Recent days in my hometown, Sarajevo, have been marked by genuinely sad news. KK Bosna, one of the symbols of the city, symbols of this and former state is going to cease to exist?! Even for a girl who is not deeply interested in sports, this was a devastating news. KK Bosna was always more than a club. It was the light motive of this country, some better times, and better people.

I had to dig in and try to figure out what are actually the reasons behind this. Last night KK Bosna played a game in a full house. Tickets almost sold out. Sad thing is that this was an exception. Undoubtedly, the club had and has a lot of issues, financial, legal, administrative, etc. As a marketer, I had to wonder why was the game sold out last night, and why wasn’t this the case in all previous games?

During last week social media was filled with posts of angered fans and everybody was reminiscing the good old times. That’s when it struck me – simple word of mouth. Another missed marketing opportunity here in the Balkans? Opportunity for rising a legendary sports brand from the ashes – the first step towards recovery. Some will argue that their problems went way beyond a simple marketing solution. Nevertheless, last night showed how much of an impact social media can have. And this was only triggered by the enraged fans. Imagine what could have been done with a proper and thought through online & offline campaign.

A club with over 50 years of history, a title of European champion in 1979, great names and legends such as Mirza Delibašić became an integral part of Bosnian, and Balkan history and sports culture. All of this makes KK Bosna an exceptional candidate for an amazing re-branding and sports marketing. BMS readers had a chance to read about a good case practice, sports marketing done right with Željezničar and their “Buy a Seat for the European Grbavica” campaign. This campaign went viral and had amazing results.

KK Bosna 1979

KK Bosna 1979

The strength of social media and viral marketing cannot be ignored. All aspects of life have to follow trends and changes in the society. There are countless cost-effective opportunities for positioning brands, such as KK Bosna in the eyes of the audience and potential sponsors. Targeting of the EX-YU generations, triggering emotional factors connected to past times, encouraging youth to be a part of a bigger story would lead to more devoted and engaged fans. Positioning KK Bosna as an essential part of the Bosnian identity through mere social media promotion and positive word of mouth is more than realistic.

Will people in charge recognize this missed opportunity to recover sport spirit through marketing, or will this become another sad story from the Balkans, is yet to be seen. Let’s just hope this will be a lesson learned and that soon people will be standing in lines to get their tickets for the game.

BMS is waiting patiently for the updates on the situation.

Stay tuned!