Sports, Social Television and Social Media (Infographic)

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  • January 8, 2014

sportsentertainmentI’ve previously mentioned (guaranteed actually) that I believe social media marketing efforts for 2014 will begin to be more be focused on sports and entertainment and the integration of brand partners.

Accordingly, I’ve been doing a lot of research and I’m finding that it appears the basis for my change of focus is correct.

The fusing of social media with sports and entertainment seems to be the sweet spot for relational marketing. Social media is music.

Social media is sports. Social media is entertainment. The facts continue to support that.

Let’s look at how sports affects social television. I have some very recent data to show you.

The BCS Championship game played last Monday evening was amazing in a number of different ways. The game itself was thrilling. However, it also broke ground in social television.

According to Nielsen SocialGuide, college football fans pumped out 4.4 million Tweets during the game. Based on SocialGuide’s analytics, the game at its highest point generated 85,822 TPM (tweets per minute)

As a part of it’s broadcast, ESPN, with the help of Mass Relevance covered the game like no other football game has ever been televised. ESPN created the “Megacast” that broadcast additional viewing options for fans, including #TitleTalk on ESPN 2.

TitleTalk featured a social stripe on the bottom of the screen that highlighted top Tweets from ESPN personalities, celebrities, athletes and fans, along with Twitter polls and trends.

It was unbelievable. Take a look at the video excerpt below. It was like watching a game the way you watch it at home with your party guests. That is, if your party had guests like Tim Tebow, Johnny Football, and Derrick Rose…but that fact aside, I don’t want to watch football any other way than how the Megacast broadcast it.

I couldn’t even imagine the interaction that would occur if the Super Bowl did this. Without a Megacast last year’s Super Bowl generated 24.1 million #SB47 Tweets.

How strong is the conversation around sports and entertainment events?

  • #NBAFinals: 26.7 million Tweets captured the dramatic 7-game series that saw @KingJames lead the @MiamiHEAT over the @Spurs.
  • #RockInRio: An incredible lineup of artists brought the @RockInRio party to Twitter, a seven-day music festival that generated more than 8 million Tweets.
  • Primetime Emmys:Whatever your favorite show, Twitter was the place to be during the Emmys, with more than 900,000 Tweets sent by talent and fans alike.
  • World Series: #GetBeard vs #PostCards The @RedSox outlasted the @Cardinals 4-2 in a series featuring a fun pair of hashtags and an unprecedented finish, which racked up 6.5 million Tweets.
  • #2013MAMA: Asia’s top music awards saw K-pop’s finest cement its huge global influence on Twitter. 3.8 million Tweets were sent about the show from around the world in less than 24 hours.
  • #GRAMMYS: during the broadcast of music’s biggest night, fans sent more than 14 million Tweets about the GRAMMYs. The biggest spikes in Twitter conversation about the show were Jay-Z, Kanye West, Frank Ocean, and The Dream win for best rap collaboration (and Jay-Z jokes about The Dream’s hat): 116,400 TPM, Rihanna’s solo performance: 114,800 TPM, Prince announces Record of the Year: 109,400 TPM and when Fun. won the best new artist: 100,600 TPM.

Nothing beats sports and entertainment in regards to social media engagement. Sure, world news events are huge:

  • The New Pope: When the new Pope was announced the world engaged to the tune of more than 130,000 Tweets per minute.
  • Boston Marathon bombings: We were shocked and watched in horror as the world discussed he bombings, the manhunt, and the spirit of not giving in to terrorism via the hashtag #bostonstrong with 27 million

But we’re talking marketing. Most of us find it in bad taste to market around certain world news events.  In that regard, I affirm. There are no better opportunities for marketers to align with than with sports and entertainment oriented events. Nothing even comes close.

***note to self… each of those hashtags mentioned above are still live! People are still talking about those topics***

That’s why the most agile and innovative of brands seek to ambush or integrate with sports and entertainment. No one looks forward to a brand’s tweet or Facebook update. What they care about is knowing your brand is contextually relevant.

That’s why Oreo amazed us with their tweet.


That’s why Denny’s rocked it on Monday night.


These brands understand what it means to dive deep into the conversation and be native. It’s also why I believe the brands that will win more than one time per year MUST integrate into sports and entertainment. Why be a part of a conversation once when you can be relevant year round?

