The Cutting Edge of Social Media in Sports Branding

Published on July 9, 2015 by Alec Hulmes  

The role of social media in sports branding has become a critical way for teams to engage their fanbase. Social media for sports organizations is “an effective tool to boost fan interaction, forge connections between teams and leagues and their fans, sell tickets and merchandise, and help drive TV viewership” (Fisher, 2011).

MLB All Star Voting

One way that social media is used in sports branding is with MLB’s All-Star Performance fan voting process. This system is used to determine which players will make it to the All Star Game. This allows fans to interact by selecting their favorite players for the game. All they have to do is tweet, “#Vote” and then the player’s last name. For the last several years there have been over 30 million votes cast via social media. The players tweet live during the Home Run Derby, which is part of the All Star Game, and there were 4,995 tweets going per second, which helped gain followers and marketing of the game.

Indians Social Media Suite

Another sports organization utilizing social media is the Cleveland Indians. The organization summed up what they are doing by explaining that, “We’re creating new brand ambassadors who are then going out and talking about the Indians experience and are in essence spreading our message” (Fisher, 2011). The team created a social media suite with twelve seats and wireless Internet access for bloggers and other social media contributors.

Boston’s Fans Input

Another baseball organization that utilizes social media to enhance their brand is the Boston Red Sox. When the Boston Bruins were in the Stanley Cup, the Red Sox asked fans for their input on social media to determine if they should move their game to an earlier time that day so that fans could still watch both games. They received 4,300 Facebook likes and 650 tweets.

Feedback from Actual Social Media Followers

One study from 2013 surveyed over 2,000 fans about their use of social media in order to determine the effects of sports branding. Results found that “Seven out of 10 sports fans who Like or follow a brand online say they're open to sharing brand content, buying goods or engaging with social posts”. Surprisingly enough the most use site for social media was Facebook, with the lowest being Instagram. The number one way that fans were likely to follow a sports organization on social media was if they offered a coupon or discount. What is most important for the sports team besides the following that they are gaining on social media, is that by utilizing social media they are encouraging fans to talk to other about their brand, which increases popularity.

This blog post was written by Samford University student Alec Hulmes.

References

Laird, S. (2013). Mashable. How sports fans engage with social media Retrieved from: http://mashable.com/2013/10/03/sports-fans-social-media/

Fisher, E. (2011). Sports Business Daily. 2o great uses of social media in sports. Retrieved from: http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2011/08/01/In-Depth/Social-media.aspx