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Late Night Thoughts – Overkill of the NFL Draft

- Is anyone else sick of the NFL draft coverage?  Below are some of my

late-night thoughts about the mega-press the NFL loves to get. -

Social Media Overkill!

By now sports fans are well aware the NFL draft is coming soon.  Each year ESPN has extensive pre-draft coverage that goes into minute details of every draftee’s history.  Mock-drafts surface all over the place that analyze each team’s possible pick for nearly every round.  Facebook, Twitter and blogs are just a few of the placeholders for this blowup.

This isn’t the first year that draft coverage has been overkilled on multiple platforms.  My strongest memory of this happening was of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.  Rodgers was slated as the top overall pick of the draft for an extensive amount of time.  However, once draft day inched closer blogs, analysts, “experts,” players, coaches, etc. were all giving insight into their ideas on the his ability to play at the NFL level.  Ultimately Alex Smith was drafted with the first overall pick by the San Francisco 49ers, as Rodgers fell to 24th overall (the second QB taken in the draft).

All reports were that Rodgers had an inflated arm because he was in college, and that he could not translate into a successful pro QB in the NFL.  Until this past season, Smith did not pan out to be much of an NFL player – especially for being selected with the first overall pick.  Rodgers was able to win a Super Bowl and an MVP trophy only a couple years after winning the bid to be the starter at QB for the Green Bay Packers.  In my opinion, if Rodgers would have been drafted by the 49ers I think he would have struggled like Smith, because the 49ers were, quite frankly, a garbage football team (hence the 1st overall pick).  I think Smith would have done well as a Packer, not an MVP caliber player, but very respectable.

Back to the point: The analysis of the draft can really throw stock value of players excessively higher or lower.  One comment made on Facebook, Twitter or a blog can cost someone millions of dollars by being drafted in a different position.  I am waiting for the day when players start to do their own campaigning via social media sites.  Politicians, companies, players, coaches and ordinary people are taking their thoughts online to spread good PR in their direction, so why can’t prospective NFL players?  One issue may be the visibility of post-college players to the public.  If someone were to harness either the public’s or analyst’s opinion, it could result in a higher draft round.  It’s a fairly new animal that will be taken seriously in the next couple of years, especially the over-coverage hosted by ESPN, and the recently developed NFL Network.  One tweet, status, post could make a big change in stock…everyone is watching!

New Technology Might Not Always be a Good Thing

Sports teams have always been on the cutting edge of technology.  In order to be the best, you must evolve to have an advantage over competitors – enter: technology.  One advancement that is starting to be noticed by pro franchises is the NFL’s use of tablets for playbooks.

 

  • The use of tablets is both a good and bad thing.  First off, tablets have endless possibilities.  I’m sure developers around the world are trying to make the next app that will catch on like wildfire.  The idea to have user interaction with a playbook will help players develop a stronger comprehension for the playbook.  If teams can get an app that quizzes players on what they are supposed to do during a certain play, hopefully they will remember the play faster as opposed to studying a boring stack of papers that shows the route they need to run.
  • The second major advantage tablets give is the ability for teams to be in-sync at any time of the day.  A simple touch of a screen can change a play across all tablets through an intranet system.  This would be very useful, as coaches would not need to face to face with players to tell them a new play, or having to explain to each player what they need to do (not to mention having to pass out new playbooks/sheets).  It will also limit the amount of team meetings.
  • The last advantage that I see as being big is the ability for coaches to see if their players are looking at the playbook.  When you hand someone a playbook, you have no idea if they even opened it!  Obviously it shows in practice, but what if the guy actually did study the book but just didn’t remember it.  With an app you can track who accesses the playbook, and how many times it was accessed and the duration of time accessed.  Of course players could open the app and say they studied, but this tracking system will help coaches and GM’s in the league determine problem players and guys who really care/try.

My final thought:

The NFL and other franchises might have a legitimate advantage with the introduction of tablets.  My first reaction, however, was to question the safety of the online playbook.  What if someone steals the tablet?  What happens if hackers try to steal your information?  What if they succeed?  Hell, Bill Belichick tried stealing plays (yes, a Wikipedia source) during the game!  Just the other day some ten million Visa and Mastercard numbers were stolen during a security breach.  The fear of having your playbook stolen might be enough for me to steer away from jumping on board with this one.  We will see what the future holds.

A Purrfect application of Social Media Marketing

Application of GOOD social media marketing is difficult.  Social media is not designed to be difficult, however integrating social media and marketing is so new that there is little to no history documenting the successes and failures.  Good social media, from the company perspective, is seen as an asset that can increase brand awareness, induce product purchases, increase customer relations, product quality, and other opportunities.  Using social media as the main aspect for an event is a raw idea, an idea that the Carolina Panthers have now done for two years….successfully!

The Carolina Panthers used an interactive “tweet-up” called Panther’s Purrsuit (the double “r” in purrsuit is on purpose).  Participants used their smartphones to check-in on Foursquare or Gowalla at certain locations.  At these locations, teams of two completed various tasks to get points (photos, videos, checking in etc. – all social media tools that can be used on your phone).  The ultimate goal was to win the grand prize: a pair of football tickets and paid airfare and hotel stay for a December game.  

