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Social Media and Sports = Endless Possibilities

October 31, 2011

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.

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