Hashtag for the Cashbag – Social Media in Sports

Social media isn’t going away. In fact, it’s getting bigger and bigger. From traditional social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to new and emerging platforms like SnapChat, fans around the country are looking to share their experiences while at sporting events. It has now become expected that teams and facilities use some type of social media on their displays during a game to engage with fans.

Everyone likes to see their pictures or tweets on displays around the facility and have it be visible to thousands of people – this gives more attention to the displays during an event which sponsors love. In a recent Corporate and Industry Survey from the National Sports Forum that surveyed over 50 of the top sponsors in the sports industry, 94% plan to spend more on social media. The main reasons for spending more is affordability and it’s where their customers are spending their time. It also gives the larger sponsors the ability to target very specific markets.

Being able to measure and track where their money is being spent is also a large reason that sponsors are looking to make the shift to social media. The number one response when they were asked “What are the greatest threats to sponsorship?” was – “Lack of measurement.”

Pepsi Center Image Collage
In a recent Corporate and Industry Survey from the National Sports Forum that surveyed over 50 of the top sponsors in the sports industry, 94% plan to spend more on social media.


Where should you put social media content?

  • Ribbon displays
  • Main video boards
  • Dedicated zone on any display
  • Concourse displays
  • A dedicated area in the stadium/arena for social media:
    • Follow, create and engage in real-time team social media content
    • Free Wi-Fi access
    • Social media instruction
    • Charging stations for mobile devices
    • Appearances by social media celebrities and influencers

Panthers Social Media

Reds Connect Zone

Reds Connect Zone – where fans go to post and engage with the Cincinnati Reds during baseball games.


How are professional sports and colleges using social media?

Pistons Voting

There have been some really creative and great ways that our customers currently use social media to engage with their fans and make their sponsors happy. Here are some we’ve seen:

  • Sharing pictures either one at a time with a post/tweet or putting them all together for a collage.
  • When using ribbon displays, sometimes it’s hard to show images. One way to get around this is to show text only posts/tweets, but still, have the associated social media icon and the username/handle of the person who sent it.
  • Voting can be another way to engage fans. Fans can vote for a song or who they think will be the MVP of the night. (Detroit Pistons picture above)
  • Live scrolling stream of posts targeting people who are at the game (not on their couch) and what they are saying about the team/event.
  • Texting to a number for similar voting that is done with Twitter.
  • Tinder night where fans download the app and look for the team’s mascot to win a date and sit courtside during the game.
  • Twitter DJ is another popular option that has shown up on our displays at all sporting levels. Simply have a primary sponsor for the DJ, then have fans tweet to a certain account for what song they want to see next, then run that on the display thanking them for votes.
  • Have a Social Night where you run several promotions via social media during the event.
    • Special ticket packages promoted by social media
    • Exclusive promo items
    • Contests, giveaways, trivia
    • Title sponsor

profile-pictureThis article is by Matt Anderson
in College Sports Marketing.
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