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The impact of social media on sports business

4 Dec 2012, by Informa Insights

Social media has taken sports business to a new level of sports marketing and advertising, brand sponsorships and respective individual representations on various social media channels like Twitter and Facebook.

Sean Callanan of Sports Geek explains the impact this phenomenon has on sports teams, the teams’ players, media and PR companies, and sports fans.

Is social media transferring value away from the sports teams onto the players themselves? What are the implications for clubs and teams?
Social Media offers opportunities for players and teams alike, it doesn’t have to be a win/lose scenario. The key person to benefit from social media is the fan and it is there that teams and athletes need to understand the value. Sports must go beyond “sponsored posts or tweets” to really understand value in social media and digital efforts. Teams and athletes need each other always have and social media is no different, teams that embrace and encourage their players to use social media see greater engagement and satisfaction with fans connected to their team. Likewise players who use social media well will be promoted by their team sometimes beyond their skill level on the team.

Sean CallananIs social media transferring power and influence away from media companies and the Club’s PR team to the common fan? Fans start to rely on social media for info as opposed to official media channels, a club’s PR and communications efforts can be undermined by the fans themselves etc.
No actually the opposite is now true, as fans know they have a direct line to their club they often go directly to the club. Sports teams are developing digital departments that are becoming media outlets in their own right. Clubs can manage their message directly to their fans via their own social media & digital channels. Social media does offer fans a voice which sometimes can be wrong or dissenting, PR and communications teams need strategies in place to handle misinformation but if the fans know their questions will be answered via social media in a timely manner it only strengthens the club’s ties with the fan.

How do you see future innovations in social media which will bring the fan even closer to the action/inner sanctum? (live tweeting from Nascar cars has already happened)
Social media is by nature pervasive and is bringing the fans closer to the action more than ever before. Instagram have been used very effectively by sports teams to give the view of the huddle and locker room. Short video clips on Tout or Viddy are giving fans glimpses rarely see. Google Hangouts are allowing fans to talk to stars they only ever see interviewed on TV. Crowdsourcing is still relatively new but now sports teams are seeing the game from the fans point of view so I’d expect more teams to use the content generated by fans in their digital efforts to show they are part of the team as well.

Sean Callanan will be speaking at the upcoming Sports Business Summit 2012 in Sydney next week.

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