Tag Archives: Media

How technology has changed on the UK sports media industry forever

Recently I was invited to write an article on the Vodafone small business blog “Your Better Business”, which I was delighted to accept. The objective of the article was to give an overview of how the sports media industry has been transformed by changes in technology and what the future holds for the industry. Below is my summary and you can see the original here, love to hear if you agree…

Widely available internet access has enabled anyone’s voice to be heard, and on a scale never imaginable of before. I’ve been blogging on sport and the impact of digital media on it for the last five years and it’s only the ready availability of free websites like WordPress, cheap hosting and social media to promote articles and research new ones that has really made it possible.

The impact that technology has had on sport and how it is reported, whether it’s on certain niches such as digital and sport or more general discussions around teams and leagues around the world, has been huge. Previously you could say that sport needed the media, almost on an unconditional basis. But the boot is now firmly on the other foot so to speak.

Marc Cooper, until recently the Head of Audience and Content at The Football League, gave some insight into how the relationship between fans, the media and football teams has changed;

“Football clubs have always been able to give fans certain things that other media can’t, which is information and confirmation. Fans may have read about their team being linked with certain players, and they’ll look to their club website to confirm it. But fans want more than that. They want to be entertained too, and they want to know more about the players at their club. That’s another area that clubs can serve the fans well.”

It’s not only the major sports that have reaped the benefits of being in a more connected world. The so-­‐called ‘lesser known sports’ can now act as their own media company, not having to rely on the scraps available within mainstream publications. This really is a game changer for them and will help raise awareness for their sport and get people interested in playing and/or watching it.

So where does that leave the journalist? The truth is that this has been the most radical shift in the media business in generations. And as with all periods of change there will be a time of adjustment as the old slowly learns how to work with and make use of the new.

The journalist is now the independent trusted resource, the one who has used his/her contacts and found out what is actually happening, not just the rumours (most of the time). They can spend time putting together great analysis and speak directly to the players involved. They are now the authentication, the experts we turn to when in doubt.

The relationship between fans and the media will continue to evolve as technology provides even greater access and insight. Fans will undoubtedly be the winners as the media they consume revolves more around when and where they want to do so.

Geo targeting of information is becoming more refined, helping to merge the online and offline worlds. We will see teams and leagues take back more control of their media, relying less on media rights as they produce their own income from subscriptions, sponsorship and advertising. Until those rights packages that are sold now become unsustainable, or Apple or Google bid for them, then this will take more time to see any radical shifts in live sports especially.

We are still in the early days of this explosion in media and technology, the tip of the iceberg in fact. But what it safe to say is that for media companies to stay relevant there needs to be a change in the mind sets of those involved. To become more fan-centric and deliver the types of content when they want it and how they want it.

The speed of change we are seeing now is frightening at times but this also means that new opportunities are opening up everyday. These gaps in the market are there to be seized upon by whoever is brave and forward thinking enough to spot them. There’s never been a more exciting time to be working in this industry than now!

– See more at: http://yourbetterbusiness.co.uk/the-symbiosis-of-media-and-sport/#sthash.VpXEOHMg.dpuf

Michael Owen’s surprising commentary debut

BT Sport have been making a massive push ahead of the much-hyped launch of their TV channels on 1st August.  We’ve all seen the multitude of newspaper adverts, TV adverts and social media updates in recent weeks, it’s been hard not to.

One of their most recent signings, Michael Owen, is going to be lead co-commentator for the new Premier League season and has been in training ahead of it.  He is somewhat of an unknown quantity in the commentary box and I’m sure there are going to be some who will love him and others who will continue to criticise.

BT Sport have been using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to increase awareness of their football debut.  Introducing several of their leading ambassadors and commentators including ‘Robin van Persie Skills‘ and rugby  and football players taking part in a ‘Beat the Bin‘ challenge.

Now Owen can be seen taking part in some interesting practice methods ahead of his latest debut.  The video shows him commentating over his own goals in the booth with some surprisingly  vocal screams down the microphone.  Most people would imagine that he would be quite calm and laid back, maybe that won’t be the case…

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The Future of Sport on Twitter is… Video

Recently I wrote about the use of new camera angles in rugby with ‘Ref Cam‘.  This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how platforms and brands are encouraging the use of video within their strategies.

If you are a basketball fan, or been keeping an eye on digital sport trends, you will have noticed the coverage that March Madness has been gaining.  It is a massive event in the US and sees Twitter light up with new content, hashtags, promoted tweets and updates from the games.

This year they have taken it to another level by releasing game highlights in 15 seconds snippets as close to real-time as they can manage. This means that fans who dont have access to watching the game and are predominately on their smartphones can not only keep up with scores but also watch the action.

