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What Sports Franchises Can Learn From Howard Stern

On Saturday, social media newbie Howard Stern created quite a stir when he decided to offer impromptu running commentary on his Twitter account during an HBO airing of his autobiographical film ‘Private Parts’.

His tweets provided behind-the-scenes insight, his thoughts regarding scenes and personalities, as well as banter with his fans. The King of All Media proved once again that he “gets it” when using a broadcast medium, while innovating social media a little bit along the way.

The following day, he did the same thing by providing real-time commentary during the Grammy Awards and communicating directly with fans. His interaction and witty banter on both days was a hit and drew widespread praise. And there is no reason this can’t be a lesson for the sports world.

Imagine if a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins or Washington Capitals, ideally Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin, were live on Twitter during their recent airing of HBO’s 24/7 leading up to their Winter Classic matchup. Or if one of the Pittsburgh Steelers or Green Bay Packers players or executives did the same during a replay airing of Super Bowl XLV on the NFL Network?

While these are examples of missed opportunities, there are a number of chances for a sports franchise to take advantage of.Perhaps a player or executive can give running commentary during an upcoming spring training game.

Or an NBA executive or team executive can provide insight during the upcoming NBA All Star Game.

March Madness is around the corner. How cool would it be if a Sports Information Director shed their perceived role as gatekeeper and instead acted as they should, by providing information and offering running commentary while their team battles to move on tin the tourney?

Why can’t a MLB, NHL or NBA team can’t do something similar during an otherwise innocuous regular season game. If league rules get in the way, then maybe they should be re-examined, or a team can get creative. Have a scout or someone else not on site, like a prospect or injured player, provide the commentary. Or wait for a road game, when most executives stay in their home city.

There will likely be fans and writers who already provide their own tweets during these upcoming sporting events, but the opportunity to communicate directly with someone associated with the event or franchise elevates that communication while strengthening the bond with their fans.

A little extra effort can go a long way, and we’ve seen so far that there are few in the sports world, both individually and collectively, that have truly grasped the new media way of thinking and how to utilize this to their advantage.

Well, the King of All Media, Howard Stern has provided a lesson. Now it is up to sports teams to not get hung up on the sometimes controversial messenger and instead take what he successfully executed and use that information for their own good.


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