Orlando Magic in Brazil
The Orlando Magic wanted to create a Brazilian fanbase, but their problem was that none of Magic’s players were considered superstars.
So Samba drew on legendary Brazilian footballers such as Neymar to create an emotional connection for Brazilian basketball fans and draw them into the Magic franchise.
This strategy – played out across numerous social media platforms – was a massive hit and created an army of passionate new Brazilian Orlando Magic fans.
Alou @NBA temos um fã do SHAQ e do IVERSON que tá super empolgado com a melhor liga de basquete do mundo, mas que infelizmente aqui no Brasil não tem NENHUMA LOJA que disponibiliza camisetas para crianças!@everaldomarques @romulomendonca pic.twitter.com/I1zd5PbJDy
— Lagôa (@miglagoa) January 16, 2020
The Magic aren’t a team which has established itself through star players. Even though there are legendary players in their past, like Shaquille O’Neal, Anfernee Hardaway or Grant Hill, the team’s current strategy is centered around an exciting, young team, whose personalities as well as their play is integral to converting new fans. So, the strategy we’ve taken is to focus on the players where possible, but to create as strong a link as possible with Brazil itself, starting with football, the country’s best-known export.
Magic é #NeyDeMoicanoNaChampions 🤝
— Orlando Magic 🇧🇷 (@br_orlandomagic) August 12, 2020
This engagement is a great example of that at play in the world of sport. While none of the Magic’s players are what would be considered celebrities, especially in the world of basketball, by drawing connections with celebrities who are not only famous, but specifically famous in Brazil, the team has shown a strategy that allows for a broader spectrum of engagement while specifically linking the team with famous Brazilians, such as Neymar, as above, or participants in Big Brother, the country’s most popular television show. In the below example, we linked the team with the popular participant Gilberto, drawing on his popularity as a way to boost engagement.
Jogo do Magic seguido de festa do #BBB21…
— Orlando Magic 🇧🇷 (@br_orlandomagic) April 16, 2021
We have also done well to draw on the history of the team — while players from the present don’t register as celebrities, players from the past definitely do, and by appealing to a “retro” set of fans, we’ve also created content that engages well. Here, we’ve stylized a famous moment in which Shaquille O’Neal broke a backboard with a dunk, imagining if Twitter, and indeed the account itself existed in the 1990s.
E se a NBAtt existisse nos anos 90? 😂 pic.twitter.com/usdUbI3AMi
— Orlando Magic 🇧🇷 (@br_orlandomagic) August 17, 2021
Finally, we have also emphasized an approach to foster community, whether it be sending a jersey to a young fan who painted himself like Shaquille O’Neal, or helping to launch a program to help underprivileged children in Brazil. This approach is common in the United States and in addition to advancing the idea of the team’s involvement, it also continues to develop commonalities with the way the teams portray themselves in the US.
Isso aqui é muito lindo. 🥺
— Orlando Magic 🇧🇷 (@br_orlandomagic) September 14, 2021
From the launch of the account in 2019, it has grown rapidly, accruing 20,000 followers but more importantly a high level of engagement, in which some of the best Tweets have shown multiples of the number of followers in terms of engagement, such as the Tweet featuring Neymar above. In this way, even as the number of followers has grown somewhat slowly, the team’s communication, ethos, and branding are reaching fans in Brazil with a unique voice that speaks to their everyday lives in a holistic way, spreading not only the proverbial gospel of the sport but also the team itself.