To brand or not to brand.
Social media’s reach into the sports world has been unprecedented, constantly creating new landscapes and opportunities that are evolving as we speak. In what ways can we take advantage of this?
A quick glance at the sports world and on the surface it looks as familiar as we’ve always known. The baseball season is now halfway over with the conclusion of the All Star game in DC, and NFL training camp looms over us. You look at reddit in the morning to get your fix of news: a well known football player was arrested on suspicion of DUI last night, a head coach got a well deserved raise, and that college team has a new gopher mascot. Cute. And then your phone buzzes twitter blue. That cranky owner of the team with the arrested football player is tweeting about it, and tweeted something racist. You’re also not surprised, he done this before. Now that progressive journalist is causing a fuss. And that conservative baseball player is coming to the owner’s defense. “How can this happen so fast?”, you say.
That’s a made up story, but it sounds believable enough. The sports world has not been immune to the influence of social media. IT surrounds us from all sides, and there is no escape. As time has passed we have learned to embrace it for the benefits it brings us, while also understanding how it can hurt us.
Twitter isn’t just for the president anymore, it’s for Joe Schmo Running Back, who just has a big year and needs to feed his kids with a new contract.
Bell has a history of holding out and knows the Pittsburgh fan base will listen to everything he says online, generating public sympathy toward his situation and putting pressure on the team to meet his demands. He’s done this in the past, and he knows it works.
It’s for the new outspoken rookie with a crush.
Or the random MLB pitcher who wants you to know how random he is.
Or the face of the NBA who has something to say to the President.
While nobody expects LeBron James to bite his tongue, it was a big step into the political realm for him and he received a lot of feedback. But LeBron has a brand, and he knows that everything he say will be connected to him forever. And if he’s got something to say, and he knows people are listening, he’s The power of social has a lot of power and he had decided to use his to incite change.
So do reporters have a role here? Can they create a brand?
By creating a brand, like everyone else. The shifting of relevance in who is breaking the story, to the story itself, is evident. There has been an increased emphasis on releasing information first, and that task has been shared between reporters, players, and owners. and have led to some interesting stories and exchanges. In 2015, NBA Center DeAndre Jordan famously walked away from signing a deal with the Dallas Mavericks at the last minute, and the story was famously documented on twitter, leading to this exchange:
So be careful. Remember, when you put something out there for all to read, you reap what you sow. Or if you’re Jose Canseco, maybe you just don’t care…
Social media will only grow more relevant as we become more connected. It is an awesome journey we get to be apart of, to see real change in real time. I wonder what so many athletes would have said in the past. We have a wonderful opportunity to explore our current world from a different perspective and we are going to make many mistakes along the way. But it sure is entertaining.