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How “The Last Dance” is inspiring the next generation of ballers

by Alex Halls Alex Halls

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  • Posted on Wednesday 24th June, 2020

Every so often a TV show becomes more than just that, impacting our conversations, our culture and our consumer habits. Think about just how many people now own a cheaply made plastic water bottle with their name emblazoned on it in pink writing just because some strangers in a Majorcan villa had one.

Netflix’s most recent bingeable, must-watch, docu-series, “The Last Dance”, about the one and only Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls dream team of the 90’s, is proving to be one such programme.

Released in April, the show has been streamed millions of times across the globe and engrossed a British audience, who traditionally aren’t that interested in basketball. This sparked our interest in just how much of an impact it’s having on our day-to-day, so we decided to dig a little deeper and the results seem conclusive. We’re officially a nation of ballers!

Let’s look at the stats, starting with Michael Jordan himself. Searches for ‘Michael Jordan’ were the highest they’ve been for over a decade in May 2020 – well actually, since Google trends data began! It doesn’t stop there, as the same can be said about searches for ‘Chicago Bulls Jersey’, ‘Basketball Jersey’, ‘Basketball Hoop’, ‘Basketball Net’, teammates ‘Steve Kerr’ and ‘Scottie Pippin’ and coach ‘Phil Jackson’.

It’s safe to say the UK got Last Dance fever in lockdown. So, how should we be riding the wave and use this newfound love of the b-ball court and its heroes in the world of social media and PR?

Well, we might need to act fast – search results, whilst still way above average, are beginning to slowly decline in June. However, all is not lost, there’s a newly inspired generation out there wearing jerseys, shooting hoops and walking around in Air Jordan’s.

Now is a prime opportunity to tap into this surge in love for the game, to dream up some innovative, creative and exciting campaigns on a sport that has long been down the pecking order in the UK. This has opened up whole new avenues for merchandise, partnerships and experiential activations that will engage with a new and excited audience, lethargic to the same sports and its stars.

There’s the inevitable boost it has given to Nike and Air Jordan already, which brand references and logos featuring throughout and even up to 100 times per episode in some cases! Their association with Michael Jordan and Basketball has been no secret, but they must be loving the new attention and resurgence in popularity. The same can be said for Gatorade who has also seen a huge spike in popularity since the show aired.

It will be interesting to see who else comes up with the goods, and which brands and companies do it best, as well as seeing if any have already set the wheels in motion on what could be the next major marketable sport in the UK – we’ve certainly got a few ideas we think might be a slam dunk!