Allowing fans to watch video within Twitter isn’t anything new and many have done so with YouTube embeds and phone videos.  But the capabilities have been constantly pushed by the platform developers.  Last year I travelled to New York to put into action an idea that was developed only a few weeks earlier.  The plan was to Livestream a press conference directly through Twitter but using a pinned Tweet for fans to follow the announcement as it happened.  It helped turn a B2B presentation into something different and it  gained extra traction because of it.

The idea for March Madness is different.  Turner Broadcasting, who own the TV rights, teamed up with Twitter and Snappy TV on this occasion.  Their joint aim was to give fans quick highlights that they can access where it had not been possible before.  The added benefit is that the clip is easily shared and many more people will get to see it than may have otherwise.


Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

So what does the future hold?  Twitter is rapidly moving into this space with the launch of Vine and now this partnership.  For other sports it offers some amazing possibilities.  Imagine if SkySports tweeted out goals as they happen from important games, or the BBC show a wicket going down in the Ashes this summer??

Fans like to have access to key moments as quickly as they can.  We’ve seen from the success of the ESPN Goals app that it is all about speed and relevance.  It is most certainly one of my favourite apps and has almost made Match of the Day redundant to me.  I get to watch all the goals by 5.15pm and saves me having to listen to Lineker, Hanson and company (dull).  Not to mention no longer having to worry about recording it or getting home for 10.30pm and staying up until midnight.  We, the fans, now gets to control what we watch and when we watch it.  And this is only the start.

How broadcasters react to the constant changes in technology and the development of platforms such as Twitter is now key.  Will they see it as a threat putting this content out there for all to view (though you can still geo-block the video content so rights issues won’t be affected) or will they embrace it and give the fans what they want?

This opens up so many new doors but who will be brave enough to step through them?!

March Madness


The Social Media battle between Corporate Communicators, Journalists & Sportstars

The fifth part of this series looking at sportstars, social media and issues surrounding reputation management comes from qualitative interviews with those in the industry by @StevenWoodgate


To understand and investigate the data extracted from the questionnaires further (Corporate communicatorsSports Stars and Sports Fans), a series of interviews were undertaken from a broad spectrum of the industry. Not only professional and semi-professional sportspeople were interviewed but those within industry ranging from journalists, corporate communicators and PR professionals.

This was an important step to add context to the current data and provide a qualitative angle to progress and investigate further.  Do experts concur that the conflicts between sportspeople and their organisations over social media need to be controlled through a management policy?

This blogger was able to obtain interviews with six in-house sporting corporate communicators, including: Trevor Braitwait, Director of Communications at Sheffield Wednesday FC; Simon Williams, Communications Officer at Southampton FC; Max Fitzgerald, Communications Executive at AFC Bournemouth; Mike McGreary, Website Manager at Middlesbrough FC; Ian Cotton, Ex-Director of Communications at Liverpool and Tom Tainton, Media Officer at Bristol Rugby. Each quote has been disguised to keep views confidential.

From the interviews undertaken, there was a resounding difference between the thought of reputation and social media, and the constant battle between the individual and the organisation.

“Protecting and promoting our brand is a key part of my role. There is no specific strategy as this unfolds on an ongoing basis.” 

Worryingly, and quite unnaturally, senior management at sports clubs has made the conscious effort not to introduce a strategic strategy to deal with reputation. Across other business sectors, plans are put into place but this shows the immaturity of the sports communication industry. The younger professionals coming into the industry sees their roles slightly differently:

“Reputation management is a critical element of my role – we try to boost our reputation and ‘culture’ created by the boss and the coaching staff through positive reinforcement on our social media channels.”

This shows the willingness and eagerness to use social media more actively within the whole communication and PR strategy. As it shows in the corporate communication questionnaire, younger people are using social media to get their messages across and they are more aware of the importance of it.

“This (Using players’ social media account to boost reputation) can backfire, as two high profile football clubs recently discovered to their cost… The reputation of the club is and always will be greater than that of any individual.”

This shows two things: a clear age gap in thinking about social media, and potential differences between team sports. Some policy is for the players to express themselves and rely more on media curation to measure and keep an eye on any bad publicity.

I think it’s important that players are given the chance to show their character on these platforms. It can however, be useful when promoting club offers due to their wider reaching fanbase.”

Again, it appears from these interviews that the younger corporate communicators are keener to use individual social media accounts to promote engagement and building and maintaining reputation.

“Every player receives social media training as well, as well as guidelines for social media use. We highlight the risks that social media can carry, particularly within the framework of media and public responsibility. Players directly represent the club and, as a result, are expected to portray themselves and their teammates in a positive manner at all times.”

Younger communicators also know the consequences and potential “pitfalls” of social media and have quickly asserted his influence to give the club a shining light for the players to use.

