Social Media’s Impact on Modern Sports
It’s easy to miss how big of an impact social media has on professional sports. Athletics happen on the field, not on phones, and what difference does it make what things Joe Schmoe Tweets about a game? Actually, the impact is bigger than you think.
Professional sports organizations use social media to derive branding insights and better reach their audience. Read on to learn more about social media’s impact on professional sports.
Social media platforms come with a lot of free or low-cost analytics tools that are available to business accounts. Sports organizations can use this information to learn how their branding efforts are going, what the reach of their messaging is, and how fans are perceiving their decisions. It’s an enormous pool of free information that can be used to directly inform decisions.
Advertising is a lot more affordable and targeted than it used to be. Brands no longer need to take out extremely expensive television spots to get their message across. They still might — and sports organizations do. But most advertising efforts have shifted toward social media spaces.
And why not? Tweets are free. They take several seconds to send, and they can be used to instantly reach thousands of people.
Compare that to a traditional television ad. The commercial itself could take several weeks to cast, produce, cut, and air. A process that costs thousands of dollars — if not more — for what amounts to thirty seconds of footage that people try their absolute hardest to avoid watching.
Of course, the way that professional sports organizations do their social media is a little different than that of the layperson. They have a special staff that handles the messaging, and it does cost more than thirty words or one hundred characters that wind up being the finished product might have you believe.
Still, compared with traditional media, it’s an incredible way to reach sports fans quickly and at a low cost.
More Personal Interactions
Social media makes it very easy to connect with celebrities and sports stars in a way that wasn’t previously possible. Where once a fan would need to wait outside a stadium or write a letter to connect with their favorite athletes, now things are different. With just a Tweet, it’s possible to tell a quarterback exactly how you feel about them — sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.
This enhanced level of accessibility is admittedly something of a headache for teams and the players that star on them. Private space shrinks considerably when fans can occupy your attention even when you are sitting on the toilet.
Still, the opportunity for closer personal interactions is enormous, giving fans excitement for the low cost of a liked Tweet, or a three-word reply. It’s a great way to build goodwill, and expand enthusiasm and support for an athletic brand.
Traditionally, interactions like this cost time and money. Now they take six seconds of your time.
Better Branding for Athletes
Professional athletes tend to get paid well for their time on the field. Contracts are fat and rewarding. However, a significant portion of their income — particularly when it comes to well know figures — come from endorsements; Money they make from advertisements.
To get fat endorsement contracts, however, these athletes need to have a very strong personal brand. That’s where social media comes into play.
Using online platforms, they can interact with fans, develop a following, and potentially even increase their influence beyond the scope of their sport.
The more followers they have on social media, the more the athlete is worth to the brands that they represent. Some will even get paid just for sending out Tweets and other such promotional content. Significant sums of money for what acquaints to mere seconds of their time.
Social media platforms also allow fans to watch their favorite sports in new ways. For example, professional golf tournaments only air for several hours a day — usually during times when the tournament leaders are playing.
However, players are on the course for much longer than the broadcast time slot. Tournaments can run for twelve hours a day during the summer. That’s a lot of shots super fans are missing. What is a Tiger Woods fanatic to do?
Stream it! Golf networks have taken to providing fans with a constant live stream of select holes throughout the day, which can be viewed on Social Media platforms like Twitter or YouTube.
Covering the entire tournament for twelve straight hours would be impractical and too expensive. Just focusing on a hole or two corrects that problem. All you need is a camera and a hot mic to provide effortless entertainment. Fans get what they want, and the professional golf brand grows. Everyone wins.
Of course, golf isn’t the only sport that can partake. The NFL can stream pregaming. Baseball can give you a close look at the dugout or the bullpen. The idea isn’t to push boundaries, simply to give fans a different perspective on the games they already love.