To help us celebrate 5 years… yes 5 years… to the day of Digital Sport (and its previous iteration, UK Sports Network) I’ve asked some of our original contributors back to give some of their thoughts on the changes they have seen in that time. First up is Mark Segal who had the ‘honour’ of being the site’s first ever author on 22nd January 2010!
Last year we covered the first Sport Social Media Index, compiled by the guys at Umpf in Leeds and ranked by a panel of four judges. The list covers 148 professional football, rugby and cricket teams in the UK and is the most comprehensive of its kind.
Manchester United are celebrating another Facebook milestone, this time passing the 60m fan mark on their page.
Although somewhat behind the likes of former player Cristiano Ronaldo, who recently became the first athlete to pass the 100m mark, and also European rivals FC Barcelona (77m) and Real Madrid (75m).
1966 was founded in 2006 by Terry Byrne and specialises in maximising intellectual property rights, global licensing, branding, endorsements and appearances globally within the football industry.
The team consists of coaches, ex players, managers and global brand and events experts with world-class expertise within the sports industry.
1966 exclusively manages the commercial interests of the England football team including full representation and management of the players commercial programme and relationship with the FA and its partners
Role: Social Media Manager
Salary: £25k-£30k pa
Reporting directly to the Head of Communications, the Social Media Manager will be responsible for creating and implementing the social media strategy for all companies within the 1966 group and specific individuals within the footballing industry.
- Create social media channels and populate
- Grow followers b2b for SEO
- Give individual advice to high profile sporting personal on content strategy for their own social media channels
England Footballers Foundation
- Social media content strategy and calendar to grow followers and engagement
- Work with the players themselves to create content, tweets etc
- Hands on approach to create, implement and populate the strategy for the 1966 groups social media presence across existing platforms on a day-to-day basis.
- Daily moderation, content updates, monitoring and community management of social platforms
- Provide your own creative flair and social media expertise
- Reporting to key internal stakeholders on new and emerging social media platforms and wider market trends.
Desired Skills and Experience
- A minimum two years relevant digital/social media experience.
- Displays in-depth knowledge and understanding of Social Media platforms and their respective participants (Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Google+Local, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest etc) and how each platform can be utilised in different scenarios
- Some background knowledge of Public Relations would be useful
- Possesses ability to identify potential negative or crisis situations and apply conflict resolution principles to mitigate issues
- Strong project management or organisational skills
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
- Must be comfortable with out-of-hours work and working reactively to tight deadlines.
- Knowledge of and interest in football and its unique position within social media.
- Track record of increasing reach and engagement through own ideas and individual management of social accounts.
- Demonstrates creativity and documented immersion in social media, and can provide examples.
- Familiarity with social monitoring tools.
- A team player with confidence to take the lead and guide other employees where necessary.
- Familiarity of working with high-profile figures.
Applications should be sent into firstname.lastname@example.org
Tomorrow sees this year’s Open Golf Championship take place at Royal Liverpool. Starting on Thursday it sees the world’s top golfers, including Tiger Woods after a lengthly absence through injury, come to our shores for one of the most testing events on the golfing calendar.
Golf has been a sport that has embraced digital advances over the past few years, at the top end at least. You can find most players on Twitter (more so than Facebook) and each major event looks to engage with the thousands of fans who come through the gates, as well as the millions who tune in on TV.
Kevin Bain is the R&A’s Digital Manager who is based most of the time in the beautiful town of St. Andrews (the home my family originates from). Last week I was delighted that Kevin could take some time out of his hectic diary to speak to me about what their plans are for this years event.
It’s all over. The most connected World Cup. The most digital World Cup. The most social World Cup…ever.
New sporting records were set for tweets sent, Facebook interactions and inappropriate photos involving Mario Balotelli and the Queen.
But with everyone from sponsors to sports stars, brands to broadcasters clambering over themselves to tap into the Brazilian buzz, what made you smile or share?
Andy McKenzie of digital sports content specialists LiveWire Sport picked out some memorable moments from the last month.
— Twitter Data (@TwitterData) July 14, 2014
The weeks and months leading up to major events are always hugely important for brands to maximise their time with big names before disappearing behind FIFA’s commercial curtain.
Digital campaigns leading up to the World Cup Finals generally centred around gaining maximum exposure for high-end advertising campaigns featuring star players.
Nice storytelling, a hint of humour and Rooney’s dodgy Scouse accent helped earn their 64m YouTube views for The Last Game, without any of their stars presumably even having to appear in front of a green screen or step into a recording booth.
Good job they got in early as the only player in the campaign that made it as far as the semi-finals was David Luiz, who perhaps took Nike’s ‘Risk Everything’ message too seriously.
Hats off to the Daily Telegraph’s Project Babb for a brilliantly stitched together Roy Hodgson rap. Altogether now – “You’ve got to hold and give…”
Time to unveil the shiny new technological toys.