“By showing a personable side to the Club and creating open access to our players, we hope that supporters have a positive view of *club* and thus will be encouraged to invest time and money into our product.”

Despite the apparent differences across the three interviews, all agree that an in-depth social media policy would help to clarify current “grey areas”. Some know that they “are speaking to the media every time they tweet” and this view, from a media relations point, will help to identify potential areas for a reputation hit. Sport is highly speculative and the media can use these ‘posts’ as content to attract headlines and unnecessary, avoidable issues.

Not only it is imperative to understand the in-house corporate communicators view, it is also imperative to understand how these stories are sourced and used. After consulting journalists ranging from online, print and radio, further understanding can be taken to influence policy.

Older journalists are still adapting to sportspeople using things like social media with many believing the journalism industry is becoming more of a ‘Soap Opera’ rather than its primary objective to deliver high quality news content. One senior journalist sees social media and publicity in a different light.

“An agent’s sole raison d’etre is to get publicity for their clients in order to raise their profile and subsequently their earnings. It’s a murky and cynical business and cricketer’s, once largely removed from it, have smelt the money and are moving centre stage. “

The nation’s appetite for celebrity culture and speculative stories are ever increasing, and this senior journalist sees social media as a publicity tool for sportspeople to attract more attention. In this example, cricketers are becoming centre stage and the likes of Kevin Pietersen are becoming household names.

Their social media accounts are heavily watched in case a potential story appears. This seems to be a case of trying to build and maintain of the individuals as opposed to other collaborating with the individual’s organisations. These players are building context to market themselves and the speculation stories being produced

Interviews with sportspeople

Sportspeople sometimes create their downfall. Speculation and stories are a react to ill-informed tweets, used by those that do not appear to be educated on the consequences and understanding of social media. The data gathered from the questionnaires show clear indication that more guidance is needed to prevent future inappropriate use. As questions arose about their inappropriate social media use, many were unaware that those images and posts were made public, even when talking directly to someone.

This is an education corporate communicators need to have with their employees to prevent avoidable reputation damage. After interviewing eight sportspeople about their use of social media, many interesting points came across. As Figure 1 will show, many sportspeople enjoy using social media as fan engagement and ‘banter’ with fellow professionals.

More needs to be done to boost understanding and the consequences from using social media inappropriately as sportspeople do not understand the extent of social media and its potential impact.

Through clear guidelines and with the help of a communication specialist, their education about how to use social media could be significantly improved. To show this understanding, a focus group took place to understand how online journalists see social media use and what they think of it.

Selected Quotes

‘Well, to be honest, Social Media is there for banter purposes. Me and the lads often joke about it and use it to wind each other up. I often keep in touch with friends and that on it but the sole purpose of it is to joke about.’

‘They shouldn’t be bothered. It is not theirs to use. It’s mine and I wish to use it the way I wish.’

‘The social media account is mine and I can use it as freely as possible.’

‘I was drunk at the time and hugely regret it. My family sees what I put and I wasn’t proud. It was embarrassing. The lads at the club took the piss even the management got involved.‘

‘I was annoyed that I was left out and vented my frustration. It was silly but I felt like I wasn’t treated as well as I could have been and posted it just out of anger. Obviously the manager, and some of the fans, saw it and it ended up me having to make a public apology.’

‘I was annoyed that I was left out and vented my frustration. It was silly but I felt like I wasn’t treated as well as I could have been and posted it just out of anger. Obviously the manager, and some of the fans, saw it and it ended up me having to make a public apology.’

Figure 1: Selected quotes from Sportspeople Interviews

Focus group with online journalists and corporate communicators

Projecting reputation is hugely important in sport. Sport is speculative and can easily be attacked by the media who are looking for ‘easy’ stories. As mentioned before in the sportspeople questionnaire, the players seem indifferent to those journalists using their posts as stories, but their understanding of corporate reputation need to be improved.

Online journalists, Nick Howson and Vanessa Keller, who work exclusively in news gathering and content creation, know the true value of the usefulness of social media and in the interviews for this dissertation, they believe it “breaking down barriers” that were previously there.

Not only is it making their jobs easier, but also they believe they are getting more truthful responses rather than the “spin” they receive when trying to obtain quotes through their agents.

Not is social media clearly changing how journalism is practiced, but it shows the potential pitfalls that corporate communicators need to correct to ensure the barriers between the organisation and its consumers stays together.

“Traffic-wise, social media is great at getting more hits and impressions on our page. It’s an original source not the spin that clubs try to put out. In ways, it is even better than a press conference, as players are always under the watchful eye, they used social media more carefree and aren’t restricted in what they say.”

“There is becoming less need for PR, social media is becoming the number one source for journalists to go to.”

