Thursday, June 9, 2011

#BreakingSportsNews is Trending

Just about everybody is on social media in some way. Teams use it for free advertising. Athletes use it for shameless self-promotion. We common folk use it as a 24 hour a day study break. But how big has social media really become in the sports realm?

In the past two weeks, the sports world has received two huge news stories through Twitter. After 19 years of thunderous dunks and unforgettable moments, the "Big AARP" (otherwise known as Shaq) announced his retirement on Twitter. The second breaking news story came from the thumbs of Tiger Woods. Earlier in the week Tiger announced that he would not be competing in the U.S. Open this month, citing his lingering knee troubles.

The athletes seem to understand the benefits of social media however; the teams and leagues lag far behind. Why is there such a gap? The NBA has been successfully using Facebook and Twitter to take their brand overseas. The UFC has been successfully using social media to continue their exponential growth. The UFC has also added a unique new incentive program. The fighters who have the widest reach on Twitter and have the most creative content will receive bonuses. The UFC has set aside $240,000 for the program.

Social media is changing the way sports media works. Many teams and leagues continue to take the traditional media approach. UFC is an up-and-comer so the new streamline of social media makes sense. More and more athletes are using Twitter to make important announcements, so the fans can find out the same news the insiders are and at the same time. Social media brings interaction between players and fans to the next level. The teams and leagues need to follow the players on this one.

- Written By Kevin Rossi

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