To some, sports is a religion. Strangers band together to celebrate wins, or to reck havoc when teams lose.
Before the introduction of social media, sports were only available live either on the TV or radio. Of course there were post game updates on networks like ESPN or articles posted on major internet news sites, but ultimately, there were no live updates a decade ago. Now, social media is playing a huge role in how we view sports.
With Facebook, fans can share videos, express their opinions about a play, a player or the game in general. On Twitter, there are instant updates and now live streaming of games. Instagram, although not as instant as the other two, connects the fans to the teams and players. Almost all athletes have personal accounts with thousands of followers. Having that personal connection brings the fans closer to the brand and makes them want to interact with teams more than ever.
Not only do fans benefit from social media, the sponsorships do too. Social media is seen as a new commercial opportunity. With a large reach to consumers, in the target audience or not, brands can become more recognizable by coordinating with teams, players and other sports entities. Many companies that are not sports products have been marketed through sports. Pairing up with a team or player attracts the sports based audience and creates a positive image for the company. Companies that have made great strives in marketing through sports with social media are Bud Light and Gatorade.
Bud Light has used social media to their advantage when it comes to sporting events. Creating hashtags like #UpForWhatever and integrating their campaigns into all social platforms provided great brand awareness for them. As for Gatorade, they created one of the biggest ads at the Super Bowl, and didn’t even air it on TV. Using Snapchat as their social platform, they created the legendary Gatorade dunk filter for all of their fans to enjoy. Throughout the game, millions of snapchat users posted Stories of themselves with the Gatorade dunk. Both companies made millions of impressions and their campaigns gained a lot of press.
If social media wasn’t so big, sports engagement would not be as high as it is today. The sports media business is one of the fastest changing industries and it’s only getting started. As new technology develops, the reach and engagement for sports team will grow.
Keep an eye on for your favorite sports team on social media and think about what it would be like it you couldn’t get instant game updates!