Hoopers of all ages have been playing three-on-three basketball since the ‘80s, forming impromptu pickup games when only a half court was available. In 2010, FIBA, the world governing body of basketball, decided to take the game from black tops all over the world and organize it into a full-fledged professional sport. In just under a decade, FIBA 3×3 (say it, “three-ex-three”), has become a fixture in the Summer Olympics, and has attracted top-tier professional 3×3 talent to events in over one hundred cities around the world.
There are over 170 events during the year to be exact, including senior, U23, U18, and U17 divisions; in addition to the women’s circuit. The most important competition of the year is the annual FIBA 3×3 World Cup, featuring the top 20 men’s and women’s teams in the world, respectively, and the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Final, the culminating event of the 3×3 professional circuit. With such a hectic schedule, the task at hand for the league’s content team wasn’t exactly a layup. Their primary focus was to raise awareness around the new basketball discipline and build a loyal fanbase. To do that, they needed a solution in place to take all of the incredible action from games and deliver it to fans all over the world. They turned to WSC Sports to scale-up their content production, and to streamline the massive effort required to cover so many tournaments and events—many oftentimes taking place simultaneously on different continents.
Here’s how FIBA 3×3 was able to raise the profile of three-on-three basketball, and deliver it to the masses.
The Challenge: So Many Events, So Little Time
With so many events happening at the same time, the process of capturing game highlights, editing, and then distributing them to FIBA 3×3’s social media pages, website, and broadcast partners became unsustainable. The digital team relied on an army of freelance video editors based all over the world, so just managing the team and receiving the content in an orderly fashion was a challenge.
Adding a Personal Touch
The reach of FIBA 3×3 is simply huge, with over 150M households tuning in to games from over 100 countries. Having such a diverse audience means that the preferences of fans vary from one country to the next—especially when it comes to subject matter and language. Fans want to consume content that features their favorite players, with commentary and text that resonates with them. Knowing that, the digital team at 3×3 wanted to control these elements and distribute content to targeted audiences. But with no solution and a whirlwind of content coming in from events all over the world, they lacked the technical capability to deliver quality, short-form content to their fans.
The Solution: Scaling Content and Personalization with AI
In 2021, FIBA 3×3’s digital team adopted the WSC Sports platform to create and distribute more content and enhance event coverage. Streams are ingested into the platform where every moment is analyzed, tagged, and indexed, enabling the team to create a host of different types of content—like top plays, recaps, and matchups, in just a few clicks. Now the digital team can manage their massive amount of content and seamlessly publish to all of 3×3’s digital channels, including TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and the FIBA 3×3 website.
Within the platform, the team can search and filter videos by a variety of variables including specific teams, players, countries, and broadcast languages. The ability to easily find and segment the content they’re looking for enables them to add the personal touch they wanted. So if, for example, a Serbian team or player is performing well, the digital team can send that to a targeted Serbian audience to build some hype around the team. To elevate their content even further, 3×3’s digital team makes a point of embracing the crossover between basketball and hip-hop—a mainstay in basketball culture all over the world, but something that varies depending on the city and country. That extra layer of local knowledge allows them to add-in text and commentary that really hits home for fans.
Once a game ends, it’s the digital team’s responsibility to distribute highlights to multiple internal and external stakeholders. In addition to promoting content on their own channels, the league provides highlights to its broadcast partners to share across their linear and digital channels. They also serve other partners—like high schools and universities attended by some of FIBA 3×3’s younger players—so that the schools can build buzz on their platforms. Players are also provided with their own highlights from the digital team so that they can share them with their audiences—some numbering in the tens to hundreds of thousands of followers, including former NBA player and NCAA Player of the Year, Jimmer Fredette, and current LSU standout Hailey Van Lith. Even referees have approached the digital team for footage, preferring to review their performances using shortened game recaps created by the WSC Sports platform to raw streams.
All content packages are now delivered to partners automatically, removing any need for manually downloading videos, attaching them, and sending via email.
Results from the FIBA 3×3 World Cup 2023
Vienna, Austria hosted the top men’s and women’s 3×3 teams for the ultimate competition—the annual FIBA 3×3 World Cup. In terms of audience size, it was the league’s biggest event ever, attracting 27 broadcasters in over 48 countries and territories, in addition to streaming across 3×3’s digital platforms. While it was the Serbian men’s team and USA women’s team that hoisted the trophies at the end of the tournament, there was another victory being celebrated back at 3×3 headquarters in Switzerland—a massive win on the digital front in terms of fan engagement and exposure.
The collaboration between FIBA 3×3 and WSC Sports demonstrates the power of AI, its ability to help teams create content at unprecedented speed and scale, and deliver it to a massive audience. The sheer volume of content created from all of 3×3’s events is simply impossible to manage without automation. By using WSC Sports, 3×3’s digital team has peace of mind knowing that every exciting play from every event is being captured, using AI to make sure nothing is missed. WSC Sports also allows them to share content across multiple digital channels, that is personalized and formatted for any platform and any device. Unburdened from a heavy workload of manual editing, the team has more time to do what they do best—create more great content. The proof is in the numbers. Bleachers are more crowded at events, and 3×3’s following continues to grow and get more notoriety on digital.
To follow everything happening around the league, including highlights, standings, and upcoming events, be sure to check them out on social media, fiba3x3.com, and to tune in to the games during the 2024 Olympics.