Basketball on YouTube: Watching Hoop Dreams Come Alive

Following in the footsteps of YouTube’s deal with the NFL to launch its official channel, now YouTube has partnered with Turner Sports to create an official March Madness channel for this year’s NCAA College Basketball Tournament. It’s important to realize that YouTube has become impossible for sports franchises to ignore. The everlasting popularity of official game highlights is just one example of the countless ways teams and leagues can thrive on YouTube, a platform that continues to defy expectations. Thanks to the open nature of YouTube, fans can engage with their favorite sports and teams from every possible angle (sometimes literally).

To illustrate the enormous depth and breadth of YouTube, and the opportunities it presents for brands, we traced the journey of a basketball player from those earliest practice layups, to impressing the scouts, to the tournament-clinching buzzer beaters, to the most high-flying NBA dunks—all by watching YouTube from the comfort of our ergonomic standing desks.

“How-to” Videos: Developing the Fundamentals

For anyone trying to learn a skill, YouTube has become a go-to destination thanks to the enormous collection of “how-to” videos. In the world of sports, these videos can become crucial for any young player trying to learn the basics, or for talented prospects looking for an edge.

A quick search for “how to shoot a basketball” will lead you to creators such as I Love Basketball TV, which describes itself as “the leading YouTube channel in Basketball Training.” With over 200K subscribers and 16.7M views to its credit, coaches around the world should be thankful for channels like these in helping to lay the groundwork for future stars.

Or, as the channel itself boasts: “If you want to get better, if you want to get motivated, if you want to have better handles, higher vertical, subscribe to our channel and we will bring you the best videos on a daily basis.”

Behind the Scenes: What it Takes to Compete

YouTube also excels at bringing you behind the scenes and into the day-to-day reality of people’s lives. The level of authenticity is something that draws you in and creates a connection with the people on the screen.

In the “10,000 Hours Basketball Series” spanning ten episodes, we get a front-row seat into the countless hours of practice, and relentless determination, of two short kids named Kyle and Mattie as they test themselves to the limit.

Scouting Prospects: Using YouTube to Discover the Next Lebron James

We can all recognize those local news stories—the ones where some local child prodigy dazzles in front of the news cameras, making it all look easy.

Take the following news story of Jashaun Agosto, when he was just 11 years old:

Thanks to YouTube and scouting channels like City League Hoops TV and Courtside Films, it’s now possible to watch prospects like Agosto progress over the years.

Here is a video of Agosto as a 17-year-old from 2014:

Need another example? Check out this video of Jordan McCabe at 12 years of age, already being touted as a “prodigy and phenom”:

Later, McCabe made an appearance with the legendary Harlem Globetrotters:

With smartphone cameras pointed at every promising child athlete, it’s hard to imagine a future star without these kinds of videos being unearthed, documenting their earliest moments on the court.

March Madness Domination: Pulling Through in the Clutch

Once these young players enter college, it’s time to show whether these kids can handle the pressure of the world’s biggest knockout tournament. If they succeed, YouTube is ready to highlight their best moments.

As mentioned above, 2015 is the first year that an official March Madness YouTube channel will be following the action. With that in mind, we ran some numbers to see what the unofficial, fan-uploaded content has looked like over the years:

march madness uploads on youtube

videos and views march madness

March Madness Video Trends

The most common video trends to be found for March Madness are all about the highlights. The “greatest this” and “top that” videos are everywhere:

“Greatest NCAA Tournament Buzzer Beaters”

“Top 25 NCAA Tournament Upsets of All Time”

There’s plenty more where those came from. Because YouTube is an archive of culture, it’s where super fans turn in order to satisfy their desire for more content. Checking their brackets alone just won’t cut it anymore.

Best of the NBA: From Pro to Legend

Once a player beats the odds and their hoop dreams become reality, saying you are a full-time professional is only step one when it comes to YouTube. If you really want to leave your mark on sports history, YouTube serves as a good indicator for separating the role players from the legends.

While it’s one thing to be featured on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays for the night, the real achievement is getting into a “best of all time” YouTube compilation—a video that will be judged for generation of players to come.

If you find yourself flying high in a video titled, “Top 100 NBA Dunks of All Time,” you know you are on the right path:

And, in case you are vertically challenged and dunk highlight reels are out of the question, there are always the “NBA Top Ankle Breakers of All Time” videos to aspire to:

Takeaway: YouTube is the Ultimate Bracket Buster

Whatever your passion, YouTube has a level of depth and breadth to it that you simply can’t find anywhere else. Sure, watching the games alone might be enough for the average fan. But, if you are obsessed with a certain team or player, where can you turn for the most engaging and authentic content? Where else can you watch something you love from every era? Behind-the-scenes footage? Curated compilations? “How-to” videos?

With 300 hours of footage being uploaded to YouTube every minute, the platform forces you to rethink the boundaries of content, and it takes real expertise to fully understand all it can offer.

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