Stephen vs. Sabrina: 5 Takeaways from this NBA Marketing Success

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In the evolving world of professional sports, it’s not just about the game on the court; it’s about the narratives that captivate audiences worldwide. This marketing technique by the NBA was eye-catching when they orchestrated a showdown between Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry and New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu.

The purpose? To settle a long-standing debate over who reigns supreme as the basketball world’s best three-point shooter.

This strategic move is also replicable for sports facility owners who can draw inspiration from the NBA’s playbook by recognizing the power of employee development within their teams. Just as the NBA seeks to settle debates and showcase talent, your sports facility can benefit from highlighting the skills and achievements of your superstar staff.

Stephen vs. Sabrina: “An All-Star Shooting Showdown”

The NBA All-Star weekend is set to feature a groundbreaking shooting showdown between Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and WNBA star Sabrina Ionescu, as announced by the NBA.

This event, titled “Stephen vs. Sabrina,” will take place during All-Star Saturday Night in Indianapolis on February 17, spotlighting Curry, the NBA’s all-time leader in three-pointers, against Ionescu, the reigning WNBA three-point shootout queen and the single-season record holder.

The match-up, which has been eagerly anticipated for months, was sparked by a conversation Curry had during a game, expressing his desire to challenge Ionescu after she scored 37 points in the WNBA’s three-point contest last summer, surpassing Curry’s best NBA three-point contest score of 31. Ionescu, having previously hinted at the challenge by mimicking Curry’s celebration pose, enthusiastically accepted, setting the stage for this unique competition.


5 strategies to help with your next marketing campaign

Strategy 1: Recognize the power of employee development

Sports facility owners can draw inspiration from the NBA’s playbook by recognizing the power of employee development within their teams. Just as the NBA seeks to settle debates and showcase talent, your sports facility can benefit from highlighting the skills and achievements of your staff.

Sports facilities can highlight the accomplishments of their staff, whether it’s organizing a monthly series of workshops or training sessions designed to elevate your staff’s skill set, offering opportunities for both learning new abilities and refining current ones. These sessions could be facilitated by external professionals respected in their fields or by standout members within your own team, promoting a culture of learning and knowledge sharing among peers.


Strategy 2: Highlight your staff members

Much like the NBA identifies star players for their three-point shootout, sports facility owners can identify key staff members whose development can significantly impact the facility’s success. These individuals should become the focal points of your narrative, representing the transformation from regular employees to superstars.

To effectively capitalize on this, facility owners should create a structured development program tailored specifically to these high-potential employees. This could involve advanced training sessions, leadership opportunities, mentorship programs, and exposure to new challenges that stretch their capabilities and foster their growth.


Strategy 3: Create engaging content

The NBA understands the power of storytelling, evident in how they present the upcoming showdown between Curry and Ionescu. Your sports facility can follow the same techniques by creating engaging content—interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and skill showcase videos—that brings the journey of staff development to life, capturing the attention and interest of your audience.
By producing engaging content such as interviews that delve into the personal stories and aspirations of staff members, behind-the-scenes footage that reveals the hard work and dedication behind their roles, and skill showcase videos that highlight their talents and achievements, can create a narrative around their team.


Strategy 4: Invest in staff development

Sports facility owners can generate excitement around staff development initiatives. Teaser campaigns, countdowns, and sneak peeks create a sense of anticipation, encouraging your audience to await the positive transformations within your team.

Launching a teaser campaign involves crafting intriguing, yet brief glimpses of the upcoming developments or success stories within your staff. This could take the form of short video clips, mysterious images, or QR code messages that hint at the progress and achievements without giving everything away. Such teasers can spark conversations and speculation, creating a buzz around what’s to come.


Strategy 5: Recognize your high-performing staff

Introducing an achievement awards ceremony is an uplift way to acknowledge and celebrate the hard work and accomplishments of your staff. By setting a consistent schedule for these ceremonies—whether monthly, quarterly, or annually—you create a culture of recognition and encouragement that motivates employees to strive for excellence in their respective roles.

The introduction of specific categories such as “Most Improved,” “Top Membership Sales,” “Innovation in Training,” and others allows for a broad recognition of different talents and contributions, ensuring that a wide range of skills and achievements are celebrated.



Exploring a new marketing strategy for your sports facility requires following a game plan, it’s important to understand how your team grows, similar to how the NBA focuses on settling debates and showing off talent.

By telling engaging stories through content such as interviews and videos, you can bring your staff’s transformation from employees to superstars. This will captivate your audience, making them interested in the story.

By using these ideas in your marketing, your sports facility is on its way to success as your staff becomes the driving force behind it all.

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