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November 28, 2018

Who remembers SlamBall? You know, SlamBall. The trampoline basketball league from the early 2000’s? For those of you who do, you’ll probably think back to a simpler time. A time before everyone had a smartphone and was on multiple social media platforms. For those that don’t, please watch this quick video below for a refresher:

Pretty exciting stuff, right?

Back in 2002, when the league aired its first live game on SPIKE TV, many believed that SlamBall would become the sport of the future. Who would doubt them? It was the perfect storm of hard hits, thrilling acrobatics, and, of course, massive dunks.

Sadly, things did not turn out as planned for SlamBall. After only 5 seasons, the league was taken off air in 2008.

Seeing as it is the 10 year anniversary of SlamBall getting taken off air, I wanted to pose a question:

Would SlamBall have found more success if it debuted during the age of social media?

In my opinion, the answer is simple: of course the league would have found more success! Social plays such a gigantic part in how we follow, engage, and watch sports today that it would have undoubtedly boosted the sport’s popularity.

For instance, take a look at the sport that is most like SlamBall: Basketball. It’s a perfect example. Through memes, gifs, and live tweeting, the NBA has drastically boosted their popularity and fanbase. Just check out their Twitter page. It has more followers then the POTUS!

Now, I’m not necessarily saying that if SlamBall was around during the age of social media that it would be just as big as the NBA. But I do think that it could have played a pivotal role in keeping the game on TV because of the way that live tweeting has, for all intents and purposes, revolutionized the way we watch sports and consume pop culture in general.

You don’t have to be in front of the television to know what’s going on or even be a part of the conversation. During NBA games, fans constantly tweet their instant reactions to what is occurring during the going, which only builds and strengthens the community around the game as a whole.

Examples:

Every game, it’s like you’re watching with your friends, and with this sense of community around the sport, you really feel like you’re a part of the action.

When asked in an article on The Washington Post about live tweeting during NBA games, a popular NBA blogger for The Ringer, Shea Serrano was quoted saying “To me, it’s becoming more fun than watching in real life with a bunch of people, I mostly like to be by myself. But this is a way for me to be by myself but also not really all alone.”

Who’s to say that this trend wouldn’t have translated to SlamBall? The most popular live tweets to come from NBA games are usually about posterizing dunks or making a defender fall and that is basically all SlamBall was! Seems like a perfect match to me.

Sadly, SlamBall was just a sport ahead of its time. One day I hope to see the sport makes its way back on to TV, and follow the hashtag #SlamBall trending on my timeline. I wonder if there are any other failed organizations or businesses that would have potentially prospered if they just had the social media platforms that we have today.

Can you think of any?

About the Author

Matthew Dennis

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