The Washington Wizards’ marketing department is one of the better-run groups in the NBA. They won the NBA’s Team Innovation Award last April and the International Strategy Award last July. The latter award is noteworthy because Washington had websites in Japanese and Hebrew last year. Those sites are now not active. The Wizards also have social media accounts in all three languages as well as Arabic and written Chinese.
I’m thinking about the Wizards’ international strategy because forwards Rui Hachimura and Deni Avdija were used or targeted in proposed trades with the Phoenix Suns that were recently leaked to the media. Avdija was reportedly a target by Phoenix according to an ESPN report and which was spread on Twitter, but I haven’t heard his name elsewhere.
Whether Avdija’s name was said or not isn’t my biggest question because the Wizards market him and Hachimura to their home countries. Both are rotation players but aren’t cornerstones. So what happens if they are traded, whether now or next season? Will the Wizards’ international outreach be in vain?
Unfortunately, I think it will be a failed effort.
I expect some Japanese and Israeli NBA fans to remain loyal to Washington regardless of what happens. But my hunch is that the Wizards will ultimately let those accounts go dormant (or used sparingly) after the season where they are traded. And the Wizards will llet their content creators go at the end of the season.
Also, we see various international fan groups for a team largely diminish after a player is traded or goes elsewhere. That has happened with the Poles when Marcin Gortat was traded and with Czech fans when Tomas Satoransky left, twice,
The most potentially marketable international player for Monumental Basketball however, was Belgian national Emma Meesseman. It wasn’t long ago when Belgians’ favorite WNBA team was the Washington Mystics. We received thousands of pageviews from Belgium when Emma Meesseman played here for nearly a decade from 2014 when we started covering the team regularly to last February when she left.
Our website visitors from Belgium’s neighboring countries like the Netherlands and France largely read (and still read) our content for the Wizards, and largely didn’t care about Meesseman and her WNBA and Belgian Cats career. But the Belgians were all-in on Emma. They still read our site primarily for WNBA content, not NBA.
But anyway, after Meesseman signed with the Chicago Sky last February, the Belgians, except for very few, like Swish Swish’s Florian Madarasz, have joined the Sky bandwagon. Blog A Bull doesn’t cover Sky games like we cover Mystics games and that’s their right. So I imagine they’re on other places and social media today.
Our website views from Belgium have dropped, mostly because she is gone. But it may also because we have written some critical pieces on Meesseman’s lack of commitment to the WNBA and why she should have come off the bench in 2019 instead of started.
Going back to Hachimura and Avdija, what do you think the Wizards specific digital content staff will do if and when they are traded? How do you think fans in Japan and Israel will be overall? Let us know in the comments below.