The official FIFA.com site had a new live centre and a social hub that was packed full of detail and data, with sponsors like McDonald’s, Hyundai, Castrol and Budweiser handed some prime real estate, while Sony had a destination of their own at One Stadium Live.
Facebook created a World Cup hub to access content, while Twitter rolled out a number of innovations including hashflags, man-of-the-match voting (sponsored by Budweiser), score updates and dedicated match pages for each game.
ITV used Grabyo and partnered with Paddy Power and Twitter Amplify to maximise their live rights, while everyone enjoyed some friendly fun at the expense of Robbie Savage
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 16, 2014
Every detail of the tournament was analysed – even down to who won the World Cup of arm-folding (some welcome news for Tottenham fans).
The rapid rise of real-time content continues.
Who can react quickest to those huge talking points, with brands all trying to create that ‘Oreo moment’.
Adidas set up a newsroom in Rio to react to events by creating content and it seems the #allin motto applies to the resources they put behind it.
— Listerine Global (@ListerineGlobal) July 13, 2014
Brazil’s monumental fall from grace was perfect Paddy Power territory
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) July 9, 2014
while PornHub gained an unexpected uplift in extra followers on the back of their tweet.
Please stop uploading the game highlights to Pornhub… Our public humiliation category is full. #BrazilvsGermany
— Pornhub Katie (@Pornhub) July 8, 2014
Brilliant Ads shared a quite brilliant take on the 2014 logo that got nearly 13k retweets
— Brilliant Ads (@Brilliant_Ads) July 8, 2014
while @brazuca was silenced for one night.
— Getty Images Sport (@GettySport) July 8, 2014
Hats off to the Scottish FA for reacting to Germany’s crushing of Brazil with a timely and humorous post about their upcoming Euro 2016 qualifier (v Germany).
Things turned out nice in the end for adidas in their battle with Nike as Messi and Muller, Argentina and Germany all manufactured their way to the final, seeing off the Nike-sponsored pair of Brazil and the Netherlands in the semi-finals.
Adidas had David Beckham on their YouTube show The Dugout, the official ball, the winners of the Golden Glove, the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot.
Nike still had the match-winning Mario Gotze
— Nike Football (@nikefootball) July 13, 2014
but maybe nobody reacted better than Lufthansa to Germany’s win.
As another major sporting event passes through our timelines, what has stood out for you? Did we miss any outstanding World Cup content? Is anyone out there really interested in animals predicting scores?
Guest Post: Tom Kelk is a tech/sport blogger and Senior Social Exec at communications agency, Pitch. You can find him on Twitter (@TomKelk)
This is the first World Cup where brands have heavily activated around the tournament through digital channels – when they have no sponsored right to do so. Since South Africa 2010, Facebook has more than doubled its monthly active users, Twitter users now send more than 10x as many tweets per day and now Instagram exists!
The social media landscape has been transformed in four years, and gives an indication to why brands are putting the effort into activating around Brazil 2014. Surely all this chatter around an event is a dream come true for the official sponsors? It’s not quite that simple.
In a recent study by Unruly Media, only four of the top 11 most viewed brand ads about the World Cup were from sponsors. Less than half. Continental Tyres – one of the leading official sponsors, didn’t feature at all. Sony – an official partner, are nowhere to be seen.
Unsurprisingly, Nike use their assets and force the relation in the minds of consumers. All the Nike-sponsored teams and players were involved in their heavy-cost ad that implies they are official sponsors – but they’re not. If you did a poll, how many would say Nike were a main World Cup sponsor?
Beats have come out trumps from this World Cup through an impressive ad utilising their playing assets. Again, no ‘right’ to have a World Cup conversation but used World Cup players to enable the link with the consumer.
Obviously the study isn’t flawless, but it does continue to highlight an interesting question. In the digital age, is there still the same value in being an official sponsor?
To answer the question, it’s worth dissecting a sponsorship package to understand where the value still lies, and where better to look, than FIFA.
FIFA state that a sponsor benefits from: “Wide product category exclusivity which is afforded to all Commercial Affiliates, allowing each brand to distinguish themselves from competing brands in their product category.” Now, whilst this has been aggressively reinforced in and around the stadiums, this is far from true in a digital space. To start with, look at the table above. Nike above adidas, Samsung above Sony and Nissan above Hyundai. Not looking that distinguished from competitors there… What about beer brands? Budweiser, official sponsor, have activated heavily around the World Cup:
— Budweiser UK (@BudweiserUK) June 28, 2014
But has that stopped Newcastle Brown Ale benefitting from the platform? Not one bit.
Fair-weather fandom never tasted so good. pic.twitter.com/1TBt8XGPLD
— Newcastle Brown Ale (@Newcastle) June 16, 2014
Another key benefit outlined by FIFA, is “offering a unique platform vis-à-vis their competitors.” This point is the crux of the debate. I would argue that this platform has disintegrated in recent years. Social media has enabled brands without the official connection to ambush these ‘unique platforms’.You only have to consider the Suarez incident.
