Social Media in Professional Sports

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The explosion of social media continues in society today. The sports arena might be one of the biggest places for this ‘new’ form of communication. Our Professional Sports Administration students looked at pro athletes’ and executives’ social media accounts and answered questions based on the content they found. They also discussed the broader social media implication to the world of sport. Check out a few responses below.

By: Craig Otter

Today a large amount of people in the professional sports world use social media.  Some may use it to make money, find significant others, or just to have fun.  I am going to analyze two professional athletes (Reggie Jackson and Ezekiel Ansah) and two professional sports executives (Tom Gores and Rod Wood).

Athletes  

After looking into Reggie Jackson’s twitter account I believe he is personally posting his own content based on his tweet referencing the Super Bowl, “Screw the game the game will screw you #TB12 #GOAT.”  He also tweeted, “5:48am, touched down can’t wait to crawl into bed.”  I do not think anyone who is letting someone tweet for them will write something so casual.  I believe Reggie does a variety of things with his tweets.  He gives his personal thoughts, it’s a way for him to be entertain or be entertained, to help kids by tweeting charity events, and by giving people props.

Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah looks to post all of his twitter content by himself.  After examining his tweets I do not believe what he is putting on Twitter looks professional, and he also has grammatical errors.  Ziggy goes on to tweet bout his personal interests including the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Ghana Soccer, and he also congratulated former teammate Kyle Van Noy on winning a Super Bowl with the Patriots.  All of these tweets align with personal usage.  It seems that Ziggy uses this social media platform to have fun, tweet what he feels, promote his country, give recognition to friends, and promote his endorsement deal with Hungry Howies.

Executives

Tom Gores, the owner of the Detroit Pistons uses Twitter to promote different things like Platinum Equity, a global private equity firm.  He also uses Twitter to network, as he and Dan Gilbert were “kicking around ideas.”  He uses Twitter to help raise money for residents of Flint deal with their water crisis.  I believe being the owner of the Pistons and multiple other companies he needs to make sure his behavior both on-line and in-person are above reproach.

Rodney Wood, The Detroit Lion’s Team President mainly uses Twitter to make the Detroit Lions appealing and promote the team.  He tweeted about the Lions updating Ford Field with wifi for a better fan experience.  He also tweeted a picture of updates to the stadium like the new standing room only section.  Like Tom Gores, Rod Wood needs to always be on guard with whatever he does so he is never a distraction from the team so he can maximize the profit the organization brings in.

Social Media in Pro Sports

Social media is a great platform for building a loyal fan base.  Currently we live in a society where we want what we want, and we want it now!  Social media provides that almost insatiable desire of the most avid fans.  Fans do not have to wait for or buy the newspaper anymore.  They go directly to the teams twitter account or favorite athlete’s Facebook page and get their fill.  Pablo Sandoval’s story is an example of a disadvantage of using social media to get the latest news to fans.  Pablo got traded to another team. Before he could even break the news to his teammates it was all over social media.  Things like this does not create a team cohesiveness needed to win.

By: Chelsea Kouri

The two athletes that I followed in order to observe their social media presence were Kevin Durant and Mike Fisher. I am very confident that Mike Fisher posts a majority of his content on his own. He is known to be a person who is very into his faith and he posts about that and more personal things such as his family and especially his wife Carrie Underwood. I think more personal posts come from the athletes themselves and I would say more than 90% of his content is more personal. He has some retweets but he also makes comments with these retweets which again make me believe that he is posting his own content. Kevin Durant on the other hand is a little harder to be sure. He has a TON of retweets about apps and things that involve him that almost anyone could do. however the loose language used makes me believe that he also tweets his own content. When other people tweet for athletes I feel like it is usually extremely professional even in 140 characters. I feel that Kevin Durant’s twitter is all about exposure. As i mentioned getting his apps and emojis attention or camps that he does or eye wear. Its basically advertisement. Mike Fisher’s on the other hand reflects more of who he is as a person. Again posting more personal content you see more about his life outside of hockey and the type of person he is. He seems to be giving fans a closer look at who he is behind the athlete.

The two executives that I followed were Mark Cuban and John Elway. As many know Mark Cuban is way more than just a basketball executive. He is part of a show called Shark Tank and very out spoken when it comes to things that he believes in. A lot of the more recent of Mark’s tweets are retweets about either political things, shark tank or things that are happening within the Mavericks organization. I think that everyone who is very well known may have someone to manage part of their account. Retweets of information about the owner of the twitter account is easy for anyone to do. But I believe the main part of Mark’s twitter is all him. Just because of the type of person he is. He is not afraid to share his opinion and he doesn’t need any help in doing that. I don’t think he would allow anyone to limit what he says on his account. John Elway is a little harder to read. His tweets are pretty basic. I think his account could easily be run by someone else. There is not too much opinion on his account. I do believe he tweets his own content every once in a while but I also think there is a very good possibility that someone else posts his content for him. He seems to be limited to information about the Broncos or at least all football related things.

Social media is almost necessary for high profile people these days. How they use it can hurt or help them in their endeavors. Some use it to advertise themselves and some use it in order to let their fans get to know them more personally. Either way it is capable of creating a larger fan base for them. When you get to see what an athlete is like outside of the game your opinion of them can change totally. Whether it is for better or worse. From a marketing standpoint twitter and Facebook are 24/7 outlets and new can be dropped at any time. This can be very important for the business side of things.

By: Michael Feld

For this assignment, I chose to follow the Twitter accounts of NFL punter Marquette King and former Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson. On the executive end, I went with Lions president Rod Wood and Maple Leafs GM Brendan Shanahan.

There is little doubt that King is in control of his own account. Aside from being on the league’s top punters, King is notorious for having one of the best Twitter accounts in the league. His content is plentiful, lighthearted and humorous. He’s done a great job to build his online brand (149,000 followers) as well as his personal brand with his account. While I do believe King uses his account to interact with fans and as something fun, I’m also convinced he’s well aware he’s marketing himself. He’s one of very few punters that have become household names, which can lead to plenty of marketing deals.

Calvin Johnson is a different story. He sparingly used his account as an active player, and has mainly stuck to forwarding Instagram images and advertising his appearances on Dancing with the Stars. While I do think he is responsible for most of his tweets, I am convinced the recent marketing attempts came from a phone/computer not belonging to Johnson. A private player like Johnson isn’t looking for a lot of attention (66,000 followers) and is sticking to minor marketing choices with his account.

Rod Wood’s account is a marketing extension. It’s almost 100 percent news releases, sponsors, and photos from games/events. Wood has used his name as a way to keep hardcore fans up-to-date with the latest Lions press releases. Essentially, the account is geared toward people looking for a specific type of tweet. He’s only tweeted 41 times, so the account is likely in full control of the team. Surely, the limitations are to keep it positive and informative.

Brendan Shanahan’s Twitter account was created when he was in the league office. As Leafs GM, it’s photos and retweets with fans, as well as posts of old and vintage Red Wings posts. I believe Shanahan is using the account to show a bit of personality in a cutthroat job considered to be owned by stiff executives. I don’t think he has many limitations from the team; the jokes and inside bit tweets are right there with the fan photos. I believe the Maple Leafs have allowed Shanahan to be himself as long as it does not present negative attention.

The biggest thing social media has done for athletes, teams and executives is humanize them across the board. While it certainly has several drawbacks, I think it’s fantastic in building individual and team fan bases. Simply put, it builds a brand. The two biggest issues are that there is obviously concerns with pushing the envelope or going too far, as well as the negativity fans also provide on any given moment. By in large, however, athletes and teams showing personalities are a win-win on social media.

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