For a look at a terrific professional athlete fan page, check out the site of Sasha Vujacic, the point guard / shooting guard of the Los Angeles Lakers' triangle offense. Sasha was a member of the Slovenian junior national team and was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2004 NBA Draft. He's now in the thick of the NBA playoffs.
The Sasha Vujacic site is beautifully designed and contains a huge amount of information about Sasha, including videos, photos, and much more. And get this, there's content in multiple languages (English, Italian, Slovenian, and even Chinese and Japanese) because Sasha has fans from all over the world.
The @SashaVujacic twitter feed updates on the site and there is an RSS feed of "regularly updated insider information and stories that you may publish on your Web site automatically as Sasha publishes them."
The best part of the site is that it gives off a vibe that Sasha is approachable. There are many casual photos of him. There's a tool where fans can ask him questions and can even create their own T-shirt design and send it to Sasha. If he likes the design, he will post it on his official online store.
Vladimir Cuk and his firm Attention Interactive built the site for Sasha. But more importantly, Vlad and his firm developed a terrific strategy for Sasha to interact with his fans and the media.
"The site is a hit with fans and NBA officials alike," Vlad says. Sasha and his management team are amazed at how the site looks and the level of interaction and response from fan community, according to Vlad.
Other players have noticed as well and are intrigued about the possibilities of engaging more intimately with the public via the Web and social media.
When Vlad was pitching for the business, he was up against the traditional public relations firms that frequently work with other NBA players. Sasha and his manager asked very intelligent questions and during the meetings and came away ready to try what to date is non-traditional promotion for a pro basketball player.
Most players use the media to tell their stories and are removed from interacting directly with fans. Not Sasha.
I have several suggestions to improve what is already a great site.
Sasha could update Twitter a bit more and maybe provide a little more about his life. Fans would be interested in the details of a player’s day and Twitter is a perfect way to do this.
The site should have permalinks. The way it is set up now, it is impossible to point to individual pages or photos.
But these nits are minor. Great job Sasha (and Vlad).
And good luck in the playoffs.