30 sports blogs you should be reading

Blog With Authenticity Without Getting FiredWhat sports blogs do I read?  Probably too many but when so much great material is being shared it can’t be helped.

Here is a list of 30 sports, sports business & sports marketing blogs I read regularly.

You should too, Sports Geek approved. ;)

Blog Title Latest Posts
Sportz Biz News
Activ8Social
Peter Robert Casey
Digital Hoops Blast
Row Show
Harry’s World
Partnership Activation
Power Sponsorship
Sports Business Digest
Sportzfan Radio
The Biz of Baseball
UK Sports Network
Blog Maverick
Take a Peck
Ash Read
Ozzie Sport
Sportologist
Sports and a Latte
Sports Law
Sports Networker
The Business of Sports
Buzz Manager
Game Plans
Sponsor Crunch
Sponsorship Insights
The Sports Economist
Joe Favorito
Sports in 140
Dead Spin

Any more I should add to this list?
Would love to hear about your faves, hit me up with a comment.
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Demons CEO shares insights via YouTube

Good work by Cam Schwab (@camschwab) of the Melbourne Demons starting “Whiteboard Wednesday” discussing strategy behind running a sports franchise.

I’m sure Demon fans are stoked to get this level of access to their club’s CEO.

It’s a great use of YouTube as a video sharing platform I’ll look forward to more Whiteboard Wednesdays.

If you’re looking for the book mentioned in first video then look no further, Management Secrets of the New England Patriots Volume 2

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Autoresponders? How they can help you stay in touch with fans

What is an Autoresponder?

An autoresponder is a computer program that automatically answers e-mail sent to it. Thanks Wikipedia

That is a simple explanation for what has become forgotten technology.  Social media darlings like Facebook, YouTube & Twitter dominate the digital landscape.

How can autoresponders be used in sports?

If you haven’t worked it out that is “Sports Geek formula” (How can {insert tech here} be used in sports?).

Fan Mail – Why not accept fan mail for each player via email?  Athlete’s still get fan mail but fan emails is vastly under utilised.  Why not setup an email autoresponder for each player on the roster?  In return the fan will receive an automated response from their fave player which may seem impersonal but it can be coupled with an exclusive wallpaper download or a discounted merchandise coupon.

Ticketing or Event FAQ – Not everybody can be online all the time so hitting the web for ticketing or event information may not be convenient for a fan (e.g. fan using an iPod touch).  But an offline copy via an email might be the best method of delivery for this information.

Statistics – The demand for sports statistics has grown due to the insatiable appetite for sports information by fantasy sports fans.  A post-game update of the stats autoresponder would allow delivery of box-scores and stats via email.

Email Competitions – The simplest & easiest way of using autoresponders running an email competition. All entries are collected via the autoresponder email account and a reply will inform the fan they have been entered into the competition.

Fan Feedback - Ask your fans for feedback, this is actually being implemented at Melbourne Demons via ideas@melbournefc.com.au.  They encourage fan feedback and you are rewarded with an automated email from MFC President Jim Stynes saying thanks which is a nice touch, see below snippet.

Thank you for taking the time to send us your idea.  Your feedback  is important to us and is essential to  helping us to build a club that reflects your needs and that of the entire MFC community.

Why use Autoresponders?

  1. Give instant feedback to you fans via email.
  2. Follow up fans with additional offers – tickets, merchandise, newsletter signups.
  3. To deliver information to your fans.

Still unsure how they work?
Here’s a challenge email auto@sportsgeek.com.au to find out.
Go on I dare ya!

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Social media blurring lines for sports information

As blogged previously by Sports Geek slowly teams & media are sitting up and taking notice.

Monitoring of your brand is mandatory to hear what your fans are saying but in some cases also your players.  Conversely, athletes also need to be aware of the impact a tweet or picture on Facebook may have on their image and their club’s image.  Most athlete’s “get it” but for those who don’t there needs to be sports executives monitoring the digital space to protecting the team & league’s brand.

This from Sports Illustrated saying the tweets shared by NBA players may be crucial in monitoring the big free agent class of 2010.

Social networking will influence the free-agent market this summer. So promises a league insider with an extended background in college basketball.

“In the old days, teams used to control players,” he said. “Now the teams have lost that control, to the point that the NBA had to put in rules that players are not allowed to use Twitter at halftime. The thing with these players, their lifestyles revolve around technology. They want instant information.

