Best Practices: Twitter

July 20, 2011

Kudos to Major League Soccer and it’s teams for utilizing a very smart but simple tactic to help promote engagement and interaction with their players. Teams such as the LA Galaxy and Chicago Fire list their players with twitter accounts right on the team’s official twitter pages. (Click picture below for examples). Every team in the MLS, as well as all other leagues not in a lockout, should follow suit and employ this tactic to build a following and interest in their own players.


Transcendent Tweeters

July 14, 2011

Congratulations to Shaquille O’Neal for landing a job with Turner Sports on TNT’s popular NBA Studio show. Shaq will bring unique insight, incredible charisma, and quite a large Social Media following. The 15-time NBA All-Star played for the Magic, Lakers, Heat, Suns, Cavaliers and Celtics; on Twitter those teams have a collective 3.7 Million followers. Shaq has 4 Million followers on his own! (courtesy of @seancallanan) This got me thinking, what other athletes transcend their (current and former) teams in total amount of followers and social influence? (all follower counts as of 7/14/11)

While these are only a few examples in a few sports, it is interesting to think that one player can have a larger social reach (8X as much for Paul Pierce) than an entire team or organization. While the player is obviously free to tweet as he chooses, it would be wise for the team to reach out to these transcendent tweeters to help with both promotions and PR. I believe it would be worth the potential “hit” the player might experience from followers for a rare, carefully crafted tweet to help out the team in some way.

Toyota – Social Network

July 7, 2011

Very 2011 – no car mention, only Facebook references. Intelligent Marketing or missing the point?

NBA Players to Europe

July 7, 2011

Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets is reportedly planning to play in Turkey if the NBA lockout is not settled by the Fall. Other notable players entertaining the idea of playing in Europe include the Atlanta Hawks’ Zaza Pachulia, Kobe Bryant, and the Knicks duo of Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. The idea of NBA players playing in Europe has been debated and dissected by numerous TV shows, radio shows, and analysts across the industry with every concern cited from safety to ability to adapt.

Thinking with the sponsorship hat on, I believe it would be advantageous for stars of the NBA to compete in Europe from a business standpoint. Players would be able to showcase their personal brand, and the Nike’s and Reebok’s of the world would be able to leverage their high-profile athletes in a brand new global setting.

[As an aside, consider this a tip of the cap to WNBA. While most are compelled to compete abroad for financial reasons, one has to admire their willingness to put it all on the line. As of March 2011, 92 players from all 12 teams are competing in a dozen countries all over the world. See the full map where all WNBA players are competing here.]

Tweet for a Ticket

June 28, 2011

Today, Social Times wrote a piece on Cyber Lion Grand Prix winner Pay With a Tweet. The company allows you to do exactly what it sounds like, put your product up for “sale” for social currency. “If a customer tweets about your product, they get it for free, and you reap the promotional benefits of their tweet.” Pay With a Tweet came to life when Leif Abraham and Christian Behrendt were looking for a new way to promote their book. They say, “No one really knew who we were or how to find the book…we decided to give away the book for free as long as the person tweeted about it.”

With Sports organizations making a push to become immersed in Social Media, this would be a wise practice to pursue. While it might not be financially lucrative to “give away” tickets, teams can certainly offer dramatic discounts for a tweet. The “pay with a tweet” system could certainly apply to Facebook, allowing fans to pay by posting on their Facebook wall to tell their friends about the tickets, the promotion, and the team.

The Oakland Athletics have developed a Follow and Save campaign that loosely mimics the “pay with a tweet” concept; for 1 week every 100 followers the Athletics gained, the discount price on Field Level tickets for a specific game would increase by $1. The initial campaign showed promising results; the Athletics’ official Twitter account (@Athletics) increased from 18,118 to 18,690 from June 13th to June 20th, an improvement of 572 fans (rounded up to 600) that resulted in $6 off per Field Level ticket for the July 4th game. [Note: The @Athletics twitter account has 19,300 followers as of 6/28]

The Florida Marlins have one of the lowest average home attendance figures as well as the least followers on Twitter among MLB teams (@Marlins – 8,125 followers as of 6/28), they would be a prime candidate to employ a “pay with a tweet” campaign to boost ticket sales, attendance, and social media contacts. This would also be an interesting initiative for the team with the most Twitter followers in MLB (@Yankees – 389,650 followers as of 6/28) as well as a Minor League organization, such as the AAA Sacramento RiverCats (@Rivercats – 6,165 followers as of 6/28).

Interactive McMarketing

June 23, 2011


McDonald’s created a brilliant billboard in the city of Stockholm, Sweden. This “Pick ‘n’ Play” campaign was experimental but returned huge results for the company.

As you see in the video, users connect with the billboard using their smartphone, without having to download additional software (big perk!) The user is prompted to pick their favorite McDonald’s snack to begin, and then play a game of pong on the billboard using their smartphone to control their paddle. If the user wins the game, a coupon for a free snack that they chose is sent straight to their phone.

Team executives would be wise to follow this excellent interactive marketing strategy and apply the concept to their home stadiums. Those tailgating or entering the stadium would gladly participate and play the game on the billboard, especially if they could get something for free out of it. Team sponsors can creatively integrate their product or service into the game, and teams would have the option to rotate every game or series to maximize their partnerships and revenue opportunities.

Foursquare and American Express team up; Sports implications?

June 23, 2011

Foursquare and American Express announced a deal today wherein rewards and incentives will get even better. Users will be able to sync their Foursquare and AmEx accounts where they will receive exclusive discounts and saving at specified locations. For example, shoppers who check in on Foursquare at H&M will recieve a $10 credit to their AmEx account when they spend $75. If you spend $50 at Sports Authority, you will receive a $20 reward. This partnership has great potential and has already created a buzz after an initial test at SXSW back in March involving a “spend $5, get $5” deal.

If used properly, this type of partnership could have big implications on professional sports teams and their use of location-based apps such as Foursquare, Gowalla, or Whrrl. After a proper sync with a team and/or league, there are many possibilities to leverage this type of relationship.


  • Season-Ticket holders receiving credits to an account for every check-in at the game, redeemable at the game or for future ticket purchases with the team (and who wouldn’t want to be the ‘mayor’ of Yankee Stadium?)
  • “Booth of the night” – One sponsor/vendor’s booth is pre-determined by the team each game, and the first fan to check-in at said booth wins credit to store and a shout-out with sponsor on stadium scoreboard (Ex: $25 to Jimmy’s BBQ.)

Out of Stadium

  • Every fan check-in at a team’s sponsor leads to money redeemable at the stadium (Ex: St.Louis Rams fan checks in at U.S. Bank, receives $10 to spend at Edward Jones Dome.)
  • Every fan check-in at a league’s sponsor will allow them to receive cash back if they pay with league’s credit card (Ex: NFL-Visa, NBA-American Express, MLB-Mastercard.)

This American Express/Foursquare is only the tip of the iceberg, but I think it is safe to assume that location-based apps are here to stay, and it will be exciting to see how they can be integrated into sports business.