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The Growing Role Of Social Media In Sports

How Social Media is Influencing the Manner by Which Sporting Events are Interacted With

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The Growing Role Of Social Media In Sports and the Influences this Holds for Marketers and Fans

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How do we Engage?

As both children and adults we very often engage in sports. Be it as athletes or as audience members sporting events are often a strong community event over which we socialize. The means however by which these events are engaged with are constantly evolving alongside the evolution of our technology. With this evolution has come the growing presence of social media and with it new and refined means by which sports can be marketed. I personally have spent a lot of time around ski racing and the game of soccer yet it was not until recently that I have come to fully appreciate the extensive marketing techniques that surround such shared events. As someone who has been involved with both sports extensively, both perspectives of being an audience member as well as an athlete have been experienced shedding light on how the role of social media has become stronger than ever over the past decade.

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So many Sponsors, So Little to do with our Sports..

There are many different avenues to sports marketing and how teams might decide to partner with certain sponsors so as to market brands within their sport. At the end, the main goal for any sports organization is to make money and put fans in the stands. In order to achieve this there are marketing techniques that take place that some fans often don’t even realize. For example, there are advertisements everywhere alongside a downhill run in ski racing or extensive in-game promotions sponsored by different businesses at soccer matches. When an announcer speaks, there are often references to products or organizations that arguably have nothing to do with the sporting event at hand. Only certain items might be offered for purchase at such events that come solely from a single provider. For at the end professional sports are a business, one that revolves around profit that in turn is acquired through sponsorships, fan attendance and the purchasing of merchandise as is highlighted with videos like this. Where the processes that lead to sponsorships have been relatively consistent over the past decades, the means by which organizers reach out and market their event to fans has not. With the presence of social media ever growing over the past years, organizations have found that the best way to engage their fans is to use platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Let’s take a closer look at how this has come to be.

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"Look how good my team is!"

There was a time where the only way to watch a sporting event was to either go to the game or watch it on television. Yet now sporting fans more often than not prefer to follow the event on laptops or smartphones due to the added mobility factor. Herein marks an added avenue where marketers can expose consumers to advertising in the form of digital content ranging from text, pictures or videos. The digital presence in sports is ever growing as fans turn to digital technology to acquire the information they seek. Star players and their respective statistics are constantly being followed by fans with many fans keeping up with the active performance of their favorite team as a lifestyle. As one can see with examples such as fantasy sports, people are heavily involved and embrace the opportunity to feel a part of their favorite team or player.

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How long have you been a fan?

According to a Time report of 2015 , Americans alone collectively check their phones 8 billion times a day with an average of 75 per person. With around 3.65 billion mobile users on the planet this marks a great opportunity for sporting marketers to reach fans. Within seconds, marketers can utilize apps and social media to share content to millions of mobile devices, content that previously would have been conveyed via leaflets or newspapers and dependent on the person reading it or not. Adds are now actively ingrained within the online browsing experience thus allowing for everyone utilizing the given platform to be exposed to the content rather than just those looking for it. In doing so new fans can be acquired which may have otherwise not been exposed to the content and had no interest of seeking it out.

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I won two Tickets!

When online content is shared it is instant and equal to everyone involved, there is no delay in the sharing of this information should it not be intended. We live in a very demanding world where knowledge is power thus fans who consider themselves engaged want their information right away. Promotions are also very easy to run with social media platforms. When we think of examples we often see such as, ‘like and share and you could win two tickets to the next Bayern Munich home game!’ it is clear how our social media platforms are not only catered to socializing with one another but to promoting and advertising. Twitter feeds will have sponsored messages that come up in the format of a tweet so as to blend in with the rest of the user experience. With today’s online world, the opportunities to reach consumers are ever evolving. It is important to mention that not only do such efforts work but are in fact appreciated as fans enjoy the opportunity to feel closer to their favorite teams and engaged within the industry.

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Big Money, Bigger Players, Biggest Success

In the end, almost all sporting organizations are involved through social media platforms yet not all have a strong presence. The organizations who do tend to be the ones with the most ‘success’ and often have the greatest fan following. This growing online presence gives marketers the ability to be creative and find new ways to reach consumers who might already be interested in viewing their content or those who are not. In doing so teams enjoy greater publicity, fan following and ultimate financial support. Now more than ever, marketers are enjoying the greatest opportunities to reach their fans and engage them in content they enjoy.

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