By Ed Diokno
Perhaps more than any other sport, Filipinos love their basketball. No … they’re CRAZY for basketball. And it looks like the professional basketball team that has attracted their loyalty is the Golden State Warriors.
If there is any doubt that the Warriors know who to target on their Facebook page, take a look at these recent posts.
With 5.6 million “friends” on Facebook, that means over a third of the Warriors’ “likes” are from the Philippines.
Really? That may sound like miscalculation. Are Filipinos that much attuned to social media? The numbers appear to bear it out. According to figures supplied by Facebook, the Warriors’ audience overseas has grown from 45 percent international to 70 percent international in the past two years, measured by “likes” to the team’s home page. And it appears most of them are coming from their Filipino fans.
“The Warriors have transformed themselves from a local and regional sports team into a very large and truly global media entity on Facebook and Instagram,” said Dan Reed, head of global sports partnerships at Facebook. “In the last six months, the team has reached and engaged with more people on Facebook than any professional sports team in the United States.”
Well aware of their fan base and how popular they are in the Philippines, the Warriors reinforced that relationship last summer when the NBA’s MVP, Stephen Curry, visited the Philippines as part of an Asian tour,
The team followed that up with a Manila visit by five members of the 2015- 2016 Warriors Dance Team, including two of the team’s Filipino American members, Clarice Guido and Patricia Yabes.
And just a few days into the season when the Warriors’ record-breaking win streak was just beginning, the team’s first ethnic night was Filipino Heritage Night. One of the giveaways was a slate-colored t-shirt with the Philippine sunburst emblazoned on the front with the Warrior’s symbol of the Bay Bridge superimposed on the design. The team wore the shirt during their pre-game warmup.
Ed Diokno writes a blog :Views From The Edge: news and analysis from an Asian American perspective.)