These were just some of main finding resulting from the focus group. Journalists are actively using social media as the main source for potential stories and speculation. It needs urgent addressing by clubs’ communications department, as this is a way where important can be leaked to the public. A clear social media policy outlining the consequences of such actions would provide a base a better place to prevent sportspeople people ‘twats’.

Even more so, the LinkedIn discussion with corporate communicators discovered that introducing social media policy can be rather tricky regardless of its usefulness.

Corporate Communicators Focus Group Highlights

“I suspect the nuance between rules and guidance is probably crucial. However, there can’t be a one size fits all solution. A Premier League football club is very different from the Met Police, disability charity or a small funeral company…

“Many organisations just don’t know what to do about social media. They put policies in place that are a bit of a sop but what else can they do?”

The problem with social media is that once it’s in the public domain there’s little you can do to get it back. Staff are entitled to have a private life but if they post their misdemeanour’s on a social platform it’s no longer private. It’s up to the employer what they do about this but the dilemma is that they don’t own the employee.”

“As a freelance press officer working in different organisations’ press offices I agree that some Press Offices don’t see social media as their responsibility…. But equally a lot do! Monitoring it is the challenge!”

Figure 2: Selected quotes from Corporate Communicators’ Focus Group

From the primary data gathered, the case studies need be sorted out to determine who are the ‘tweeters’, ‘twits’ or ‘twats’ (Next post) – and how social media policy should be framed to handle each in a way that enhances corporate reputation.

Catch up with the previous posts in Steven’s series (there are more to come)….

Part 4: Why do fans follow sports stars on social media?

Part 3: Sports people’s views of social media and how people react to them

Part 2: Why sports organisations need social media guidelines

Part 1: Sportspeople and Twitter, how they influence their communities

Should Sports Stars Use Twitter?

Guest Post by Alex Morris.  Alex follows F1, Rallying, football and cricket. And, to his surprise, enjoyed the Olympics! By day is the Social Media Manager at Manchester based company, Cartridge Save.


2012 has been a busy year for Twitter; the London Olympics saw an unprecedented amount of Tweets and, in amongst all the big names Tweeting, controversy has kept the social media tool in the news. It’s questionable whether sports men and women should post Tweets at all; they’re athletes and prone to making decisions in the heat of the moment. There have been consistent examples in 2012 of Tweets being published without any forward thinking. It leads to the consideration of whether managers should remove their young chargers from the world of social media. To consider this, here’s a look at some of this year’s calamities.


The Olympics

Presided over by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (thankfully there is an abbreviation for this – LOCOG), the committee made it clear there would be strict rules for athletes using the social media format. With some 10,500 competitors to keep an eye on this was going to be some task for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to manage and, sure enough, Rule 40 (“no competitor, coach, trainer or official who participates in the Olympic Games may allow his person, name, picture or sports performances to be used for advertising purposes except as permitted by the IOC Executive Board.”) immediately caused controversy. In defiance, Hurdler Dawn Harper posted pictures of herself gagged with a “Rule 40” strip on Twitter. This quickly escalated into a full protest, which forced the International Olympic Committee to step in and demand control of the situation.

Although the IOC encouraged Tweeting, they made it abundantly clear it would be strictly monitored; “Postings, blogs and tweets should at all times conform to the Olympic spirit and fundamental principles of Olympism as contained in the Olympic Charter, be dignified and in good taste, and not contain vulgar or obscene words or images.” Before the Games even began Greek Triple Jumper Paraskevi “Voula” Papachristou posted racist comments targeting Africans living in Greece (“With so many Africans in Greece, the West Nile mosquitoes will be getting home food!!!”), and also retweeted a far-right politicians’ comment criticising immigration. She went on to apologise on Twitter, but she was still banned. This was followed by Swiss footballer Michel Morganella who Tweeted a disappointed post after losing 2-1 to South Korea. Translated into English it read “I want to beat up all South Koreans!” before accusing them of being mentally handicapped. There were immediate calls for the 23 year old to be banned.

On a lighter note, the BBC’s Denise Lewis, a former athlete, was mocked for her continuous misuse of “literally”. Many Twitter users found this mistake highly annoying; at one stage Lewis claimed, “Jess Ennis’s entrance will literally blow the roof off the stadium.” Inadvertently she caused a flood of spoof responses.



