The social media-driven basketball tournament has upped the ante for its second year with a $2 million prize. Find out how the world’s first truly open sporting event has harnessed its popularity to benefit charity.
The Basketball Tournament (TBT) is an open-application, 5-on-5 single-elimination basketball tournament. It is driven by social media, with a grand prize of $2 million to the winning team. The teams can be compromised of anyone – most teams are former professional or collegiate basketball players. The tournament has 64 teams and each team builds its fan base through social media, and encourages fans to vote them into the tournament. Its unique set-up and program design allow for grassroots marketing to occur. Social media is an important component to the tournament’s strategy – from the tournament entry, to building a fan base, to its charitable efforts.
The teams enter into bracket play with four regionals: Northeast, South, Midwest, and West. This year, TBT is working with GoFundMe (a crowdsourcing site) and Big Brothers Big Sisters to integrate charity into the tournament. In each region, the final slot will go to the team that raises the most money in support of its local Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter.
TBT is an incredible example of social media’s power to engage fans around sport. With the new partnership, TBT is tapping into the proven competitiveness of its fans, and the tournament is effectively converting social engagement into donations. TBT’s model works because ultimately, if your team wins, its fans win too. It has created enough incentive that audiences are eagerly donating to charity in hopes of being part of the action. Most non-profits understand the difficulty of turning “clicktivism” into financial support. The Basketball Tournament is successfully converting all of its online clicks and engagement into donations for charity.
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