— SNICKERS® (@SNICKERS) June 24, 2014
— Listerine Global (@ListerineGlobal) June 24, 2014
There was a clamour for attention from brands off the back of the biting incident, but how many were official? The only one that springs to mind, was the Uruguayan Mcdonald’s Twitter account, which was more than likely not signed off in the higher echelons of Mcdonald’s as FIFA would absolutely frown upon sponsors discussing the incident!
Aside from the conversation, what else do FIFA sponsors have the ‘right’ to use? They can use official tournament title and logos – but is it beneficial, or is that in fact a hindrance? When using social media, audiences have developed an eye for official titling, and have almost developed an instinctive filter to those posts. Besides, as seen with the Snickers tweet above, who needs to reference the World Cup when over 5,000 tweets per second are being sent? Everyone knows what you’re talking about. In fact, could we go further and ask whether it could be better to work unofficially?
So, taking all this into account, does the traditional sponsorship model need altering to include further digital rights and should sponsors be negotiating harder to get this cover? Surely when their competitors begin to be more prominent in discussions over the World Cup, for example, surely they have a right to question costs?
Perhaps the new ideal ‘bigger brand’ model will follow the likes of Nike and Beats who find themselves less restricted by buying direct player assets and activate on an unofficial basis.Bigger brands will increasingly explore these opportunities in a creative capacity to give them the right to participate more heavily in these conversations. As for the smaller brands, they’ll continue to jump in and out when there’s a product link, and get small wins when they can.
There’s obviously still value in sponsorship. Access to assets like players and visible advertising rights are ultimately beneficial. However, social media allows a conversation to be had by brands when they couldn’t do so before without treading on toes and this is where sponsors need to be tougher on their sponsorships to maximise the value they receive on a digital platform, as well as a physical.
This is a topic that a dissertation could focus upon, and I’ve just brushed the surface here, but what do you think? Is the value of a sponsorship still the same and how has it been affected by the rise of social media? What should brands do to fight competitors on both platforms?
Today, Team GB have launched an interactive Pinterest Map which looks at its entire history at the Olympic Games. In a really attractive looking activation they have come up with something that will fascinate fans in a really interactive way.
From Launceston Elliot in Athens 1896 to the men’s curling Silver at Sochi 2014 and all the medals won in-between, you can take a trip around the world and relive Team GB’s Olympic History: http://www.pinterest.com/teamgb/team-gbs-olympic-history/
The interactive map also features medal successes, Olympic Games logos and other top Team GB moments covering every Olympic Games from 1896 to 2014. Pinterest forms part of Team GB’s social media strategy on the road to Rio 2016 as Team GB aim to engage with new audiences and fans.
Over the coming weeks Team GB will also roll out the historical timeline on its Facebook page, with one winter and summer Olympic Game being released each day. The timeline will feature as Facebook milestones and a photo album full of Team GB moments, stadium pictures and medal tallies.
When I recently ran a recent event looking at the World Cup in London, I asked Alex at FIFA if he had a question for the panel over Twitter. He asked what they thought FIFA could do better and more of, and the response was to utilise their massive World Cup archive.
That is just what Team GB are doing here and are using both Pinterest and Facebook to do this. Two of the most visual platforms out there, to bring their digital archive to life.
Little has been spoken about the Premier League in recent weeks as the World Cup hits our screens tonight with the opening ceremony followed by Brazil’s opening game against Croatia.
But analytics company Locowise have perked our attention with the release of an interesting infographic that gives a thorough breakdown, and a number of interesting stats about how our teams have been performing on Facebook.
It looks past the obvious stats, such as Manchester United having the biggest Facebook page – which has just passed 50m fans, a good 20m more than nearest rival Chelsea. For example, did you know that Hull’s page fan base grew by an impressive 787% during the season? Or that there were 34,159 total posts made by all the clubs?
Take a look below at this and many more interesting stats from the season just past. How did your team perform?
Millions of fans around the world will watch the World Cup kick off on Thursday but just how far would your national team get if the outcome of the tournament was actually determined by how many followers each country has on LFC’s official Facebook page?
The Reds have used the little downtime they may have – this time of year is often the busiest for the non playing staff – to take a look at how the World Cup would play out just going on the representation of countries on their Facebook page.
It’s a fact that LFC boast more international Facebook pages and a higher engagement rate per follower than any other club in Europe with Thailand this year replacing Indonesia as Liverpool’s biggest country on the social media platform.
It’s a bit of fun as we prepare for tomorrow’s big kick off in Brazil. With so much hype leading up to it and a lack of football to take our minds of it since the end of the Premier League season we need a bit of light relief now and again.
It is interesting to look at the biggest groups on Liverpool’s Facebook page with England (obviously), Mexico, USA and Algeria being the top ones represented. This doesn’t take into account those whose nations aren’t in the World Cup, with Asia representing such a significant total.
It does give you a feel for the very diverse nature of the clubs fan base, and the great work that Paul Rogers and his team have been doing within the international markets. Wouldn’t we love it though if England really did win!