The most high profile embarrassment this year came with Ashley Cole’s verbal assault on the FA in early October. Following the unfortunate, and embarrassing, John Terry racism conviction, Cole posted a profane Tweet mocking the FA. Gary Lineker was one of the many who followed up this remark with a Tweet suggesting Cole apologise to the FA; others suggested he had put his career on the line. Eventually he did express his regret (through his solicitor), however, Cole wasn’t finished there! Having flirted with disaster once he followed this up with a highly public row with Alan Shearer regarding the England line-up. This resulted in Cole criticising the former England captain; “Alan Shearer says @TheRealAC3 needs to be banned for comments. I want his opinion on bans for kicking Neil Lennon in the head. #GlassHouses”. A further scan down his account shows his attitude towards fans; “Lol, jokers, don’t boo me then get angry because I tweet, its all fun so #takeachilpill”. With Cole it seems to be a case of controlling his outspoken nature, especially as Chelsea’s manager, Roberto Di Matteo, confirmed the left back would face punishment by his club; “We’ve got a social media policy [here] and there’s going to be a disciplinary process – action – against the tweet.”

Cole has now been charged by the FA with Misconduct and has until 16:00 on Thursday 11th October to respond.  ITV has run with ‘Top 10 footballers who got Twitter wrong‘ which makes interesting reading.


Formula One

Most of the F1 drivers on Twitter are well behaved. One driver stands out. Lewis Hamilton continuously lands himself in trouble with his trigger happy Tweet button. In August he dismayed his McLaren team when he, in a fit of frustration, posted pictures of his rear wing and qualifying telemetry onto his Twitter account. He quickly removed the posts and apologise.

In early October he made another blunder following a disappointing Japanese Grand Prix. After the announcement of his defection to the Mercedes team for 2013 he, for reasons best kept to himself, believed team-mate Jenson Button had snubbed him on Twitter, “Just noticed @jensonbutton unfollowed, thats a shame. After 3 years as teammates, I thought we respected one another but clearly he doesn’t.” An hour later he realised what was actually going on, “My bad, just found out Jenson never followed me. Don’t blame him! Need to be on Twitter more.” Unfortunately he’s making these blunders before his 1.1 million followers and the world’s media. Perhaps it’s time he got a press officer.



For casual observers and fans these antics can often be hilarious and a true illumination of our heroes and heroines. For the organisers, team owners and managers they can be a nightmare, whilst for competitors they can be career ending. What is clear is how it is only a few individuals who are using the platform for a means to express offensive views; others are simply not thinking about team spirit when they launch their latest Tweet. Perhaps soon it will be mandatory for the world’s top sports stars to have Tweets approved by press officers – until they can prove they’re capable of behaving themselves it would appear to be the best solution!


“Renegades Write The Rules” – Amy Jo Martin

I’ve been involved in social media now since 2009, which isn’t a long time in most people’s books, but in this industry it can feel like an eternity.  During this time I have watched those who have been doing great things in sport and social media, people who think like I do.

One of those who constantly caught the eye wasn’t in Europe but over the pond in the US.  That person was Amy Jo Martin, the founder of Digital Royalty; someone who took the risk and set up her own business in an industry that didn’t really exist at the time. Something I admire.

She started off working with the one and only Shaquille O’Neill – an enviable first client!  Since that time she can include some of the biggest names in US sport; Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), the UFC (and its president Dana White), the Chicago White Sox , FOX Sports and LA Kings.

But it’s not only sport she has been busy helping navigate these new seas; add to the previous list Zappos, Double Tree by Hilton and The X Factor USA.

Not a bad list of clients!

Recently, I was one of the lucky few who managed to get my hands on Amy’s first book.  At the moment it is available on pre-order with general release tomorrow (2nd October).

The book is entitled “Renegades Write the Rules”. It hits upon two of my reading passions; Social Media and Entrepreneurship.   (I’ve read many autobiographies from business giants including Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Google, Peter Jones, Theo Paphitis and Duncan Bannatyne.)

What Amy has produced is a personal insight into her experiences as she evolved from Director of Digital Media & Research at the Phoenix Suns to running her own successful company.

My most recent book aquisition in this area was ‘Velocity – the Seven Rules of a World Gone Digital’ by founder of AKQA, Ajaz Ahmed, and Nike’s VP of Digital Sport, Stefan Olander. It was very much a conversation, concentrating on their beliefs and  punctuated by the odd case study.  It was interesting without being inspiring.

Renegades Write The Rules” offers more of what I enjoy reading.  It really fired up the mind, providing inspirations that had me dreaming up new ideas.  It is creating this inspirational feeling that makes a book significant for me.

One of the biggest announcements she (and almost anyone in sport) has been involved with was the shock announcement about Shaq’s retirement.  Rather than it being a straight press release or tweet, they went one step further, planning out the script for 15 seconds of video using the new app Tout.

It sent shockwaves around the NBA universe.

“The mind-boogling statistics of Shaquille’s tweet are ultimately the result of a creative, personalized communication strategy that anyone can use as a template for social media success and much more.  The foundation is an understanding of a major shift that has occurred in our media-driven world that established a new rule of innovation.”

