Sports and social media go hand and hand. Social media will always be a voice for sports to have a voice; rather it is a billion dollar brand like Nike and Gatorade or a billion dollar name like Serena Williams and Cam Newton. You cannot think about retweets, repost, hashtags, and likes without thinking about pop culture. According to Digitaltrends, Facebook reveled their biggest topics of 2015. Sports always gives politics, world news and award shows a run for their money when it comes to most trending in our society. So I would say the current state of the relationship of sports and social media is strong with specific sporting topics like safety, nutrition and education growing more popularity a well (Clapp, 2015).
One example of the strong relationship is through fan engagement. Sports organizations have mastered different mediums of social media to increase fan loyalty and excitement; “in today’s digital environment, many sport discussions occur on social media between friends or on official team digital channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. Many teams have caught onto this trend and are increasing their use of social media to boost fan engagement ahead of a big game. For example, the NHL held its eighth annual Winter Classic on New Year’s Day, pitting two pre-selected teams against each other in an outdoor game of hockey.
To boost anticipation leading up to the outdoor game, both teams updated their social media accounts with promotional messages teasing the Winter Classic throughout the first half of the season. According to data pulled from MVP Index, the Bruins posted 184 messages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram between June 1 and December 30, which were liked and retweeted more than 507k times. (Parkinson, 2016).” Wow over 500 tweets for one regular season game!
Major league sports also use social media to allow their fans to make decisions and vote for their favorite players to different all-star game. Out with the old school way of coaches and general managers deciding who the best 20 or so players are that deserve a sport on the all-star roaster. “In a world dominated by Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, the NBA became the latest organization to hop on the trend. The All-Star game is played to honor the players whose performances are deemed the best in the league. In a new social media initiative, the NBA now allows fans to vote for players via social media in addition to casting votes through the NBA website and app. The NBA recognized that social media is an integral part of today’s society and leveraged it as a platform to gauge whom the fans wanted in the All-Star game. While it produced some unexpected results, the NBA achieved its goal of getting fans more involved. Some players whose numbers warranted a starting spot might not even receive a reserve spot given the roster constraints. At the end of the day, the players whom the fans want to see will be in the game (Barton, 2016).”
A few other social media tools that sports have used to help keep the fans engaged include updates throughout the game, ESPN’s virtual college town and evening sports figures like LeBron James tweeting and posting on Instagram. I would have to say Gatorade currently wins my personal award for best fan engagement via social media. The sports nutrition and hydration company has almost 90 thousands followers on Instagram. The company uses creative ways through their social media pages to promote new products and marketing efforts (love of sports for example). The company has even released “match point” a playable video game on Snapchat celebrating their popular athlete Serena Williams. “The game includes 22 levels of tennis, with each level representing one of the 22 Grand Slam singles titles Williams has won in her career. In each level, players attempt to win the “match point” of one of those matches (Shaul, 2016).”
How cool must Serena feel having an app? lucky her!