Twitter and Sports – A Marketing Marriage
When I arrived at Game 3 of the Celtics Heat series of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, everyone in the TD Garden was handed a towel with the words ‘I AM A CELTIC.’ I immediately noticed that those words were accompanied by a “hashtag” (#IAMACELTIC). Directly after sitting down, I noticed another Twitter prompt as the words @celtics were painted on the side of the court. As a young professional who specializes in social media, I was reminded of how integrated Twitter has become in the sports world.
According to Mashable.com, mentions of pro sports dominate the tweets-per-second records, accounting for 7 out of the 15 highest ranked twitter topics of all time. Sports are also a staple on Mashable’s weekly article, ’20 TV Shows With the Most Social Media Buzz.’ Two factors driving this trend are the adoption of smart phones and the number of viewers who watch TV with another screen in hand. According to a recent poll by Nielsen, 86% of tablet owners and 88% of phone users watched TV while using their devices.
This past weekend, NASCAR joined forces with the social giant for its Pocono 400 race in Pennsylvania, becoming Twitter’s first ‘official’ partner. In fact, the race was renamed to Pocono 400 Presented by #NASCAR. Integrated tactics such as “tweet your seat contest” where one fan was selected via Twitter to wave the race-starting green flag were used to enhance the race experience while being active on Twitter. Here we see the relevance of Twitter for those in attendance, tens of thousands at most sporting events, and those viewing at home, a factor that’s not in play with traditional television given the small studio audiences. Additionally, fans have begun to take to Twitter to get more perspective on the game by looking to the platform to hear what others are saying about the specific game they’re watching. Due to this trend, a San Francisco startup has just designed a new application called ‘SportStream’ which will offer curated Twitter feeds for specific sporting events.
Beyond sporting events, television programs in general have become inundated with hashtags and @mentions. More often than not, TV shows feature hashtags at the bottom of the screen, giving viewers a common forum to discuss the show online. Some programs even feature that online discussion on the screen during the program. What’s more, characters (both real and made up) and athletes often tweet about the show to further engage viewers and increase followers. For more on this trend and the paid side of marketing on Twitter, check out our recent post on the 3 Approaches to Paid Promotion on Twitter.
In addition, TV check-in apps such as GetGlue,which allow users to “check-in” to their favorite TV shows, sporting events, movies, music, books and games, have been gaining popularity more recently. These apps link to users’ Facebook and Twitter accounts and allow for users to share what shows, games, movies and more they are watching in order to spark conversation with their friends who may be doing the same thing.
The idea of integrating the offline world with the online world is growing rapidly and sports is clearly one area that is driving this trend. We’re curious; do you find yourself tweeting more frequently or using the advertised hashtags while watching sports? If so, why?
Jessica Moran is a Marketing Coordinator at GY&K. Connect with her on Twitter: @jessy_moran