Bulls establish social media presence in China

Team works with NBA to join Weibo, world’s largest social network

Best described as a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook, Sina Weibo is one of the most popular sites in China with roughly 100 million messages posted each day. The NBA launched an official NBA Weibo account launched on Dec. 17, 2010, and since then, it has attracted 70 million followers, which is the most among all companies and sports leagues across social media in China.

In late 2013, the league extended the opportunity to individual teams to join Weibo, and the Bulls saw it as an opportunity to try and bring fans in China closer to the team. And on March 3, 2014, the Chicago Bulls, in conjunction with the NBA, launched its own Sina Weibo account.

The NBA views Weibo, which is used by well over 30% of China’s Internet users, as a way for the league and teams to communicate directly with fans and grow the NBA fan base in China.

“It is the ultimate source for breaking news, game coverage, and historical moments delivered in real time on the largest social platform in China,” said Matthew Brabants, Senior Vice President of Global Media Distribution & Business Operations for the NBA.

The Bulls Weibo page will allow Chinese fans to view content including game coverage, photos, team history, and background on the United Center, the team’s home arena. There will also be an emphasis on the fan experience and the city itself since many of the fans in China who view the content may not have opportunities to attend games in Chicago. Bulls content is primarily posted on Weibo between the hours of 7 p.m. and 8 a.m. CT (9 a.m. to 10 p.m. in China).

The Bulls Interactive Marketing team works closely with the NBA China staff on the team’s Weibo page. The NBA China staff currently manages the translation and basic game content and updates, and the team and league collaborate on overall content selection and strategy.

Chicago’s home game against the Houston Rockets tonight will be broadcast on Sina.com, airing at 7 a.m. in China. It marks the seventh time this season a Bulls game has appeared on Sina.com.