Sarah Crennan, Vice President of DTC Content at the NBA, Focuses on the Fan
June 4, 2024

Sarah Crennan is the Vice President of DTC Content at the NBA. Sarah joined the NBA to build the content strategy and team for the relaunch of the NBA’s DTC products in 2022. Passionate about the crossover between content, technology, and consumer behavior, Sarah has a track record of building teams supporting the best in fan experiences. Prior to the NBA, Sarah was the VP & Head of Content for Yahoo Sports.  Sarah has also held roles in sports programming, business development, and content marketing across sports media and entertainment.

While the core of our experience is pretty intuitive, we place a strong focus on storytelling throughout the season and showcasing our players through a more personal lens.

Obviously we are in an increasingly digital world with little time and attention. How do you create content that sticks?

We’re in the live sports and entertainment business and fans have come to expect us to deliver real-time content on the devices they use most. While the core of our experience is pretty intuitive, we place a strong focus on storytelling throughout the season and showcasing our players through a more personal lens. You can almost liken it to the type of character development that viewers are accustomed to in movies and shows - how do we build out stories around players and teams as a season progresses? We’ve tried to push the envelope when it comes to content creation and our fans have responded positively, which has inspired us to continue finding opportunities to innovate.

What have you learned about content from running big media teams that might be useful for others?

Putting the fan first is key. We try to create content that resonates with fans and deepens their connection with their favorite players or teams – whether that’s a behind-the-scenes series profiling rising players or instantaneous game highlights.  We spend a lot of time thinking about how we can deliver content on our platforms that enhances the user journey. For us in the live sports business, the game itself and on-court action is the catalyst for everything we do. We have a schedule of games with designated start times and focus on building content experiences that support the needs of our fans and keeps them immersed in leaguewide developments year-round.

What’s the biggest challenge you think is facing entertainment/sports related businesses at the moment and what is being done to overcome these challenges?

I tend to focus on areas of opportunity. Everyone’s talking about AI, but it’s important to first clearly define use cases. The application of AI could be so incredibly powerful for the fan experience, but it should be done so thoughtfully. I’m looking forward to the ways AI can further immerse fans in the excitement of the game and the opportunities ahead to amplify our core content experience with thoughtful solutions.

Do you have one secret to your success?

I try to “play for the team” every day. So much of my motivation is in what we can collectively accomplish, a concept naturally instilled in me by competing in team sports the majority of my life. Everyone on my team has such a special and unique skill set, which collectively makes us an incredibly strong group. When we all focus on what we’re great at and “go for it”, we can make so much happen.

Who is a woman you admire?

I admire so many women! Right now at the top of my list is Monica McNutt. I think she’s doing an amazing job with her analysis across the NBA and WNBA. I’m so impressed by how she’s able to show up across media and come with a really strong, thoughtful perspective. She’s such a fantastic example for others trying to find their own voices as analysts.

What’s one thing you can’t live without?

My group chat with my high school besties.
English Breakfast tea with a splash of milk.
Both equally needed.

What is one big trend you’re excited about in 2024?

We launched our interactive gaming initiative, NBA Play, on Christmas Day. Since that launch, it seems like several media entities have embraced interactivity. I’m excited to see what works, how we can make our basketball-themed games even more compelling in the marketplace, and how our fans respond.

/*video overlay play button*/