“No longer do the broadcasters, advertisers and PR moguls control the news.  In the digital age, you are the media.”

Yes, this was Shaq talking to his 2.1m fans but it is open for others to try as well. This is not a matter of doing one off stunts, but building up a relationship and trust with fans so that when something like this does happen they are ready to listen.

It’s about laying sound foundations when it comes to your social media presence and working on what you are connecting with people about.  As Amy says “The foundation is mattering in people’s lives.  The more often you matter, the more often people will tune in.”

“…to matter, you have to continually deliver something your audience finds valuable, even if that value is simply great entertainment.”

Amy draws our attention to the fact that for all the changes we have seen in the technology, the human behaviour behind it has rarely altered.  The real change has been in our ability to reach others in real time around the world.

Many brands are still very faceless on social media, much as they always have been, because they are used to controlling the message and perceptions of their brand with consumers. Now that has all changed.  At the end of the day, people like to deal with people.  How many times have you been faced with choices between different items to buy or services to bring in?  And how many times have you gone with recommendations from friends or because you know someone within that service?

So, in this new world of communication, how can we ensure that our brands are the ones that remain trusted and at the forefront of peoples minds?  Well we look to personalise our brand and give it character through the people within the business.

Amy talks about building loyalty with the people who are engaged with your product, whether that be a hotel or the NFL.  Looking past the sponsorships, advertising campaigns and logo placements and thinking about how to actually connect with fans.

[Connecting with People, not Logos]

The book makes you think about what you are doing and how it can be done better (or differently).  If your methods aren’t working then it may help you to find out why and gain new motivation to bring about the change needed.

What Amy delivers isn’t a “5 steps to social media success” but an honest look at the work she has done, what has worked and how this journey has impacted on her personal life.

Do you see yourself as a Renegade?  Do you find yourself ‘colouring outside the lines’?  Then you should read this book, you will take a lot from it.  Even if you are not quite so much the renegade there are enough anecdotes to spark off ideas and give you new things to go into work with the next day (and the day after).

Is the book perfect? No. Is it going to be of interest and useful to many of us in the industry and those who just want to learn more? Definitely, yes. And the reason is where the book starts, when her boss wrote down three words:

‘Work. Family. Self.’

“Choose two,” she said. “You can’t have all three.”

But Amy Jo Martin, Digital Royalty and ‘Renegades Write The Rules’ prove otherwise.

So well done Amy on a great first book.  If I find myself in Las Vegas at any stage I’ll certainly pop into the Digital Royalty office and say hi to the rapidly expanding crew!

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UKSN to chair global keynote with London 2012 Head of New Media, Alex Balfour

Tomorrow sees the start of the acclaimed Social Media Week here in London and I’m delighted to have been asked to chair a ‘fireside chat’ with Alex Balfour.  Alex has been at the forefront of bringing to the world the most social Olympics there has ever been and no doubt encountered many challenges, as well as successes, along the way.

Opening this Social Media Week you will hear about the trials, tribulations and successes behind the digital success of the games.  For 6 years he has devoted his life to making sure everything has been prefect and overseen the development of the London 2012 website, mobile apps and social media presence.

Get the inside story on delivering the digital experience for the world’s best games.  The numbers are staggering: At LOCOG, Alex’s six years of work culminated in the delivery of 77 digital channels including london2012.com, volunteering, education, online shop, mobile apps and social media presences. During the 16 days of the Olympic Games London 2012 channels recorded 431m visits, 109m unique users, 15m app downloads, 4.73bn page views and 4.7m social followers.

Prior to his work on the London Olympics, he co-founded CricInfo.com from a raw start up into a profitable business with 20 million customers and 140 staff in eight countries. He raised £25 million in four funding rounds and generated £2m of profitable turnover making CricInfo the only independent sports dotcom to survive the boom and bust of the late 90s. CricInfo was sold to ESPN in the summer of 2007.

Now here’s your chance to get involved.  If you have any questions you’d like me to put to Alex tomorrow then please leave them in the comments section or tweet me on @DanielMclaren or @UKSportsNetwork.
I’ll select my favourites and ask them to Alex tomorrow morning…… so get writing!

Job of the Week: Digital Media Officer at West Ham United

Following on from the jobs we’ve highlighted previously from Chelsea FC and The RFU, here is another one we thought was too good not to highlight.  This time it is at Premier League club West Ham United.

It’s a great opportunity for someone with a love for football, experience of journalism and passion for digital marketing.  It’s a club pretty close to my heart as one of my best friends is a season ticket holder and I went to half a dozen matches during their promotion winning campaign last year.  It’s also an exciting time to be involved with the club as they could potentially soon be on their way to the Olympic Stadium, if they win the bid to make it their new home.

