Social media has proven itself to be a natural platform for the discussion of sports, whether it be athletes causing controversy with their tweets or clubs trending on Twitter after signing a new player.
Most recently, Super League champions Leeds Rhinos (rugby league for those of you not on the M62 corridor) replaced the players’ names on the backs of their shirts with their Twitter handles in an attempt to increase exposure of the Rhinos brand.
With this latest integration of sports and social media, I thought it would be good to have a go at predicting what could be the next step. If any of these have already been done elsewhere, I apologise in advance!
1) Brands advertising Twitter handles on kits
Way back in 1979, Liverpool became the first professional football club to have a sponsor’s logo adorned on their shirts when they agreed a deal with Japanese electronics company Hitachi. Since then, this has become a standard for clubs in most professional sports and a huge revenue stream. Could it be possible that in an age of user engagement, brands decide to move away from having their logo on shirts and switch to advertising their Twitter handle instead? This could help to not only promote awareness of their Twitter page but also encourage fans to engage with the brand, possibly even with a profile that is specific to the club or sport.
2) Press conferences become Google Hangouts
Premiership football managers hold weekly press conferences on Friday’s ahead of the weekend’s games. The journalists are there to ask the questions that they believe the fans want to hear. With the aggressive growth plans for Google+, could it be that these press conferences are held as Hangouts on the social media platform? Wouldn’t it be so much easier if the fans had the opportunity to take part in the press conference and ask the manager the questions they wanted to?
3) Social ticketing
When you’re going to a sporting event, there’s always that panic of making sure you have your ticket with you. One of the first things most people check when leaving the house is if they have their mobile, so how about a Facebook app which allows you to store your season ticket on your mobile? It could include a bar or QR code which could be scanned by a ticketing device at the stadium, and once scanned the user could then automatically check in at the stadium for all their friends to see.
4) Social TV
When it comes to the big boxing events on channels like Sky Box Office, I always see people on my Facebook news stream looking for sites streaming the events for free. Promoters could stream their events on Facebook with the addition of advertising around the screen with could help to cover the loss of revenue from streaming for free. Adding in chat functionality or linking to the brand’s page would also allow users to engage with each other and the brand much more easily while watching the event.
These are just a few of the ideas I have for how social media and sport could further integrate together.
Feel free to comment below or tweet me @andrewlowdon if you’ve seen anything like these or have any ideas of your own.