In the past few years football fans have been reaching beyond television to interact with others and share their bouts of victory and defeat on social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Consumer research found that 60% of NFL viewers have a second screen running during any given game, whether it’s a PC, tablet, or smartphone.
Because of the nature of sports as a social activity, it makes sense for fans to desire interaction – and social media is the perfect platform to have those conservations in real time. On January 8, Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow set a Twitter record when his game-winning touchdown pass led to over 9,000 tweets per second. The ability to connect directly with their favorite players on Twitter is another incentive for NFL fans to use social media outlets.
The influence of social media marketing on football is highlighted this year with the first ever Super Bowl Social Media Command Center. Super Bowl XLVI host city Indianapolis has opened a 2,800 square foot station downtown comprised of techies, analysts and strategists who are communicating with fans via social media this week on all issues from parking advice and directions to an emergency means of contact. This may prove a valuable tool as the city anticipates 150,000 people to pour into its Lucas Oil Stadium on game day. From Monday, January 30 through Sunday, February 5, sixteen full-time staffers and thirty volunteers will operate the command center for 15 hours a day. They will manage the Super Bowl XLVI Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and Foursquare accounts as well as a blog.
The nearby Ball State University’s Center for Media Design will be conducting a study to evaluate the effect of the command center, with the expectation that this ground-breaking experiment may be repeated at future events in other cities.
Do you think we will see this experimentation repeated? Has social media changed your consumption of sports? Let us know your thoughts!