A couple of months ago, NYC-based social media agency Carrot Creative challenged the agency I work for, VaynerMedia to a game of basketball. “Hey @vaynermedia,” they tweeted, “Since our comps are the 2 best Sports Social Media Shops It is time to battle it out on the Basketball court! #challenge.” Of course, we accepted the challenge and played the game. VaynerMedia won, 61-41.
Carrot created a fantastic microsite for the game, called SocialMediaBasketball.com. They included both teams’ starting rosters, complete with names, nicknames, and the ability to follow all of us on Twitter. Even cooler? Visitors had the ability to “like” the team they were rooting for / thought would win. Finally, a live feed featured anyone who tweeted about the game with the hashtag #CCvsVM.
We played the game at the Chelsea Piers Sports & Entertainment Complex, on the lower west side of Manhattan. Both teams arrived, warmed up briefly, and we got started. We hoped to show the game live on Ustream. We even invited a friend, Internet personality Owen JJ Stone, to emcee the event. Unfortunately, the wi-fi connection at the facility was not fast enough to stream, so we instead live tweeted the whole thing.
Carrot jumped out to a 5-0 lead right away, but we quickly responded to go up 22-7, and then 43-19 at halftime. The second half was back and fourth, but VaynerMedia ultimately prevailed by 20 points. Susan Shan, a sports blogger, came to cover the event and put together a great video recap.
In the end, the game was about friendly competition and having fun. However, it served many other purposes. After the game, the two companies went out for a couple of drinks. We networked. We got to know each other on and off the court, in a much different sense than we would have at a more traditional event. Only a few of us had ever crossed paths before the game, but after the game, we had a new-found camaraderie and friendship that will benefit us both down the line. We also got some press out of the game, which was completely an added value.
I’d like to see more of this. Forget conferences or meetings or networking events. If you’re reading this article on this site, you probably like to compete. Get together with other entrepreneurs or companies in your area and make it a good time!
Since our win, we’ve talked with Carrot about having a rematch, maybe in another sport, and we have received challenges from a number of other companies and entrepreneurs. If you hadn’t noticed already, VaynerMedia is quite the competitive company. Our founder, Gary Vaynerchuk, insisted we would beat any company on Twitter, including Facebook & Digg. It’s possible he forgot about @NBA…
What do you think about the game? What could we do next time to make it a better experience (keeping in mind that we planned to stream the event but could not)?
Nice post Sam, sports are a great way to connect with others and build stronger connections than you would at a networking event or even a business meeting – with sports you get to know the real people behind the business exterior.
Those videos are awesome and congratulations on the win!
P.S. If anyone from VaynerMedia is ever in the UK, I’m sure we could get a game (or if I’m ever in NYC)!
Thanks man! Would love to hoop it up if we’re ever in the same country, hahaa!
haha that was amazing. Way to have fun with it. The vayner video was perfect.
If my company had more than 2 employees and if we weren’t 7 hours away, I’d totally put up the next challenge in NYC. I’ll just start hiring employees based on their basketball skills.
Our company has about 2-3 ’employees’. There’s a HMM for you 😉
Great game and Sam’s right…a MUCH more successful way to network. Everyone gets uncomfortable making small talk in suits while balancing a plate of crudités. I think the freedom social media has brought has lessened the barriers in corporate environments. Get out, have fun. I mean, why not? You have your whole life to work.