During the past years, we have seen an increasing involvement of social media in sports – especially American sports with Super Bowl being the prime example. So much so, that the amount of tweets created during this year’s Giant’s-Patriots’ game reached an astounding 12,233 tweets per second (TPS) and 10,245 TPS during Madonna’s halftime show.
Real time interaction between fans and stars
The real time interaction between social media and sports is closely connected to the interaction between fans and sports stars. Fans want to connect and interact with the stars on the field – and vice versa. Looking at the infographic, the integration of social media and sports is not only in connections to the Super Bowl: 83% of American sports fans will check social media channels to gain sports insights while watching a game at home – 63% while being at a game.
How to handle social media – or not?!
This growing demand for stars to actively interact with their fans in a constant flow has brought new dilemmas as well as new marketing benefits into sports management. As a consequence, preparing for this summer’s UEFA EURO 2012, the management of the Danish national soccer team has taken intense social media precautions: they have banned all Danish players from interacting with friends and fans via social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook during the entire tournament. The decision has caused great debate, as the ban potentially harms the gained connection between the popular players and their fans. A connection that holds great marketing and promotional benefits for the entire national team.
Instead, sports management teams could benefit from outlining guidelines through a social media strategy, ensuring that the players don’t leak any game strategies or offend fans in drunken tweets or status updates, but that they actively interact with their fans in a positive tone to promote both the player and the team.
Tweeting for Success or Disaster
So, the irrevocably live and viral aspect of real time conversations through social media channels can either be very successful when managed or close catastrophic when left unmonitored. Obviously, the last outcome being the overriding fear of the Danish soccer team! “Fouls & Fumbles” in the infographic gives a few examples of just how catastrophic social media can be, if you don’t recognize and manage the virality and irrevocability of a status update or tweet. Worst case scenario when unmanaged: you get kicked off the team, fined and end your career. Best case scenario when managed: you rise to fame and your career takes off!