Good luck if you decide to go for it and pass it onto others who may like it if it’s not for you.

P.s. good luck with Gold, Sullivan and Brady! :)

Media Department
Closing Date: 5pm, Friday 5 October 2012
Position: Media Officer (digital)

Due to the growth in our digital output, we are seeking to recruit a Media Officer (digital) to join our busy media team.

Key responsibilities will include:

– Working into the Content Editor, manage the day-to-day running of the club’s online digital platforms

– Manage copy writing for new stories to include football, corporate, community and marketing, predominantly for digital output

– Assisting with other copy writing across the department where necessary to include matchday programme and emails

– Managing the club’s social media output and offering new ideas to increase followers

– Ensuring marketing needs are satisfied across all digital and social media platforms

– Working with Content and Multimedia Editor to come up with new and innovative ideas for the club’s digital and video platforms

– Contributing to presenting and production of the club’s video output

– Assisting with press office duties on matchday and press days as directed by the Press and Media Manager

– Assisting in all other communication requirements as required by Press and Media Manager and Marketing Director

The ideal candidate will have:

– At least two years’ journalistic experience, preferably online
– A passion for football
– A recognised journalism qualification or extensive experience in the field
– Basic understanding of marketing communication principles
– The ability to work professionally at all times, while also being comfortable in the unique, high-pressured environment of a Premier League football club

We are committed to the principle of equality and equal opportunities in employment. We will actively promote equality and equal opportunities in our business to ensure that individuals receive treatment that is fair and equitable and consistent with their relevant aptitudes, potential skills and abilities. Employees will be recruited and selected, promoted and trained on the basis of objective criteria.

If you are interested in this role, please send a ONE PAGE CV with covering letter and current salary to hr@westhamunited.co.uk with the job title as the subject line.

The deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday 5 October. Due to the expected large number of applicants, we will not be able to reply to every application.

Man City’s YouTube Partnership: An In-Depth Look

It has been well publicised recently that the world’s richest football club has taken the step of getting a YouTube brand channel.  To many this may get a ‘so what’ reaction and many of the articles so far have only mentioned the news but not looked into what this means to the club and for football.

If this had been in any other industry it would not make the news as most decent sized businesses have their own channel that they spend extra on to make it look cool.

But this is football and so far they have stuck to basic marketing strategies and the biggest marketing costs they will have is a club website.  Most have now (with some prodding) ventured into the new domains of Facebook and Twitter but YouTube has been largely forgotten about. But why?

This is a hard one for clubs.  They are watched on TV by millions of people, at least twice a week these days, with the games being beamed all over the world.  But, and it is a big BUT, they don’t own any of the match footage.  This is controlled by the Premier League and broadcasters and there are numerous deals in place.

One slightly odd possibility is, though I’ve never seen the contracts (strangely enough), is that any match footage is not allowed to be shown on social media platforms.  It may sound strange but am 95% sure on this one that is true.

So this leaves clubs with only their own content to use.  What this does is narrow down the field of who is likely to produce their own content and use a video platform to the big clubs.  Those who have their own TV studios and channels, usually on their website.  Those clubs such as Man Utd, City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.

One thing to point at this stage is that gaining a YouTube brand channel is not cheap and certainly not free (sorry to those were getting excited about what they can do with a channel).  This is another restrictor when it comes to which clubs will follow suit with City.

What City have done, and managed to leap in front of the rest in the process, is take it seriously as an additional revenue generator and seen the possibilities.  They started slowly with a normal ‘official’ YouTube channel, much the same as any of us can set up if we so wish.

This allowed them to give away content that would otherwise sit on their CityTV channel being played out to a small audience.  When you are building from scratch to develop a global brand as City are, then reaching out to new fans is a must and YouTube allows that to happen.

Now they have over 4,000 subscribers to the channel and deliver regular (good) content that fans are interested in then they have been able to take the next step. A Brand Channel!

So what does this allow them to do now?

Basically it allows the club to customise how their page looks and what it can do including the channel banners, background image and branding box.  They can also moderate comments and automatically redirect people depending on there geographical location (could be a good one for the future).  It also opens up the possibilities with gadgets (opening up YouTube’s API), syndication (channel can live anywhere on the web) and metrics.  I am a fan of ‘annotations’ which allow the linking off to other videos/sites via clickable links within the video, something you only get with a brand channel.

This last one is key to any brand being on the platform.  It gives you great information on how videos (and the channel) is performing.  It can also tell you more about the content you are putting up and how engaged with it people find it.

They have already made changes to the page with links to areas of their website.  I especially like the map integration where you can buy tickets for upcoming games (as you can see below)…

There are opportunities to get even more creative as time goes by and we’ll see how it goes, as am sure other clubs will be doing.  What it does open up when it comes to revenue, I’ve finally got round to mentioning it, is the advertising/sponsorship opportunities it presents.

