Social Media is not new to sport but it is quickly becoming a key player. An athlete, club, sporting body or organisation’s social media profile can enhance their value. There is no doubt that social media is changing the game; the question is, how? Are those who are not using social media missing out?
The Show around the Show
The sporting industries greatest innovators recognised early on that its all about entertainment.
Nike has been capitilsing on the marketing of unique and ‘risque’ sporting personalities like this Berkely ad and the following Mcenroe campaign.
Since then Web 2.0 has further blurred the lines between media and sport.
Mediated Sports today
In 2011/12 four of the top five highest ‘Tweets Per Second’ resulted from a sporting scenario;
Stephanie Rice lost sponsorship deals and was publicly damned for her insensitive tweet.
Similarly Greek triple jumper, Voula Papachritou, was banned from competing at the Olympic Games. In today’s heavily mediated environment an athlete’s social media profile could be their making or their undoing.
Inherently what an athlete does online affects all those they represent.
Social Media: the Game Changer
Clubs, sponsors, sporting bodies and organisations now take an athlete’s social media profile into account when talking contracts. US college baller, Will Hill, ‘openly discussed sex and marijuana on his Twitter feed while in college’ and as a result he was overlooked in the draft and spent a year in the Arena Football League before catching on with the Giants.
Similarly, amidst contract talks last year for Richmond’s slightly mischievous AFL star, not one other club put their hand up to take on the star and his ‘social issues’.
The ‘mischievous’ sporting personalities that were so valuable in the past are now a risky investment. The new play is for the well connected, smart communicator who also has athletic prowess. Sport is an industry and clubs will invest more in players who will contribute to the triple bottom line. An athlete’s social media worth can enhance sales and there are new technologies that can help determine their value; the MVP. The MVP is an app that will help determine the value of a social media profile. However it would still help to learn from these blunders.