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Sports and Social Media in 2010

2010 was a big year in the world of sports and social media, as leagues, teams, individual athletes, and sports fans alike began to truly understand and harness the power of social platforms. For me, 2010 was the year when social media went mainstream in the world of sports. There were many highlights, too many to name. But when I thought back on this year, these five moments stood out (in chronological order):

Pepsi Decides Against Ads in Superbowl 44

Earlier this year, Pepsi decided against running ads in the Super Bowl, instead putting the $20 million towards social media, specifically the Pepsi Refresh Project. It was the first time in 23 years Pepsi did not have an ad featured in the year’s biggest game. They were not alone, as other major brands such as FedEx opted out as well. This year, Pepsi and other advertisers are flocking back to take part in SBXLV, despite the $3M cost for a 30-second spot. So, while the big game might still be too hard to pass for major advertisers, last year is a sign that it might not be that way for long.

Bonus: “How Social Media is Changing the Super Bowl

2010 Olympics

The Olympics games in Vancouver this year were deemed by many to be the first “social” Olympics. In ’08, when the Summer games were being held in Beijing, social media was not nearly the monster it was as of earlier this year. Medal-winning athletes like Shaun White and Lindsey Vonn actively used social platforms over the course of the Olympics, and the games even had their own Facebook Page (now with 2+ million likes). The chatter on channels like Facebook and Twitter (along with hashtag #van2010) was insane because of the global magnitude of the event. I can’t wait for the 2012 Summer games in London!

The World Cup

This year’s second biggest Twitter trend? FIFA World Cup, and deservingly so. While it might not be too popular in the United States, soccer is the world’s biggest sport. Just a few impressive numbers and stats from the World Cup… The Vuvuzela app was the #1 downloaded app in the iTunes store in June. Coca Cola’s sponsored #WC2010 hashtag received 86 million impressions in 24 hours. While the official video appears to have been taken down, Nike’s “Write The Future” commercial (a must-watch) saw 19+ million views on Youtube. The world was watching soccer during June and July and using social media as an avenue to talk about their experiences.

LeBron James, “The Decision,” & “What Should I Do”

We all know about LeBron James and his decision to go to the Miami Heat. We all know about the prime time ESPN event he put on, and about the backlash he incurred. We all know about his “What Should I Do” video and some of the rebuttals he received for it. LeBron James was the top sports trend on Twitter this year, and for all the wrong reasons. While LBJ is still one of sports’ most well-known and loved athletes, he also happens to be one of sports’ biggest villains. His “What Should I Do” video has over 4.5 million views on Youtube. The highest rated comment?

[explicit] YOU LEBRON YOU NO RINGED KING………CELTICS!!!!!!! 2010-2011 CHAMPS.

It was quite the year for LBJ. And social media has allowed sports fans to tell the King just what they think about him.

Two of the World’s Biggest Athletes Join Twitter

On July 6th of this year, LeBron James sent his first tweet. Four months later, Tiger Woods sent his. Neither has done an extraordinary job with Twitter to this point, but the simple fact that they joined the platform was significant enough to make the cut. When two of the world’s biggest and most recognizable athletes join the world’s second most popular social network, it’s newsworthy.

In the four hours after LBJ joined Twitter, he’d already gained 25,000 followers. Now he has 1.14 million, while Tiger has a modest 361,000 followers. In the end, there’s not much to say, other than that two of the biggest athletes in the world decided to activate their social media presence, and that means a lot.

Thinking back on 2010, would your list be the same? Is there anything I missed that deserves to be in the top five? 2010 was full of many great moments in the world of sports and social media. Let’s talk about it below!

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One Response to Sports and Social Media in 2010

  1. LauraMH December 31, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

    while the World Cup was a big story, I think there was an ignored story of how Foursquare and Gowalla failed to play a role in the event with few checkins at the games. While partnerships with sport teams in the USA have helped give these networks a higher profile, it didn’t send a strong message regarding its usage outside the USA and how it could really be valuable to event organizers as there wasn’t much of an organic population of users.

    I think social media as a starting point for major news stories involving pictures of athletes’ gentialia is also important: The St Kilda Saints, Joel Monaghan and the Canberra Raiders, and Brett Farve are big ones there. They help highlight that athletes need to be more careful in what they do and that everything can be photographed and shared: If they don’t want it on the Internet, they shouldn’t be doing it. While the media might have been willing to overlook the stories, social media fans aren’t.

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