They can look at running sponsors messaging on their site, incorporate annotation links within videos, have a company sponsor their page and open up another opportunity, link off to sponsor channels/videos….. there is a lot they can do to monetise this space.

Here’s what those involved had to say about the partnership;

Richard Ayers, Head of Digital, for Manchester City (who has been nominated for a DADI award!), said:

“Manchester City is having a phenomenal year of growth and development online. Our goal is to deliver a market leading experience for fans in terms of online video.  That means delivering the great content we make to where the audience is – i.e. on YouTube. This deal is the first move in laying the foundations of our syndication strategy and is part of a series of deals to expand our online capabilities. The ability to extend our reach and to increase accessibility to audiences is great, but we’re also looking forward to exploring the differentiating factors of YouTube, like using annotations, making bespoke interactive video and, more than anything else, becoming part of the thriving YouTube community.”

Jeff Nathenson, Head of Sports Partnerships for YouTube, said:

“We are excited that Manchester City has become the first English Premier League club to become a commercial partner with YouTube.  They are proving to be an exciting club both on the pitch and in the digital media space.  We believe this kind of deal will have a global impact, allowing them to reach new fans in new territories with compelling original content.”

To finish, here are some examples of cool brand channels and what City could look to achieve (if they want to spend the money on doing it).  Its great to see them pushing the boundaries and hopefully they will pull others with them.






Transfer Deadline Day – how to keep up to the second with news

Today is probably the most frenetic day in British football with the summer transfer window shutting at 11pm tonight.  Millions of pounds (and Euro’s) will be shelled out by clubs who find themselves in desperate need of reinforcements to see them through until at least the January transfer window.

Of course we are going to see the likes of Tottenham Hotspur (aren’t they always involved in last minute activity?), Stoke City, Queens Park Rangers (now they have some money to spend under Tony Fernandes), Sunderland, Newcastle and Arsenal (of course) being linked with every player imaginable.

Although fans, managers and players all moan about it being unfair and having to pay inflated fees because of the last second rush to get players in.  But we still live it don’t we!  Is there anything better than watching the BBC Sport website or flicking the TV on to watch SkySports News and their over-hyped countdown with reporters based at every training ground, stadium and hospital (for the medicals).

We saw an explosion of interest in January as Twitter came into its own with #DeadlineDay being a top trend.  Liverpool was mentioned 301,169 times during the month as they spent almost £50m on two major signings in Andy Carroll and Luis Saurez.

So who is going to come out of today with a big grin and who is going to rueing their luck in the last day gamble?  And how is the best way to follow all the action?


The BBC are running their #BBCFootball tag so that you can follow the gossip and breaking deals with their reporters on the ground.  They have also amalgamated all their news into one feed on their website with SportsDay Live – Transfer Deadline Day.  You can also follow the reporters directly on Twitter to catch the news as it happens – why not set up a list of these guys and watch as the deals unfold before your eyes…..

Paul Plunkett

John Sinnott

Phil McNulty

David Ornstein

Juliette Ferrington

Dan Roan

Howard Nurse

Chris McLaughlin

Ian Dennis



Sky will be running their news as it happens mainly through their 24 hour a day TV channel SkySports News.  They also have their website which not only has confirmed news but also has an interesting crowdsource area where all rumours gathered from members of the public are shown (usually something like “I just saw Ronaldo getting off a train in Stoke” or similar).  You can catch up with these in the Rumour Room.

The main feed on Twitter for the channel is going to be the SkySports News official account.  They have also put together a list on Twitter where you can follow their reporters/presenters and get breaking news straight from the horses mouth (so to speak).  Their main people are;

Rob Parrish

Pete Fraser

Mark Buckingham

Pete O’Rourke

Bryan Swanson

Ed Chamberlain

Georgie Thompson


Other Links

Of course there are more ways to follow what is happening but the main action today is easily going to be on Twitter.  The record for the most number of tweets per minute has recently been broken ay the MTV Music Video Awards by the news of Beyonce’s pregnancy with 8,868 tweets per second being achieved.  Can today surpass it?  With more people joining twitter every day then these records are going to continue to be shattered.

ITV appear to be taking a slightly more reserved approach with the news being shown on their website and news through the official channel of @itvfootball

You can also follow any number of journalists who will be covering the days events (and having a very late night);

Oliver Kay

Paul Hayward

Ollie Holt

Dan Silver

Guillem Balague

Ian McGarry


Have fun watching the day of transfers – I know many players are excited to see what happens (those not involved in the action but watching on TV) and I will be glued to the set after work this evening whilst watching Twitter on my iPad.  The full multi-screen experience!