SOCIAL MEDIA IN SPORTSocial media has become a hugely popularmode of communication all over the sportingworld. It provides a way for sportingorganisations, clubs, players and fan to interacton a level playing field. The many differenttypes of social media can provide a platform forthoughts, feelings and information regardingany issue in sport that can be easily accessed bypeople all over the world. This however canhave both a positive and negative effect on theway people use social media and are viewed bythe community. The following presentation willexplore the use of social media and thedifference in use across a selection of sports.
WHO USES SOCIAL MEDIA INTHE NFLSocial media is used in all areas of theNFL. The league and franchises usesocial media as a means ofadvertising, sharing league and teamnews, and for special events, eg. Therecent NFL Draft.Players and supporters also use socialmedia, but use is generally on a morepersonal level. Social media providesthe platform for players to voiceopinion and let fans know what ishappening in their personal life. Itgives fans the chance tocommunicate with players like theynever have before.
All types of social media are used in the NFL. The mainplatforms used by the league, fans and players areTwitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. Alternativemodes of social media, such as blogs, are used moreby fans and reporters who are following the gameWHAT TYPES OF SOCIALMEDIA ARE USED?NFL Facebook Page:7.2 Million LikesNFL QuarterbackJoe Flacco:100,133 Twitter FollowersPhiladelphia Eagles:295,479 Twitter FollowersReggie Bush:120,00 InstagramFollowers
POSITIVE INFLUENCES OFSOCIAL MEDIAThere are many NFL players and franchisesthat use social media, particularly Twitter, forgood in the community. NFL QuarterbackDrew Brees is one on these players. Breesuses twitter to advertise his his charity, BreesDream Foundation, and also advertiseupcoming charity events and ways to donate.
NEGATIVE INFLUENCES OFSOCIAL MEDIAPittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhallcaused both national and international controversyfollowing his tweets regarding the death of Osama BinLaden. His tweets outraged much of the population of theUnited States given the sensitivity of the topic of terrorismand the September 11 attacks on New York. AlthoughMendenhall was not punished by his team, the PittsburghSteelers quickly distanced themselves from the comments(Ostrow, 2011) and Mendenhall lost a sponsorship deal withcorporate sponsor Champion.
WHO IN RUGBY UNIONUSES SOCIAL MEDIAThe Qantas Wallabies are one of the most prominent users of socialmedia out of any of the codes in this country. After recognising quiteearly on in the boom of social media, they tapped into the free avenueof connecting supporters and players alike.Players using social media have been able to invite people into their livesand share the highs and lows of being a sports star. It is also a wonderfulway for a player to market themselves to sponsors and endorsements.Sometimes players on social media are becoming more prevalent thanthe sports that created them!Fans are what undoubtedly make the game. One of the most importantaspects of any sports team is that they have a loyal, growing fan base whofeel that they are valued and will therefore stick by the club throughsuccess, failure and middling results (Westhenry 2012).
WHAT TYPES OF SOCIALMEDIA ARE USED?55,666 183,180 56,073 21,687560,296 104,510 839,760 93,000Quade CooperQLD Reds, AUS Wallaby@Quadecooper*as at 14.5.13Qantas Wallabies@QantaswallabiesWithin Rugby Union there arefour MAIN forums of socialmedia used:Twitter, YouTube, Facebookand Instagram.On the left demonstrates thesheer number of followers anorganisation and a high profileplayer have on each of thedifferent types of social media.The uniqueness of these fourdifferent forums of socialmedia is that they arecompletely different in the waythey connect to a largeaudience for free which givesthem a opportunity to engage.
POSITIVE INFLUENCES OFSOCIAL MEDIAMelbourne Rebels and Wallaby James O’Connor recently usedsocial media for a charitable cause. In February 2013, hemade it his mission to raise $10,000 for SpectrumSuperstars, an Autism-Awareness initiative. He used twitterand Instagram (@jamesocconor832) to announce to his fansthat he needed to raise the amount in order for him to shavehis head off, of which there was a particularly rotten haircutalready! After two weeks of repeated tweets and links to thedonation page James had his haircut done by AFL friend Lance‘Buddy’ Franklin with the $10,000 going straight to charity. Itis through his social media fans and supporters he was able toselflessly do this at a benefit to the community.
NEGATIVE INFLUENCES OFSOCIAL MEDIAAfter a record 64-7 loss the the Durban Sharks in SouthAfrica, the Melbourne Rebels were embroiled incontroversy for other reasons besides the score line.After the game Kurtley Beale and Cooper Vuna allegedlyhad a late night punch up. Vuna (@CVUNA) took hisfrustrations to Twitter with an extremely damagingeffect upon his team and the club. Some sources saythat if Vuna had kept his fingers in his pockets then itcould have been kept as an internal problem.Instead both players were sent home in disgrace (Irishtimes 2013) from South Africa on separate flights. Vunawas banned from social media and suspended for agame. Beale was stood down indefinitely with a $40,000fine.
WHO IN AFL USES SOCIALMEDIAThere are a large quantity of AFL playersand officials that use various platforms ofsocial media. These platforms includeFacebook, Twitter and Instagram, whichare all verified and official accounts of theplayers and officials.Superstars of the game including LanceFranklin, Dane Swan and Gary Ablett Jnrare some just some of the examples ofplayers who have fully verified and up todate official Twitter and Instagramaccounts with tens of thousands offollowers.The AFL, teams and several media partnersalso use Twitter as a way of communicatingwith the public with news and otherinformation.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OFSOCIAL MEDIA USEDTwitter is the main type of socialmedia outlet that is used by bothplayers and officials in the AFL. Everyteam in the AFL has an officialtwitter account that is up to dateand provides insight into the life ofthe clubsAnother form of social media whichis used is YouTube. YouTube is usedby the AFL body and the clubs tocommunicate with the public. Thisincludes videos of press conferencesand interviews with the clubs thatgive credible opinions andinformationFacebook and Instagram are twoother services which are used byplayers and the organization. Thesetwo platforms in particular give agreat look into the worlds of AFLclubs and players with pictures andinformation that is available to thepublic.
