rebranded for next year as the Emirates NBA Cup — drew inspiration from some other overseas leagues.

“The NBA in and of itself is a lifestyle brand at its core,” she said, noting the NBA will be present at Coachella as a brand. “We’re a content company, we’re a media company and entertainment company, and the brand itself is a lifestyle brand. It attracts organic followings amongst people in music, and celebrities and talent — people who are just genuine fans. And then our players have their own artists and musicians that they’re into. So it just creates a natural relationship.”

Even fashion has taken root as an extension of how the NBA intertwines with culture, she added. “The tunnel has become the new runway.”

Here’s the full interview with Henault:

Other interviews at Possible Day 2:

Molly Battin, SVP and CMO of The Home Depot

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