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Nicolas Chapart about FIBA digital growth - key learnings!
Nicolas Chapart about FIBA digital growth - key learnings!
Nicolas and Bryant
Nicolas and BryantLinkedin

SiS- Nicolas, thank you for being with us. To start with, could you tell us a bit more about yourself?

NC- My name is Nicolas Chapart, I am Head of Digital at the International Basketball Federation. I started my career at FIBA in 2003 when I was hired as a “webmaster” – don’t laugh! Nowadays I am in charge of the digital unit which is part of FIBA’s Communications Department lead by M. Patrick Koller. We are a small team of 8 people spread around the world to manage FIBA’s full digital stack and social media channels. Besides all this, I am 41 years old, married and have two kids!

SiS- You are leading FIBA digital growth, what are your objectives and therefore your missions?

NC-First and foremost FIBA’s digital unit is here to support FIBA’s vision which is to turn basketball into the most popular sports community in the world. Consequently, our digital strategy is led by the fact that we want to be fans at heart. We aim at producing highly engaging content which we distribute through the digital platforms/destinations where fans love to spend time – most of the time social networks. Digital is also taking an ever-growing space in the value chain that our Marketing team is offering to our commercial partners and we are obviously focusing a lot of efforts and resources trying to increase our impact in this area.

SiS- What are the main figures about FIBA in digital space?

NC-A recent social media ranking placed FIBA as the second most important International Sports Federation on Social Media in 2018, one position higher than in 2017 – while rankings can be very subjective we are obviously very proud of such achievement. From a content standpoint, we live stream more than 1,500 games per year on our social media channels as well as on our National Federations and media partners ones. We are targeting 100 million views this year hoping to continue the year on year double-digit growth that we have witnessed for the last 4 years. We also generated 1.9 billion VOD views last year across all our digital platforms. You can find more insights into how we performed in 2018 here.

Last but not least, this year is the year of our flagship event, the FIBA Basketball World Cup. For this event, we are targeting 200 million website visits, 2 million APP downloads, more than 10 billion videos views and a total of 25 million social media fans by the end of the year.

SiS- How do you measure FIBA digital work?

NC-For the past 3-4 years, our goal was to accelerate the growth of our fanbase meaning that we were primarily focusing on increasing the size of our audience (total number of followers) as well as our reach (impressions and video views). This objective was and is still mainly driven by FIBA’s vision as well as by the fact that we need to demonstrate to our Sponsors and Partners that FIBA can offer a way to reach a large audience outside of their core one. Things have involved recently though, while we are still monitoring the above-mentioned metrics, we define success more and more based on the level of

2018 Digital Highlights
2018 Digital HighlightsFIBA

SiS- For many sport right-holders, monetization of digital assets is key to their growth and complex, what is FIBA reality and your goals in the future?

NC-It is indeed both key and complex, also for us. While I believe, we have done a decent job at providing value to our commercial partners (and indirect revenues for us) by providing them high visibility on our platforms, we are not at a point where we can say that we are generating millions of direct revenues through our digital assets or content production/distribution.

Finding the appropriate business model is likely to remain a challenge as long as more traditional business models continue to drive significant revenues. We accept this, however, it does not stop us from testing innovative solutions we need to prepare the ground for the day the market decides to shift.

SiS- What do you think are trends in digital consumption? How do you adapt to such trends?

NC-There are three trends that we follow carefully and that have an impact on how we operate:

1. Fans are asking for engaging and personalized content: as people are facing an ever-growing amount of content offering, they are becoming a lot more selective with the type of content they want to consume. Therefore we have had to adapt our production workflows trying to answer this trend. This is where WSC has become a real asset as it allows a level of customization and scale like never seen before.

2. Facebook seems to be losing ground. This is something that we had anticipated and that will eventually happen to other social networks. While Facebook remains our strongest platform (together with Weibo) we know that it may come to an end one day. The definitely affect how and where we push content.

3. Cord cutting is happening faster than expected but fans are still watching live on TV sets. We are monitoring very carefully this trend and are currently discussing a lot internally about the best way to approach it. There is a real team effort here together with our colleagues from FIBA Media to ensure that our future strategy will fully incorporate such drastic change in content consumption.

SiS- What are the main technological improvements that are / will be game changers in your digital space (AI...)?

NC-This is a really hard one to answer. I am usually very cautious when it comes to giving predictions on where technology is heading to J. I love to be an early adopter but because of our reality I still have to be extremely cautious when trying to embrace new technologies – that’s the exercise that can be very expensive and that does not always give a good return on investment.

This said the biggest game-changer that we have witnessed this past couple of years is how AI has helped us improve and scale up our video production without having to employ an army of video editors. We’ve started to work WSC’s solutions back in 2016 and the impact was instant. In a matter of days, we could suddenly produce and distribute hundreds of bespoke video clips allowing us to flood the market with our content. This has had a hugely positive effect, expositing our content to millions of eyeballs not only through our own channels the also through our National Federations, Clubs, Players, Broadcasters and Publishers’ channels.

Now, to answer your question, if I had to put my money on one major technological improvement I would go for automated/cloud-based live production, from the video feed production to graphics production. I don’t think that this will play a big role for premium properties any time soon, however, I truly believe that once it becomes affordable because of scale and once 5G is available globally, it will dramatically boost the visibility of smaller sports properties.

SiS- FIBA has changed its competition format with Qualifiers and FIBA World Cup, what was the impact on digital growth?

NC-Game changer! As simple as this. We went from being able to talk about our flagship event only every for years to have a story to tell for more than two years thanks to regular windows where 80 teams are playing a meaningful game around the world. The impact on our channel has been instant. We have created dedicated social media channels for this competition and in less than two years we stand at almost 6 million cumulated highly engaged fans on social media generating hundreds of millions of video views. 

Most active Olympic Sports Fed. on Fb
Most active Olympic Sports Fed. on FbFIBA

SiS- This summer China will host FIBA World Cup, the draw was quite a success, what innovations are you working on to get the most of the event?

NC-The draw was indeed a real success – we managed to pull out a format that had never seen before! For those who missed it, have a look at the highlight video here.

Regarding the World Cup and from a digital standpoint we are currently exploring ways to improve the journey of the fans that will attend the World Cup in China. Augmented reality is a route while we are also setting up a fun and interactive digital activation that will run during the Trophy Tour starting in May. The only thing I can tell you about this activation is that it will attempt to break a world record, so stay tuned!!

Also, my colleagues at FIBA Media are cooking some really cool stuff on the production side – I highly recommend that you speak to them to get some insights.

SiS- How do you work with your FIBA members, National Federations, to support their digital impact?

NC-We have totally changed our approach to how we work with our National Federation and our players when launching the FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers in November 2017. We have fully incorporated them in the communication and promotion process of the Qualifiers and now the FIBA Basketball World Cup. We are in touch with all of them on a regular basis and provide them loads of content. They can use the content on their own channels and while it helps them develop their digital footprint, it also helps us promote the event deeper in each market – a win/win situation. We also provide access to a lot of free digital tools that helps our National Federations to easily create content for their social media channels or to enrich their websites.

SiS- Any other words you would like to share with SiS community?

NC-Get in touch! Love to hear about what others are doing and happy to share further insights into our digital activities!

Vincent Gaillard, CEO at EPCR - European Professional Club Rugby.Google
Jeese Lovejoy at Beyond Innovation SummitBeyond Innovation Summit
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