How NBA Teams Keep Fan Interest Using Signs and Graphics

by Stephen MacKenzie

During the NBA season, millions of fans across the globe marvel at the high-flying dunks, buzzer-beating threes and clutch game winners. But behind the scenes, the National Basketball Association’s marketing and design team work tirelessly to bring color and creativity to the 30 teams that make up the league. Here are some of the many staple signs and graphics that help attract new fans and satisfy the old.

Court Design Crossovers:

Most people would agree that a blank beige court wouldn't exactly pop off the floor, so the team's marketing departments have to be creative to appeal to fans of all intensities. Great examples of this are the Utah Jazz’s recent throwback court design, paying homage to the Jazz of the late 80’s and 90’s, with bold blues and purples, and the retro Jazz logo. The Brooklyn Nets, on the other hand, Have looked to the future, swapping the traditional tannish brown with untraditional gray. Along the sidelines, The Nets also featured local Brooklyn artists with a colorful display and handwritten logo.

Utah Jazz Court Nets Basketball Court

High-Flying Team Banners: 

For loyal team fans, nothing is more important than hardware, from championship rings to MVP trophies. So when a team wins a championship, large banners are proudly flown high in the stadium rafters. Boston Celtics, the team with the most championships of all time, display large, simple championship banners to promote team pride and historical significance to fans in the arena. These banners help chronicle a team’s history, fostering loyalty and engagement among a fan base, leading to more ticket and merchandise sales.

Championship hanging banners

Jerseys and Jumpshots: 

Arguably the most noticed and discussed marketing aspect of the NBA, team jerseys are extremely important to grab viewers attention; they identify and represent each team. Whenever the annual team jersey designs are released, the reception of these jerseys can mean the difference in record highs and record lows in sales. Some of the most well-received and remembered jerseys include the current city edition Phoenix Suns jersey, with the silhouetted skyline and gradient sunset, and the iconic retro Detroit Pistons jersey of the early 2000’s, with the flaming horse and sweeping lettering.

valley pistons

Leapin’ Logos

NBA logos have undergone massive changes over the decades of the leagues existence, starting with cartoony hand-drawn logos in the 60’s, to the stylized detailed logos of the 90’s and currently with the minimalist simplistic logos of most teams. Logos are the team's identity and without a solid logo, it's hard for teams to sell merchandise and grow their brand. Great logos include the iconic Chicago Bulls logo, which is the only logo to go unchanged in its franchise history, and the simple yet eye-catching Memphis Grizzlies logo.

grizzlies logo

The detail and time that the NBA and its franchises put into promoting their brand through creative and detailed signage and graphics. From jerseys and logos to court design and banners, The NBA knows how to use visuals to attract casual sports fans looking to get into a new sport while keeping even the most seasoned of fanatics excited.