At a Raptors game a while back, we were struck by the energy of the crowd. It was very different than what we’d experienced at hockey and baseball games. Basketball just has a different “feel” than other sports. It seems younger, hipper and hotter. The NBA is doing something right.

Hang out with your core market

The first rule of marketing is to know your audience. But the NBA also knows where to find that audience and how to engage them. The league says its core market is 18- to 34-year olds.

Where would you find this particular group? On social media, which is also where you’ll find the NBA. Various teams’ Twitter feeds are full of pop culture references to hot hip hop artists and TV shows. You’ll find plenty of Vines of dunks, drives and behind-the-scenes silliness.

The end result is a league – and star players – that fans can relate to.