Global Newsmaker: Darrell McLennan-Fordyce

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has appointed Darrell McLennan-Fordyce as its comms chief for the EMEA region.

Darrell McLennan-Fordyce
Darrell McLennan-Fordyce

Exclusively to PRWeek, he talks about the key challenges he will face as part of his new role; competing with football, raising awareness of NBA events across differing markets and dealing with life on the road.

As the newly appointed senior director of communications for EMEA, what will be your biggest challenges?

The NBA brand is hugely well known around the world but the greatest challenge we face in some of our markets is engagement, especially in the UK where football dominates. Across mainland Europe basketball and the NBA has huge popularity and participation. The UK is a key market for us and ensuring we engage with as broad an audience as possible will be a big challenge. A small step towards that is ensuring editors and key influences really understand the sport and its personalities, both home grown and internationally. Obviously the LA Lakers (current NBA Champions) coming to play the Minnesota Timberwolves in London as part of NBA Europe Live in October is a great platform to work from. The game sold out in record time so there is no doubt about the appetite for the sport in the UK.

How do you spread the message of the brand with only a limited number of live events?

Actually we have a good cross section of NBA events that supplement our TV exposure.  The events take place throughout the year; from NBA Europe Live in Milan, London, Paris and Barcelona in October this year through to NBA Skills Challenge, Adidas NBA 5 United and Basketball without Borders.  We are also confident of bringing other NBA events to the UK and Europe which is really exciting prospect so watch this space! But outside of live events the NBA has great personalities and fantastic access to content so the opportunities to experience the sport and the NBA brand are there. Creating the relevance and awareness over a sustained period is one way we will view success.

How will digital play a part in your comms strategy?

Digital has been a key driver in the NBA's success globally.  Having worked with a number of sports and brands I can honestly say the NBA really gets the idea of delivering great content and interaction across a number of platforms and working collaboratively with our partners to do so.  Part of my role is build on the success to date across the region whether that be generating greater interaction with fans through social media and our national websites to developing uptake of products such as NBA League Pass Broadband.

What are your media must haves when on the move?

I rely on my iPhone to keep up with a lot of online content when I'm on the road (isn't WiFi great!) and I think brands and media owners creating event or sport specific apps are real drivers of engagement.  I always try and read The Times sports section every day wherever I am as it has a great cross section of writers and The Wall Street Journal to get a US flavour on the world.

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