POSITIVE INFLUENCE OFSOCIAL MEDIA IN AFLYouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have all hada positive influence on the AFL.Facebook and Twitter have enabled clubs to give up todate information with games and club events. This isevident in a recent charity event that was run by theAdelaide Football Club and injured star Taylor Walkerin which would shave his head to raise 50,000 for theLeukaemia. The exposure of this event would not havebeen possible without the use of social media and theOfficial Adelaide FC Facebook page.AFL clubs have used Facebook and YouTube channelsto give the public a view into the depth of the club.Collingwood for example is one club which has anofficial YouTube channel that provides interviews withplayers and match highlights that can be viewed atanytime. This has had a positive response fromsupporters because it has given them an opportunityto see what goes on in and around the club.
NEGATIVE INFLUENCE OFSOCIAL MEDIA IN AFLTo some degree social media has had a negativeinfluence on the AFL. There have been caseswhere players and clubs have been fined and hadsanctions placed against them for breaching rulesof social media use.One example of this is of Melbourne Demonsplayers James Frawley and Ricky Petterd (now atRichmond) both received $2500 fines forcriticising a fellow players suspension over Twitter.This can have a damaging effect on a club andplayers reputation as they are criticizing officials.
WHO USES SOCIAL MEDIAIN THE NBA?Social Media is used by the NBA, itsplayers, teams, fans and related media.The NBA can utilise social media toreach its fans and grow the game. Fanscan benefit from greater access to theirfavourite teams and players. Players canbuild their profile and popularity makingthem more marketable to endorsers.The image right shows the most listedNBA players (Fanpagelist) and as can beseen with players having millions offollowers, the use of social media byplayers and fans is very popular
WHAT TYPES OF SOCIALMEDIA ARE USED?A wide range of social media is used. Here is a sample ofLebron James’s Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts
POSITIVE INFLUENCE OFSOCIAL MEDIAThe 2013 NBA All-Star game gave fans around theworld the opportunity to vote daily for theirfavourite players as starters for the 2013 NBA All-StarGame in Houston. For the first time ever, NBA fansvoted via social media networks, including Facebookand Twitter.Twitter voting allowed fans to tweet a vote for oneplayer each day throughout the All-Star ballotingperiod. The tweet must include a players first andlast name, along with hash tag #NBABALLOT.Facebook voting allowed fans to fill out one fullballot (three frontcourt and two guards from eachconference) per day, through a custom application onFacebook.Kobe Bryant received the mostvotes with 1,591, 437(NBA, 2013)
NEGATIVE INFLUENCEOF SOCIAL MEDIAFormer Nuggets superstar Carmelo Anthonyoffered up $5,000 to the first person to showhim video footage of someone slapping KatStacks. Melo deleted the tweet saying that hisaccount was hacked. Unfortunately his wifewas later quoted bragging about theincident..... (Bleacher Report 2012 number 4)The New York Knicks lost to the Miami Heatin 5 games in the NBA playoffs. ObviouslyAmare Stoudemire was in a bad mood afterthe loss replying aggressively to a fanstweet. (Bleacher Report 2012 number 9)
Overall use of social media has been hugely positive for the growth of theNBA. The fan experience is improved in so may ways and players haveembraced the use of social media to reach their fans. It is true that therehave been some misdirected comments from players which willdisappoint some members of the public. However , a large segment offans enjoy seeing honesty from their favourite players. It shows that theyare human and makes them easier to relate to. As fans we get an insightinto players personalities that we would not normally get to see behindthe clichéd, controlled and robotic environment of professional sports.As social media grows, so will the sport and I for one cant wait to seewhere it ends up.CONCLUSION
REFERENCES(Fanpagelist) Fan Page List, Most listed NBA players on Twitter, viewed on 18May 2013, http://fanpagelist.com/category/athletes/nba/view/list/sort/lists/(NBA 2013) National Basketball Association, 2013, Top vote-getter Kobeearns record 15th straight All-star trip, The National BasketballAssociation, viewed 18 May2013, http://www.nba.com/2013/news/01/17/all-star-2013-starters-announced/index.html(Bleacher report 2012 number 9) Lee, Amber, 2012, The Biggest TwitterDisasters in Sports, Bleacher Report, viewed 18 May2013, http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1282707-the-biggest-twitter-disasters-in-sports/page/13(Bleacher report 2012 number 4) Lee, Amber, 2012, The Biggest TwitterDisasters in Sports, Bleacher Report, viewed 18 May2013, http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1282707-the-biggest-twitter-disasters-in-sports/page/18
REFERENCES CONTWesthenry 2012, “Sports stars on Twitter: Marketing Genius or Massive Twits?”, BleacherReport, 12 October, viewed 14 May 2013, <http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1365810-social-media-in-sport-fantastic-future-or-tweeting-twits>Irish Times 2013, “Kurtley Beale stood down from super rugby again”, Irishtimes.com, viewed12 May 2013, <http://www.irishtimes.com/sport/rugby/international/kurtley-beale-stood-down-from-super-rugby-again-1.1387333>https://twitter.com/JamesOConnor832https://twitter.com/QuadeCooperhttps://twitter.com/QantasWallabieshttps://twitter.com/CVUNA
REFERENCES CONTFox Sports, Guy Hand, Melissa Woods. 2013. AFL Fines Melbourne Demons Players.[ONLINE] Available at: http://www.foxsports.com.au/afl/afl-premiership. [Accessed 16 May13].
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