Photo courtesy of http://richtucker.posterous.com/panthers-purrsuit-my-experience-and-thoughts

(Website has good insights on the event)

Results: The event measured success by amount of twitter reaction.  The final exposure count was around 14,000 unique people on the day of the event (here’s a direct link -http://tweetreach.com/reach?q=purrsuit).    One day, 14,000 people – pretty good, huh?

The reach of that amount of people in one day is substantial.  The greatest asset that I see for the Carolina Panthers after hosting this event is the attitude change that will most likely be seen among non-Panthers fanatics.  I would presume that some people who participated in the event did not have a great interest to see a Panthers game, or maybe even watch the games on TV.  Events like this create a bond with fans, and it especially increases the bond among people who do not share much interest in the team.  In return, this may net a result that is worthwhile for the organization.  Second-rate fans may start to buy (or buy more) team paraphernalia as gifts for their family due to the newly constructed positive image.  They may also hear about the Panthers, and keep up with the scores when in the past they do not pay attention to the Panthers.  From here, if the Panthers grasp these secondhand fans by putting on other events, or basically just trying to be a part of their life, the fans will most likely increase their likeness towards the Panthers.

For fans that are already first-rate-fanatics for their team (a company can also be replaced in this whole), events like this form relationship.  A fan tweeting at a computer can form a bond.  Nothing compares to a face-to-face chat with someone, NOTHING!  Face to face meetings is underrated these days.  I guarantee that you would be more more willing to buy a product from me if I talk to you live, as opposed to living in a virtual world.

Photo Courtesy of  http://www.sportsnetworker.com/2010/10/07/how-carolina-panthers-use-social-media/

(Link above describes the event further)

This is only the second year that Panther’s Purrsuit has been scheduled.  I would predict that this event will continue to grow.  The ideas and imagination that can evolve from this are certainly not limited to just these events.  I am excited to hear of more events such as this, and to see how the Panthers can evolve their social media as an organization.

Here is the Panther Purrsuit’s twitter handle: @panthrspurrsuit

Here is the twitter handle of the man who set up the event, PR/marketing strategist Scott Hepburn: @scotthepburn

If you made it this far, thank you – I’ll try to shorten the posts in the future!

Social Media and Sports = Endless Possibilities

A Mexican soccer team, or fútbol for you naturalists, has announced plans to replace player’s names names on the back of their jerseys with twitter handles….yes, twitter handles!

Picture courtesy of Brooks Peck (yahoo soccer blog)

My first thought:  Innovative!  People love to follow their favorite celebrities and see what they are up to.  Athletes are brand ambassadors for the team they play for, and the league they play in.  The more accessible a business is – in this case, the team – the better they will serve their customers and themselves.  BUT, with more accessibility comes a greater need for more responsible behaviors.

Problems:  I’m a Wisconsin sports fan, so my bias is present and obvious; with that being said, I follow Nyjer Morgan of the Brewers (@TheRealTPlush).  If you know Morgan, he has an enormous child-like personality that he lets the world see.  He occasionally poses as TPlush, Nyjer Morgan (his actual name), Mr. Eezzy Breezy, Bryant Gumbel and many more.  With his big ego, which some might refer to as cockiness, comes problems for organizations like the Brewers.

 Nyjer Morgan, picture courtesy of FS Wisconsin

Earlier in the season Morgan made some twitter comments towards the Cardinals that were heard around the MLB.  The Brewers played the Cardinals after the comments were made and “tempers were flaring.”  After the game, Morgan (TPlush) went on twitter and went on a mini-rant.  The Brewers had to take action, and told Morgan to “quiet it down.”  What was actually said was left behind closed doors.  Morgan is one of the many examples in sports where players have made poor choices online.  (See the New England Patriots social media woes)

Positives:  Nyjer Morgan’s follower count is almost up to 70,000.  If every player on the Brewers organization had a twitter handle and had a following of a meager 40,000 thousand followers, they would have 1,000,000 million followers.  The Brewers sold over 3,000,000 million tickets this year.  Many of these tickets purchased were by multiple buyers, so assume half of the tickets sold were one-time live baseball viewers.

If these numbers were accurate, and they are definitely not scientific, the Brewers could attain a more unique and much larger clientele via twitter than the people actually going to the games.

That is the power of social media, more specifically twitter!

Last Thoughts:  It will be interesting to see the effect of this.  Will there be a good response, and result in an increase in website traffic and social media from the club?  Will more clubs look into doing this?  Whenever there is an innovative idea, it requires a lot of tweaking, or sometimes a whole scrapping of the idea.  I hope this can be integrated, but personally I think this is a little too far.  I don’t want to see a jersey that looks like something out of the XFL.

“The” inaugural post

People seek new opportunities to improve thier life or others.  Each opportunity starts from a new beginning,  followed by an intruiguing middle, and finished with a resolution (Yes, an English 101 reference).

This is my beginning into the blogosphere.  I’m taking this FREE opportunity to help better myself and (hopefully) you!  Follow if you are interested in marketing, public relations, sports, current affairs or life!

Now, onto more important things —> The Middle

Thanks for the read!

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