FORTUNE -- It's been six years since the National Basketball Association (NBA) last brought its All-Star weekend to New Orleans. While that may seem like a small gap of time to fans in the Crescent City, it's a lifetime in the technology world. In that time, the NBA has built one of the largest social media communities in the world.
"We have over 500 million followers and likes combined across all league, team, and player pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Sina, and Tencent that had access to All-Star," said Melissa Rosenthal Brenner, senior vice president of marketing, NBA. "Back in 2008, we weren't on Twitter, Instagram didn't exist and there was no Snapchat. We had a cumulative audience of 500,000 people."