How Social Media Is Changing Sports

By: Joey Vento

I am a Sport Management major, but I took this Understanding Social Media class because I thought it would be interesting. When it came time for me to contribute to our class blog this week I decided, what better way than to have it relate to my major. While I knew athletes and professional leagues were actively involved in social media, I didn’t realize how much things were changing because of it until I started researching.

What got me thinking about it was an episode of “NFL Total Access” a few weeks ago when a panel discussed “Social Media Concerns.” They spoke about how news and rumors are easier to access because of social media. Some of it is legitimate news, while some NFL players for example, cause problems when they’re not careful before they send things out into the internet.

I started to see articles online of how the NFL has embraced social media and how they are dominating social media. I thought about how the NBA is currently in a lockout. If you head over to the official site of the NBA you won’t see news about your favorite player and what he’s been doing this off season. Only news about labor talks and the history of the league. But that’s not a problem because you can probably find your favorite player on Twitter and find out exactly what he’s doing. Also, if you want to know exactly what the players think of the lockout, just follow them because they’ll mention it here and there.

The NBA has over 3,000,000 followers on Twitter, the NFL has almost 2,500,000, the MLB over 1,500,000, and the NHL has over 750,000. Many individual athletes, just like pop stars and other celebrities, have a couple million followers. As a result, news and marketing for sports has taken a major shift into the world of social media.

Sport organizations are recognizing that fans can get news faster, interact directly with teams and players, and voice their opinions. Some of the top athletes in the world make much more money off sponsorship deals than their actual salaries.  So what better place to promote a brand these days than on social media sites? Athletes can now build their personal brand well before they start to get offered deals. They can make themselves worth a lot more this way, and do it on their own by building their social media presence.

Arguably one of the strongest sports brand of all-time is the one Michael Jordan created for himself. He has two sons that are currently in college but have already started working on their own personal brands with an announcement of the soon to launch website Heir Jordan. How they’re promoting it? You guessed it, social media.

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