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From Sports Team to Social Experience

This is part of a short blog series where we take a look at how social media can be utilized to grow a sports team’s fan base, regardless of whether the team already has a large following or is starting from the grassroots level. You can see the other posts here.

In the first post of this series I covered the importance of listening in social media. Today I’m going to cover how community can help your fan base grow.

Using social media to create an online community is a great way to bring your fans together, constantly keep them thinking about your team and also reach new fans. You can also use an online community as a way to add to your teams overall experience and create brand advocates.

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How the Carolina Panthers Use Social Media

The Carolina Panthers are challenging their fans to compete in the ‘Panthers Purrsuit’ social media contest, the first of its kind in the NFL, on Saturday, October 23.

Fans will pair up into teams of two and compete against other fan teams in an all day “Amazing Race” style contest which will take place at locations throughout greater Charlotte. The Purrsuit begins at Bank of America Stadium at noon. Teams will then follow a series of clues and instructions and complete challenges at locations throughout the day.

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San Francisco Giants Tweetup

Tweetups have been one of the true successes of Twitter. Meeting new sports fans through social media is great, but nothing compares to the networking and bonding that occurs in face to face events. Embracing both social media and face to face relationships, the San Francisco Giants hosted the first tweetup for Major League Baseball earlier this season.

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Limits of a Team’s Brand

When sports teams first began using social media, they gained followers and fans primarily because of their brand. Fans wanted to be part of their favorite team’s community and sports teams were more than happy to have them. Still, many sports teams eventually faced the realization that their brand could only bring them so far. Teams that relied on their brand identity to generate interest soon discovered that after most ‘hardcore’ fans had discovered their teams Facebook or Twitter page, the numbers dropped off. To attract the casual fan, teams had to prove to them that they could bring value.

For teams, providing value to fans means winning games. Winning games fills seats and keeps fans happy. When it comes to creating value on social media platforms though, winning doesn’t necessarily translate into happy fans or engagement. Winning will get fans interested in a team, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will get them to follow or like their fan page.

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How Fantasy Sports Unites Fans All Over the World

While sitting in a New York bar watching the New Orleans Saints successfully open the football season last week, it struck me that there is one thing that unites sports fans all over the world. Whether it is the NFL here in the US, rugby league in Australia or the English Premier League (EPL) soccer, today’s sports fans want to be engaged and actively interact with their favorite sports. They satisfy that desire by playing fantasy sports or by getting involved in forecasting weekly results. In Australia we call that tipping. Technology, fast-speed internet access and our increasing use of social media is making this engagement even easier and more fun for the fan.

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Resources for Athletes – Part 2

In a previous article I wrote about two valuable resources that professional athletes can use to manage and improve their lives. In this Part 2 article, I’ll focus on Fan Inc., a new resource that helps former NCAA injured athletes receive the medical attention they deserve and I’ll also dive further into Sportsdrive to see how their high tech development tool helps athletes reach their highest potential possible.

FAN, Inc. Foundation for Athletes in Need – We see the glory of athletes when they’re “in the zone” and hitting their game like a Trojan. We see the sweet victories and think to ourselves, “what an exciting life.” What we often don’t see is the chronic physical pain many athletes endure for years after they’re finished playing.

Steve Strinko, former NCAA middle linebacker for Michigan State founded FAN, Inc. in response to experiencing his own post-career medical issues and also seeing a serious gap in services for former student athletes who have been injured while participating in a NCAA sanctioned sport.

FAN’s mission statement succinctly states, “To provide financial assistance to qualified former student athletes who are experiencing hardships related to an injury incurred while participating in an NCAA sanctioned activity.” FAN, Inc.’s goal is to assist under- and uninsured individuals in obtaining relevant, professional medical services.

As a grassroots effort, FAN is currently determining the extent of the problem. If you have knowledge of a former NCAA athlete with sports-related injuries who needs medical attention but is unable to secure care due to financial constraints, please visit the website and send Steve an email.

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Baseball Fans Sidetracked

While Major League Baseball diehards were tuned into each of their favorite teams’ games during everything from LeBron-athon to World Cup soccer, and especially their all-star game, it wasn’t easy for it to hold the attention of the masses according to W. Scott Bailey in the San Antonio Business Journal.

It was reported that Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game, broadcast by FOX, received a 7.5 Nielsen rating which makes it as the least watched Midsummer Classic in history.

My initial thought as we head toward the start of National Football League training camps: is there any sport or off-season activity that would distract NFL fans from their season?

Is baseball officially not America’s Pastime anymore? We’ve long heard that professional baseball television ratings pale compared to the NFL and even the NBA, much of the latter which is broadcast on cable outlets. But a scripted special about where an NBA free agent is going to play next and – soccer?

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ESPYs Allow Fan Voters to Draw Emotional Appeal

The ESPYS were a night that highlighted the perseverance of individuals, the resurrection of towns, and the voice of the people in a collective environment.

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Phollow Phriday: A Twitter Resource for the Philly Sports Fan

There are few things in life (family, friends, & my cat) that I love more than the city of Philadelphia and sports. I was born and raised in the city, and I’m a lifelong Philly sports fan. One of my first sports memories is Joe Carter hitting a three-run walk-off home run against closer Mitch Williams, propelling the Toronto Blue Jays into a World Series victory over his hometown Phillies. Sigh.

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Make the New Geek on the Web for You

SeatGeek.com launched in September of 2009 and functions a bit like some of the websites developed for the travel industry, but for your favorite sports teams. Out of the frustration of being a Red Sox fan and always having to pay a premium for tickets, Russ & Jack Groetzinger came up with SeatGeek.com to rid them and other fans of that “I’ve been ripped off feeling.”

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Social Media Adds to Fan Experience

We’ve all read posts about how social media will benefit sports teams, and the benefits of constantly engaging with and having a dialogue with fans, so I don’t want to cover that in this post, I’d like to look into a few of emerging tools and explore ways in which they could improve fan experience and encourage fans down to the stadium.

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Minor League Teams and Social Media

Q: Can Minor League Teams Build Social Media Followings? Recently, Sports Networker reader Todd E. Jones wrote in with a great question. He asked, “Do you think it is possible to use social media to build or grow a fan base for a minor league sports team? A few hundred or even a couple thousand…

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