Social media and sports are like macaroni and cheese or peanut butter and jelly…they just go together and make the world a better place.
If you go back to 2005 (16 years ago) and were in to sports, you followed your local teams because that’s all you had access to. Sure, there might be a few different Canadian NHL teams broadcast on Hockey Night in Canada once a week, but that was it. That meant that if someone came to your place, and knew you were a sports fan, that you were a big supporter of your hometown teams…same as your parents and possible the same as their parents.
That’s not the case anymore. Now, one family can have five different teams supported by five different people all living together under one roof. The thing is that it’s not that uncommon.
If you put satellite television and online streaming options aside, nothing has helped that like social media.
It doesn’t matter if you’re into soccer or baseball or hockey or basketball…you can follow any team in any league anywhere in the world.
If you’re a Liverpool FC fan who lives in Manitoba and can’t watch every game, then you can follow the team on Instagram and Twitter to get updates from when the starting lineups are announced until the final whistle blows.
If you’re a hockey fan in Ontario who wants to cheer for the Belfast Giants of the EIHL in the UK, then you like their social media channels for the in-game updates and join the supporters group on Facebook to talk about the latest game with other Giants fans. Other than not physically being at the games, there isn’t much of a difference.
Another way social media has made sports better for the fans is that it makes the players accessible. Professional athletes are no longer just people you hear about on the radio or see pictures of in magazines. Your favourite players on your favourite teams are people you follow on Twitter or Instagram and they may even follow you back.
Social media and sports isn’t just a pairing that is good for fans…it’s also good for the teams.
Say you’re a big junior hockey fan and your local Junior ‘A’ hockey team starts following you on Twitter and interacting with you. How much more likely are you then to promote the team on your account to your followers? By simply hitting follow and giving you a like or two, the team has gained a bigger audience without spending any money.
How much more likely are you to buy a jersey if the team and/or player not only follows you on Twitter/Instagram but actually interacts with you? How much more likely are you to buy tickets to see them play?
Like I said at the start…social media and sports just go together.
I’ve experienced this first-hand on both ends and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Tell me how social media has made the sports and teams and athletes you love more accessible.