Email showdown: Cavs vs. Warriors

Jeff Slutz

Who does the best email marketing?

The NBA Finals are in full swing with the Cavs and Warriors going toe-to-toe for the third straight year. As of this writing, the Warriors are up 2-0 and look to be in control of the series, but everyone remembers how the Cavs came back from a 3-1 deficit to win it all last year. It’s one of the best rivalries in sports, so we couldn’t help but wonder, are they just as competitive in the inbox? Let’s break it down.

The Cavs

Game Day

These emails are all about drumming up excitement and directing subscribers to all the different ways they can enjoy that night’s game. The header image is action-packed and the triple CTAs above the fold give fans a number of opportunities to engage. I also like the Trending section with quick links to the Cavs’ most popular content. The problem? There’s a little too much going on here. All the sponsors, logos, and CTAs above the fold are more overwhelming than Lebron on a fast break.

Ticket Sales

On the other hand, there’s no mistaking what they want me to do here. The early ticket access is a nice perk that shows the value of joining their email list. It’s not the prettiest email in the world with all the different text styles and too much bolding for emphasis, but it does the job. I definitely clicked through to see what tickets were available.

Special Promo

This is a nice way to announce their new social app to Cavs Insiders, but I wish the email stopped after the App Store and Googe Play buttons. They’re trying to cram too much into one email: bobbleheads, tickets, trending links, oh my! And what’s going on with the Cavs vs. Clippers/Cavs vs. Lakers “download" CTAs? What exactly would I be downloading if I clicked there? This is a prime example of choice paradox killing engagement.

The Warriors

Welcome Email

When you sign up for the Warriors’ list, you’re greeted with this fun welcome email. The GIF does a nice job of conveying how exciting it is to be a Dubs fan these days, and they smartly ask you to set your email preferences so they know the best way to communicate with you. Plus, automatically being entered into a drawing to win playoff tickets is a nice surprise that shows the value of signing up. 

Game Day

The Warriors’ game day email looks similar to the Cleveland's, but the layout is a lot cleaner and easier to scan when scrolling. A single, focused CTA per section helps. Plus, I love that they include video at the end. Fans can’t get enough highlights of their favorite teams, so including a video here as a way to boost engagement is a no-brainer. 

Special Promo

This email announcing the Warriors’ summer camp is a good contrast to the Cavs’ app announcement. Rather than surrounding it with a bunch of competing news and CTAs, it’s only focused on the camp, which means they’re much more likely to accomplish their goal of getting people to sign up. Plus, they do a nice job subtly working some urgency into the copy with the all-caps “SOLD OUT” and “only 10 spots left!” in red. One minor quibble: They could have chosen a better image. Using a player most people won't recognize in what looks like an empty gym doesn’t exactly scream excitement. 

Who’s the champ?

As a native Ohioan and loyal Cavs fan, it pains me deeply to say this: But much like the actual series so far, this one’s a blowout. While the Cavs’ email marketing is much better than a lot of professional sports teams out there, they come up short when compared to the Warriors fun, focused, and engaging campaigns. This one goes to the Dubs. Ugh.

About the Author

Jeff Slutz

Jeff is a senior content writer at Emma. When he’s not geeking out over email marketing, he enjoys jogging short distances, chowing down on Mom’s cooking, appreciating a beautiful jump shot, and telling anyone who listens how underrated Ohio is. Usually not at the same time.

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