“The lifeblood of college football fandom is changing.”
Or so reads the opening line in a recent article from Wired magazine on how social media is changing the collegiate sports marketing and news world.
It’s hard to imagine that just a few short years ago (in 2009), the SEC actually considered banning social media at sporting events, before adopting a much more realistic and beneficial not-for-profit social media policy – allowing fans to post updates and pictures, as long as they made no money doing so.
Now, social media has become the go-to resource for many fans seeking fan photos, news, information and behind-the-scenes peeks for their favorite teams. The same Wired article writes:
“Social media is a win-win for college football because it can act as both a conduit for personal interactions and a source for information. That means Michigan fans, from news hounds to stat nerds to those with a voice to share, have a place to bleed Maize and Blue pixels alongside their fellow college football community.”
Kent State recently created a social hub on their website, where fans of the Flashes can interact with and view all Kent State related social media content. Kent State used Postano to aggregate all of the fan-generated social media content (via hashtag), along with the official school feeds, and then display the content on the site.
Interacting on Social Media During Games
According to a recent infographic from Burst Media, 45% of 18-35 year olds follow sports teams or athletes online, and 35% of them regularly use social media to comment on, tweet/retweet, share or link to online sports content.
Leveraging Fan-Generated Content: Creating Social Media Command Centers
Collegiate and professional sports teams and leagues have taken notice of how fans can help propel and drive their own marketing efforts (read: Using Fan-Generated Content to Fuel Sports Marketing Campaigns).
In 2011, the New Jersey Devils became one of the first teams to create a social media “Mission Control” based solely on the premise that fans wanted to be able to voice their opinions, ideas and stories around the NJ Devils brand.
The social media “Mission Control” was used as a social hub where a team of dedicated fans manning the center could interact with, engage and repost fan content.
According to Brafton, the campaign was a huge success. The team’s Facebook fans increased from 100,000 to 170,000, the Twitter follower account grew to over 25,000 followers, and the Devils grossed $17,000 in incremental revenue.
Based on this success, the University of Oregon Ducks became the first collegiate sports program to unveil their own social media command center, dubbed the Quack Cave, where a team of socially savvy students monitor fan content from Twitter and Instagram based on hashtags. The Quack Cave team is then able to repost the best of the content, see what has fans talking, and engage with the most influential and passionate fans creating content.
The Ducks also use the Quack Cave social media dashboard (powered by Postano) to push the best of their fan content to a live social hub on their public facing website – creating a one stop shop for fans looking for all of the latest and greatest social media content related to the Ducks.