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Tapping into Team Supporters Outside Your Zip Code: Role of Social and Digital Media

Professional sport teams each have fans that not only live in within arena zip code, but there are others who live in other states and even in other countries.  Many of these fans have never been able to be communicated with by their favorite team…until now.  The next question is not, “Why should I care,” but instead, “How can I capitalize on this market for additional revenue for our sports franchise?”

On the surface this photo above looks like a pretty typical fan at a baseball game holding up a baseball. Average photo except this is a picture of my brother wearing an Atlanta Braves jersey, at a Los Angeles Dodgers home game with a ball tossed to him by the Braves first baseman, Freddie Freeman. (click the link to be sure to follow Freeman on Twitter)

I most recently learned that the reason my family went to sooo many Dodgers’ games was because we use to have season tickets! I still have no explanation for why we had a family member stray to support an East Coast team. All I do know is that his favorite player is Chipper Jones who still makes my brother very excited about baseball. (click the link to follow Jones on Twitter)

How does a boy on the west coast gets his Atlanta Braves fix?  Scores are pushed to his cell phone regularly. He can check for instant updates on scores and batting percentages online. His favorite players also happen to be on Twitter. Finally, he posts comments and updates to his Facebook wall throughout the season to ignite conversation among friends and fans. 

This is just the beginning of the potential.

With the increase in teams adapting to a more social and digital realm, being able to get more involved from a farther distance is becoming more accessible and interactive.

Through the use of social and digital media integration as a marketing platform, sport teams and athletes can now tap into resources previously unavailable to them.  Thus, allowing teams to not only maximize their current market, but reaching outside their arena too.

Role of Social and Digital Media

  • Not only can you maximize the space within the arena, but now have the opportunity to create your own digital content in the US, Europe, Canada, etc.
  • Sponsoring companies now have a benefit for not only their local stores near the arena, but able to be a supportive element in addition to increased brand recognition for national locations too.
  • Community Relation’s efforts can be expanded and driven with greater support and reach through the social media channels; providing a greater resource to reach a broader audience.
  • Global merchandise sales.
  • Must stop location for out of town visitors.
  • Sponsorship activation across boarders
  • With more and more professional athletes becoming more involved with social media personally, the fans are then able to follow a more inside look into their lives. It allows the personal space athletes enjoy, and the access the fans cherish for a lifetime.

 As sport organizations become more in tune with the opportunities available to capitalize and maximize their current marketing and revenue efforts, the creative uses of social and digital media will continue to increase substantially.

What are some other opportunities a sports franchise might have in tapping into fans outside their zip code?

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7 Responses to Tapping into Team Supporters Outside Your Zip Code: Role of Social and Digital Media

  1. SportsPadre April 26, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    Great article Kristen, family time at the ballpark makes everything better, sharing it with everyone, AWESOME. Your brother would have loved the hitting display by Chipper on his birthday when the Braves were at AT&T ballpark last weekend. Keep the good stuff coming.

    Sports Padre

    http://www.sportspadre.com/media/sports-birthdays-april-24-2011/

  2. Kristen Sonsma April 27, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    @SportsPadre I couldn’t agree more with you about family time at the ballpark! I’ll definitely try to keep it up and appreciate your feedback.

  3. ww22 April 28, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    Good piece, Kristen. Leagues more so than teams are using digital and social media to increase audience and engagement in the ways that you mentioned. That’s not to discount some of the great things certain US-based teams are doing, but the efforts are not as widespread as they are at the league level. There’s an even greater opportunity at the collegiate level. Many schools are becoming progressive in figuring out how to engage with the rabid loyalty of their fan, alumni, donor, recruit, and prospective student populations, in this way. The technology is there. The question, in many cases, and this is the case everywhere, is budget to implement the technology to enable these ideas.

  4. ww22 April 28, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    Good piece here about the differences between US-based sports teams and International sports teams’ usage of Social Media … http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2011/04/25/Media/Social-Media.aspx

  5. Kristen Sonsma April 28, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    @ww22 As each team starts to become more proactive and creative in their endeavors such as app development and interactive gaming, there is so much more potential to be reached.

    I think you are right about the collegiate level opportunity, especially in regards to tapping into team supporters outside your arena zip code. And many college sports seem to have a broad audience base who thrive in team content. I happen to know a few who live no where near their alma mater…and some who never even attended the school.

  6. Kristen Sonsma April 28, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    @ww22 Thanks for sharing that article and provides some great insight on an international level. Always interesting to see the results when there seems to be increased transparency for organizations as well as active player involvement.

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