Senior Producer of Digital Media Terránce Daniels was on a flight to Los Angeles with the Houston Rockets when news broke that the NBA had suspended its season. The pilot turned the plane around over El Paso, and headed back to Houston – marking the beginning of four months without basketball.
On July 10, Terránce was the only Rockets creative to fly with the team to Orlando and check in to the NBA bubble.
After 36 hours of quarantine and two negative tests for COVID-19, the team was finally able to practice together again.
“To see the team on a court again was priceless,” says Terránce. “You could definitely see it on their faces that after all the deliberations, preparations, briefings, protocols and testings that they were finally back to basketball and back to what they love to do. So for me, my job was easy. Just push record.”
Terránce is responsible for capturing everything from behind the scenes content for social media to footage for commercial spots – and he has full access to the team. As the only Rockets creative allowed on-site, he has an opportunity to give fans a unique window into what’s happening inside the bubble.
“Fans have become accustomed to practice/workout videos, walk-in photos/videos, game day hypes, warm ups, in game crazy camera angles and highlights, as well as post game recaps,” he explains. “What they’re not accustomed to is James Harden playing cornhole, or Ben McLemore and Robert Covington fishing off the side of a boat in the Seven Seas Lagoon.”
Terránce is always on, ready to capture and share content as soon as it happens.
“Being in a bubble creates a sense of newsworthy drama when someone enters or exits,” he explains.
Rockets shooting guard James Harden traveled separately from the rest of the team. When he arrived in Orlando, Terránce got a tip from Rockets PR and was in prime position to catch Harden’s arrival.
“I was able to capture the precise moment that he entered the bubble, quickly sent it back to Houston to our social media team to post on our channels, and within minutes, it went viral,” says Terránce.
The Beard has arrived! pic.twitter.com/WrTZMclEDh
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) July 15, 2020
Rockets Senior Creative Director Jose Lopez says being the first to share footage of Harden’s arrival was crucial. Every major sports media outlet shared the clip and credited the Rockets – generating incredible engagement for the team’s channels.
“Speed is key,” says Jose. “Everybody needs information right now, and the people who can get it out the fastest – I think that’s king.”
Back in Houston, Jose and his team are ready to move just as quickly – anticipating big moments and instantly sharing them with fans who are hungrier than ever for basketball content.
Terránce captured this Russell Westbrook dunk during his first practice with the team after mandatory quarantine, sent it back to the team in Houston, and within minutes, thousands of Rockets fans were buzzing about Westbrook’s return.
Jose says the team is making the most of every moment – every win, every dunk – because the Rockets’ millions of fans around the world can’t get enough.
“We’re going to show you that monster dunk over and over again,” says Jose. “And not only are we going to show you that dunk, but we’re going to create a graphic of that dunk, and we’re going to create an edited video in slow motion where the glass is breaking of that dunk, and then after the game, we still want to continue telling that story so you can really remember – and we continue telling that story, and getting you excited for the next game, and showing you practice again so you feel like you’re part of the team.”
Right now, the Rockets are producing more content than ever. In an average month during the regular 2020 season, the Rockets uploaded 7,000 photos to their PhotoShelter media library. In one month in the bubble, they’ve uploaded 14,000 images – double their typical output.
The team’s visual content has become the lifeblood of not only fan engagement but also sponsorship – an even more critical revenue stream without fans in the stands.
“Corporate partners are lining up to get back in the mix,” says Terránce. “Whatever I can do to facilitate those obligations and fulfill those requests over here in the bubble, I’m on it.”
And while Terránce is the only Rockets creative inside the bubble, he says the key to engaging fans, meeting sponsor demands, and creating championship caliber content experiences is teamwork.
“I may be in the bubble over here in Florida,” says Terránce, “but Mission Control is back home in Houston.”