Youth basketball finds an online home on iHoops.com

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IHoops, the official joint youth basketball initiative of the NBA and NCAA has launched iHoops.com, the online hub for parents, players, coaches, officials and administrators of youth basketball programs nationwide.

The site, which launched on October 26, is powered by online sports community Active.com. Features of the site include videos, conditioning tutorials and message boards. Users are also driven to follow iHoops on Facebook and Twitter—where it already has more than 1,300 followers.

The NCAA and the NBA have donated $5 million each in promotional advertising inventory to promote iHoops on TV, online and in-arena. Because Active.com is a partner of ESPN, banner ads for iHoops will also run on ESPN's online properties.

Matt Bortz, director of content media management for iHoops, said a mobile app is currently in development and the company plans to launch it in December. “We want our audience to be able to interact with us even when they're not in front of their computers,” he said.

The site is also hosting a year-long contest in which users can upload sports photos and then vote on their favorites in order to win sports prizes like Spalding basketballs. One winner is picked a month. In order to submit photos users must give their e-mail address.

Bortz said this initiative is part of iHoops' strategy to build it database. “The goal is to communicate with likeminded users through outreach e-mails,” he said. “We want consumers to be comfortable communicating with us in a number of ways: through e-mail, social communities and other outlets.” He said iHoops will also send out special offers and coupons via e-mail that users would find valuable.

He said iHoops will also launch a YouTube channel later this week.

The site's advertising for TV, print and Internet were created by iHoops' AOR, VehicleSF.

Bortz said the site will be constantly evolving. “If you look at the site in a month or six months, it won't look the same as it does today,” he said. “We're paying attention to what our users want and how they interact with the site and will be constantly updating the content.”


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