The NBA’s marketing machine is fantastic … While We’re Waiting

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“When’s the schedule coming out?” This was a text I received every few days since LeBron’s return to the Cavaliers. For weeks and weeks, many have been on edge. No official announcement came at first – the NBA had been said to want to delay the release to closer to mid-August.

Finally, there was news. The schedule was set to be released at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13 on NBA TV. The NBA’s marketing was brilliant. They had kept the free agency circuit on edge just enough to then kickstart an entirely new news cycle with the schedule reactions on their own network.

The Cavs schedule is pretty fun, all things considered. There’s the opener against New York. The Christmas game in Miami. In total, the Cavs are on national TV 29 times this upcoming season. It’s a staggering number.

There even were a few analytical storylines out of the schedule release. Kevin Pelton analyzed how strength of schedule doesn’t really change all that much. Ed Kupfer shared the number of games teams have against opponents on back-to-backs (Cavs and Thunder have fewest, unfortunately).

When I attended the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in March, I learned from the NBA’s John Abbamondi how the league really does collaborate with its teams on various marketing and sponsorship efforts. The collaboration seemed way more extensive than in MLB or NFL.

All in all, kudos to the NBA. For one night in boring August, they dominated the news cycle yet again with a silly schedule release. I know Craig wrote yesterday about his MLB as Microsoft comparison. There’s no doubt the NBA is Apple-like, they just dominate so well in everything marketing.

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News roundup:

Before the NBA schedule release, the Twitter accounts of the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets and Dallas Mavericks played a best-of-three game of hangman. It was a fantastic as it sounds, via FOX Sports’ Brett Smiley.

Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson is seriously the worst. No, not because he went to the pitcher’s mound during the middle of an intentional walk. But because of the Andrew McCutchen incident earlier this month. Grantland’s Michael Baumann was one of the many to write about how Gibson is just plain terrible.

Kudos go out to Analytics Game’s Justin Willard. He wrote two great analytics articles about the Cavs this week – one on how good they might be with Kevin Love and another on whether Love should keep shooting so many threes. Both served as nice complementary articles with my massive post from Friday. You should definitely check these out.

In Indians news: NumberFire’s Garrett Chiado made the case for Yan Gomes as the best catcher in baseball. … Let’s Go Tribe’s Jason Lukehart looked into Zach McAllister’s numbers to see what’s been going on. … Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Zack Meisel continued his look at the Indians analytics department. … SB Nation’s Mike Bates lauded the team’s privately financed stadium renovations.

In Cavaliers news: ESPN Insider’s Bradford Doolitte wrote about the upcoming Cavs-Bulls rivalry. … Steve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann analyzed the numbers on how rookies like Andrew Wiggins usually perform (spoiler: not good). … FiveThirtyEight’s Neil Paine argued that these teammates could be LeBron’s best support cast ever.

Finally, a quick note on how Mike Pettine’s no-huddle offense comments, via Browns.com’s Kevin Jones, reminded me of Chip Kelly. If you all recall, I wrote a long post last year about how much I adore Kelly’s numerical backing for his fast-paced offensive style. Pettine, known for his defensive acumen, is being pretty progressive with these comments. I’m digging it.

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A final word:

It’s kinda tough to muster up any drive to write about sports right now, ya know? It just doesn’t matter. I’ve always known sports don’t matter. They’re an aside to the realities of life. I enjoy them because of that characteristic. But today, and especially last night, life mattered so, so much more.

I’m talking about the events in Ferguson, Missouri. I know Wesley Lowery, the Washington Post journalist that was briefly detained. He was the editor-in-chief of Ohio University’s newspaper when I was the boss at the Dayton paper. He’s always been a superstar reporter. His first-hand reporting from last night gave me the absolute chills.

It’s frightening what’s happening there outside St. Louis. If you haven’t yet, please do read the article from Deadspin’s Greg Howard. It’s a fantastic yet also harrowing read on American society and the systems in place that led to this tragedy.

All I ask of you is that you stay informed, that you continue to be active and share the word about what’s happening in Ferguson. Too few people are being updated about this story because it’s not being broadcasted on television. The updates are coming from Twitter. The tragic photos – like this, this, thisthis and this – are being shared on social media.

The police have been trying to restrict media access and, like Lowery’s account, they’ve been trying to prevent documentation of the events. That’s not only incredibly illegal, but also downright terrifying as an American citizen. Please keep spreading the word. That’s all I ask today.

  • BenRM

    I read Greg’s article on Deadspin and it was very good. It’s important to remember that this happens in Cleveland as well. [The cops who shot at a car 137 times.] The point that when you start arming a peace force like an army, they will logically stop acting like a peace force was strong.

    That said, I could have done with less hyperbolic language at points. Then again, it’s Gawker, so….

  • mgbode

    Yeah, the hyperbolic language and the generalizations really destroy many of the points. It is really saddening that our society seems to continue to divide on issues where a vast majority likely agree.

    Also, Avengers-2 seems to be coming out at a topical time.

  • BenRM

    What’s the Avengers link? I haven’t read much about it yet.

  • mgbode

    Ultron storyline. Same idea from I-Robot and others. At a very high level: Man builds system to keep peace. Goes too far and peace-keepers decide they need to stop anything that might become less than peaceful. Military state established.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Hard not to be disgusted with all sides in this Ferguson case. Rioting and looting is not a response to (alleged) wrongful police actions, and only hurts other citizens. And the absurd arming of police departments as if every police officer is a highly trained SWAT team member is beyond insane, and scary.