Background

For international NBA fans who want stay in-the-know about the season, the NBA International “Marty” is a new product ecosystem spanning web, mobile, connected devices that will keep fans connected to up-to-the-moment coverage wherever they are in the world; unlike sites like Bleacher Report or ESPN, our product is the only way you can stream all the games live and catch highlights no matter where you are in the world.

Challenges

2015 saw huge changes in the sports industry, from daily fantasy to endless streaming options and the rise of platforms. As fans enjoy unprecedented levels of access and immediacy, brands and media companies are scrambling to provide experiences that reflect the new way we consume and follow our favorite sports.

In order to reflect the major shifts in fan behavior, NBA teamed up with design agency Ready Set Rocket to propel the league forward in its pursuit of the NFL domestically and soccer abroad.

“With so many new content streams becoming available, it’s up to us to create dynamic new displays for it all—so fans and users can understand and enjoy it.”
Brian Angiolet
SVP Consumer Products, Verizon
CES 2016

Approach

With the client’s early insights and market research, we kicked off the project by consolidating the fan types into four personas. These proto-personas also help created our approach to strategizing the design solutions.

Fan Persona Types

Behaviors
He watches as many games as he can, often more than one at a time. He follows her favorite teams & players closely while keeping an eye on the league as a whole. A heavy user, with a deep focus on statistics and data.

Motivators
• Uncovering insights
• Comparisons
• Trendspotting
• Fantasy
• Good games/performances

Key Use Cases
1. Complete Onboarding and Personalization – for easier
access to content he cares about
2. Switch Between Streaming Games – both manually in lean-forward mode and automatically in lean-back mode
3. Get Caught Up on Topics of Interest – via a customized home screen experience
4. Follow Fantasy Players – with simple integration
5. Get Alerts for Top Performances & Injury Updates – to
feel “in the know” and gain fantasy edge
6. Share Stat Comparisons With Social Network – quick posting of custom visual comparisons

Behaviors
A big fan of all things basketball. He played the game in high school and loves the technical aspects of the game, especially expert commentary. A regular user in season, driven strongly by team and/or player fandom.

Motivators
• Results/Highlights • Streaming
• Team news
• Transactions

Key Use Cases
1. Watch Game Streams Live and Off-Live – without fear of
spoilers if not live
2. Catch up on Highlights – of games recently completed
3. Switch Between Live Games – automatically in lean-back mode
4. Personalize Experience When Prompted – by app based on consumption patterns
5. Get Alerted When Good Games Are Happening – with ability to one-touch-watch the stream

Behaviors
He will watch games with her friends but primarily follows the NBA through clips and highlights on social media or blogs with stories about her favorite players.
 An irregular user, driven by players.

Motivators
• Wants something to talk about
• Sharing cool things • Gossip
• Voting/commenting

Key Use Cases
1. Share Interesting Bite-Sized Content – specifically
highlight supercuts, voting or social commentary
2. Complete Onboarding and Personalization – for easier access to content he cares about
3. Connect With Players On Social Media – to enjoy a part of the full NBA experience and stay “in the know”
4. Personalize Experience When Prompted – by app based on consumption patterns

Behaviors
He watches a few games here and there, gravitating to occasional good matchups featuring favorite players, All-Star weekend and the Playoffs. Intrigued at high points in season or by unique personalities.

Motivators
• Cultural touchpoints
• Following superstar players
• Larger-than-life-stories
• Great games/drama
• Record-setting performances

Key Use Cases
1. See Content That’s Trending – to pique curiosity and feel “in the know”

2. Enjoy Unique Experiences for Playoffs, All-Star and Draft – reflecting an out-of-the-ordinary experience

3. Catch up on Highlights – of top performances or trending topics

4. Get Alerted When Good Games Are Happening – with the ability to one-touch-watch the stream

Key Strategies

  • Deeper personalization
  • An enhanced game experience for both live and non-live fans
  • More dynamic, visual content throughout the experience
  • Radically simplified streaming game purchase flow

NBA International “Marty”

The solution aims to drive product loyalty with enhanced views for tentpole content and deeper personalization. It also establishes a foundation to create buzz-worthy and hyper-social new web destinations that give fans new ways to engage with league content while increasing organic and social reach.

Rich Live Content Experience
Create Lists of Favorite Teams & Players
Full Access on All Devices
Component Library

Release & Impact

NBA “Marty” was released in late 2016 to the international market outside of the U.S in both Apple and Android app stores. Eventually, NBA U.S adopted the same design and brought it to their customers in mid-2017.