I remember telling a client that their social media marketing strategy should be summed up in one word. Ubiquity. Be everywhere your audience is. Don’t try to bring them to you. Go where they are. To use another sports analogy. It’s why they call it “going fishing“. You go to where the fish are and if your bait and timing is good, you catch fish.

The brand I advised didn’t take my advice and floundered in futility on social media. They did it completely wrong. Actually they continue to be adrift. Floating in the sea of irrelevance with no compass to guide them and no engine power (content) to power them out of their malaise. I believe that a lot of brands are going to have to take a serious look in the mirror and come to the reality that they are marketing incorrectly on social media.

Sure, they have a couple million fans on Facebook. But they get basically zero engagement. No one cares about what they post. No once shares their content. Their agency doesn’t know how to get them any positive notoriety. A staff of people are mired in hopeless mediocrity when all they had to do was listen. Ubiquity. They had the answer.

It amazes me how many brands seek to find ways to be noticed and heard above the din of the noise on social media without really looking at the data. I’m going to go out on a limb and say this right now. In 2014, if your brand is not engaging in relevant conversations that your audience is participating in, you’re wasting your time and you’ll not likely see that ROI you seek.

If you’ve been in social media marketing for any real amount of time you’ve undoubtedly heard the ROI argument. The suits are right. There isn’t any meaningful ROI in ordinary social media. Facebook’s not showing your content. Folks on Twitter don’t want to read your canned copy pablum. No one wants to watch a commercial on YouTube. So just stop.

Many reading this will say sports and entertainment are indeed where the audience is but “we don’t have the budget” to gain entry into that marketplace. Sure you do. But that’s a subject for another article.

I dabbled in a bit of creative by producing an infographic of sorts that underscores just how big the sports market is in relation to social media. I also created one for music and social media that you can find here.

The graphic on sports that you will find below has a number of key facts:

  • Only 1.3% of all televised programming is sports related
  • Yet, over 50% of all tweets are about sports
  • 80%+ of sports fans monitor social media sites while watching games on TV
  • 60%+ do so while watching live events
  • 81% of people prefer to get their sports news online over radio and other traditional sources
  • 68% of sports fans regard marketing messages from athletes and teams have a neutral or positive feeling

When looking at the social media marketing opportunity that sports and entertainment presents, I can’t help but think of Simon Sinek and his axiom of conducting business.

“The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”

How do you find people who believe that your cupcakes are the best cupcakes ever made? How do you find people who believe that you make the best barbecue sauce in the world? How do you find people who believe that you make the best potato chips in the world?

The answer? I’m not sure. I’m also not interested in spending time, money and effort to find out. I want to work with people who have already expressed a belief similar to mine….about things I actually care about.

You can laugh at my choice in music but I’m a product of the 80’s arena rock scene and I like Bon Jovi’s music. I’ve been a Dallas Cowboys fan my entire life. (and Romo is killing me!!!) I’m as die hard a Notre Dame Fighting Irish fan as they come. I think Rihanna is amazing. I feel that the Miami Dolphins ownership needs to clean house. I think the Miami Heat are going to take the title again! I hate…I mean I loathe, the New York Yankees…which means I’m a part of the BoSox Nation.

Now I have to ask you a question.

How many MILLIONS if not TENS OF MILLIONS of people believe what I believe? Second question. How hard do I have to look to find those people who believe what I do?

Social media marketing via sports and entertainment is shooting fish in a barrel. I already know where my audience is. I know how to interact with them. I know what they like and I know what they don’t. I don’t need to read any data reports to tell me. I don’t need any consultants. I don’t need any case studies.

I just need to be where they are. I need to be ubiquitous.

Can your brand say that with the same confidence? Maybe 2014 should be the year you understand the need for truly cultivating and interacting with your audience in a much more broad fashion.

They may buy your products, but they believe in sports and entertainment. Maybe that’s why they called them fans and followers. Interesting that they weren’t called customers isn’t it?

Check out the infographic below.

(click on image below to see in full-size mode…then click the X in the upper right corner to fully expand it)

1sportssocial

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About Barry Cunningham

Barry Cunningham is an antagonist of conventional wisdom. Helping brands & sports teams become the media. Making consumers happy one innovative campaign at a time. #socialtv Click to join Barry Cunningham on Google+ Google

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