Already observed since his 11 years by the recruiters of the American teams, Victor Wembanyama is already a star. As evidenced by his 978,000 subscribers on Instagram, more than his eldest Tony Parker (600,000) or Antoine Dupont (440,000). Two major elements will then feed this “hype” around the prodigy. On October 3, he made the cover of the very famous magazine “SLAM”, like a certain LeBron James.
Las Vegas and everything is racing
Then a few days later, his Boulogne-Levallois team faced the Ignite G-League in Las Vegas in a friendly match. A team made up of the best potential, evolving in the antechamber of the NBA. Two meetings are scheduled. On October 6 and 8 in Las Vegas, Boulogne-Levallois faces Ignite and the potential number 2 of the next Draft 2023: Scott Henderson. The Frenchman confirms his status and successively scores 37 and 36 points. The images go viral and the biggest NBA stars such as Stephen Curry or LeBron James shower him with praise.
Upon his return to French soil, the NBA authorities enter into negotiations with the National Basketball League (LNB) in order to obtain the right to broadcast the matches of the entire Betclic Elite championship. A first. The American league obviously only broadcasts Victor Wembanyama’s matches through the LNB’s viewing platforms, which do not offer a rendering commensurate with the phenomenon. “Everyone was a little surprised. That it is expected is one thing, but that it explodes is another. It was the tour of the United States that changed everything,” says Fabrice Jouhaud, general manager of the LNB.
The audiences of Boulogne-Levallois go through the occasion from the fourteenth position to the first on LNBTV. The amount of the contract, revealed by AFP, of 137,000 euros, seems ridiculous. “For the NBA it’s not much to put this sum”, comments the Landais Arnaud Simon, director of the Skweek channel, broadcaster of the Euroleague and the Eurocup.
“The NBA with Victor seeks to activate all possible levers. They are very often top of the class in all areas”
In order to improve this visibility, the LNB activates several levers. In particular with the launch of a partnership with First Team and the broadcasting of matches on Twitch, produced with more substantial resources. “We cannot build a championship on an epiphenomenon, but we hope that we can learn from that to move in the right direction. It should act as an alarm clock,” adds Arnaud Simon.
The NBA queen of marketing
For their part, the authorities of the NBA have poached videographers to capture the best actions, shared instantly on social networks. The Frenchman almost looks like an NBA player in his own right already. “The NBA with Victor seeks to activate all possible levers. They are very often the best in class in all areas,” Arnaud Simon points out.
With this early craze on social networks, the American League is renewing itself by selling the story of Victor Wembanyama, from his beginnings to the heights. A new way to engage fans. “They (the NBA) are looking for permanent storytelling. Whether it’s during, after and upstream with the draft system. The history of the league is not only during the matches. It’s quite a narrative. It’s more than marketing. With Victor, we build a story. »
A story whose biggest pages will be written next season, in the big league. Fabrice Jouhaud thinks that if the NBA is now benefiting from his exploits, it’s because when he’s an NBA player, “he’ll be one among many. And therefore, it will be less easy for them to make a phenomenon out of it. There he is phenomenal because they discover him. They’re teasing, but when he gets there he’ll be one of the 15 big stars in the league.”