Social media within sports has already been a very steady growing marketing strategy. Professional sports have recognized that they must have a presence in social media in order to keep up-to-date on the current trends in the communications world, especially since rates of reaching mass quantities of audiences is the most productive through social media platforms; (it only took five years for Facebook to reach 150 million users, compared to television which took 38 years.) It is not uncommon for a team to be utilizing Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, however now that every team is aware of social media as a necessity and are all over its' game with the websites, coming up with new and original initiatives is the challenge that is facing many sports organizations.
The Boston Celtics social media and digital team recently unveiled the use of a brand new social media campaign that has set them apart from other NBA teams. During their November 9th home game against the Philadelphia 76ers, they introduced a new way for fans to get involved. Fans in attendance at the game were encouraged to use their Twitter accounts to tweet about the Boston Celtics using the #CelticsTalk. Randomly selected tweets were then broadcast up on the 360 degree ring scoreboard inside the TD Bank Garden. This is also not the first time that the Boston Celtics have innovated new ways to use social media.
This initiative deals with marketing as it is a part of sport distribution, not only within social media platforms, but within the actual sport's facility. The Boston Celtics are a known successful NBA team, not only for their championship records, but also for their social media efforts. Currently they have an internet following of over 800 thousand Twitter follows, and 7 million Facebook fans. They are within the top five NBA teams with the most Twitter followers and have be unrecognized for their ability to top the competition in the digital world.
In 2009, the Celtics launched an application on Facebook called the Celtics Three-Point Play where it is simulated like a type of fantasy league play where fans log on and pick three players and based on their performance and statistics, fans earn points and then top scorers can earn free tickets to Celtics games. This application was the first of its kind at the time for NBA teams. The Celtics were able to utilize Facebook as not only a way to gain followers, but to take those followers and make a profit off of them. Fans pay for the game application and then challenge friends and family who then also pay for the application and the Boston basketball team collects revenue. Since then, other teams have adapted similar applications.
In 2011, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx were the first NBA and WNBA team to introduce a social media initiative called WolvesNation and LynxNation. The program was a social media hub that brought together all social media websites into one place where fans could interact with each other, get all the latest news and information on the basketball teams, while also earning points for rewards and prizes just for being a fan. After WolvesNation and LynxNation was introduced, more teams within the NBA and WNBA created similar hub websites such as the Phoniex Suns who created the Fan Hub.
In this day and age, social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools within businesses and organizations- one of which who benefits the most from social media is the sports industry. No other platforms allows one to not only reach mass audiences instantaneously, but to also receive results and feedback just as quickly. Fans no longer wish to log on to ESPN.com to become knowledgeable about a team, they wish to get everything they want just on their mobile device, and from their social media account. It has never been easier for sports teams to relay scores and information to their fans, but also hear exactly what their fans think and feel about what is being reported. But in this ever changing world, it is only a matter of time where the now social media techniques become obsolete. Social and digital teams need to be adapting and cultivating new ideas to attract audiences. If teams want to be successful, then suggestions lead them to hiring social and digital media teams who are creative and imaginative in launching new strategies and campaigns that utilize social media in new ways.