“You’re now dealing with kids who think that anything you do or say is public. To them it is public, because they all communicate with each other.”

This week, the Celtics dealt with a half-day of speculation that Pierce was out for the year after teammate Shelden Williams posted a Twitter message that suggested bad news was on the way. As a result, the Celtics rushed out a news release late at night diagnosing Pierce as day-to-day with a sprained foot. “They don’t think about the rules or privacy when they use Twitter,” the league insider said. “The Celtics don’t want the opposition to know if Pierce is injured, but Williams didn’t think about what he was doing to the Celtics; he just did it.

“Twitter has become a broadcasting network for athletes. Around July 1, there is going to be so much tweeting among the free agents, and all of these guys will be communicating with each other, and if you don’t think they’re going to be telling each other about the offers they’re getting, then you’re crazy. It’s going to be the summer of instant information, and it’s going to change the whole market, because everybody will know what kind of money is out there and what each team is trying to do.

“If I were a GM, I’d hire two or three kids from college and have them scour the Internet every day to find out what’s being said by who. If you want to know what’s going on, that’s how you can find out.”

If you want to see what athletes are tweeting then follow our list – Athletes Who Tweet.  Are we missing your fave athlete who tweets? Let us know at @_SportsGeek_.

//

Follow Sports Geek on Twitter @_SportsGeek_ & @seancallanan

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How Sports Tweet

A big focus of #sportsgeektrip was to see how much of the buzz around social media translated IRL (in real life).

Most of the teams & even some of the facilities now have a presence on Twitter, it’s how they use it is where it gets interesting.  For a list of League & Franchise Twitter accounts check out our @SportsGeekHQ Leagues & Franchise list.

The tweets from sports Twitter accounts fall into 4 categories.

Sports News Information

These tweets are standard fare for sports accounts generally relaying news & articles from the team’s website or local news reports.  These can use tech like Feedburner or TwitterFeed to automatically post to Twitter.  The key is to ensure these tweets are sent at a time when your fans want them and are sufficiently spaced out so you do not flood your fans twitter stream.

@thenyrangers Rangers alum Steve Vickers was this week’s guest on Rangers Radio, check out this week’s show here: http://bit.ly/5ubq1v

But sports twitter fans love the easy “insider” access that you can get with services like Twitpic to get closer them to the team.  It is these kind of updates that give your stream value & are unique to your Twitter “broadcast”. News & notes from practice or simple updates from your team’s road trip that are exclusive to your Twitter stream are more likely to generate buzz amongst your fans.

@VanCanucks http://twitpic.com/117p7l – All #Canucks Olympians wearing their Olympic gloves at practice this morning.

Promotions & Marketing

This is where you can make offers to fans.  Some might be ticket offers like below from the Clippers or sponsor promotions.  The New York Rangers were the only team that I witnessed on #sportsgeektrip that used Twitter at the game when they upgraded some of their twitter followers.  As more sports fans tweet during games expect sports facilities to start engaging with fans in the stadium.

@laclippers Here’s an exclusive offer just for our followers: buy 1 ticket to Sat’s game v. @Spurs, get 1 free: http://bit.ly/951eYQ /CODE: CLIPTWEET

Play By Play

Using Twitter for play by play or score updates can be fraught with danger as many fans may tune out the tweets or worse unfollow due to the high frequency of tweets in a short period.  It can work in a low-scoring sport like hockey or soccer where scores are rare but in higher scoring sports twitter doesn’t translate.  The key thing to remember before tweeting is “Am I providing value to my followers with this tweet?” if the answer is no then don’t hit that enter key.

Score update or highlight tweets however can help generate fervor in your fan base triggering your fan’s Twitter support.  It’s a fine line if you turn your in-game tweets into a more conversational stream (next category) you may see more Twitter action from your fans.

Conversational

This is where Twitter can really help you engage your fans.  Ask questions, answer questions, join in the conversation with your tribe.  Conversations can happen with a “corporate” sports account but many people like talking to a person rather than a brand.  This is where Peter Casey has had success when covering St John’s games via Twitter.

@stkildafc RT @BridgetteHEY: Lock and load! Got my @stkildafc membership today. Two more weeks checking the mail box :) #gosaints

@CFL Not anymore! Thanks for the heads up… RT @merlin67: @CFL you are missing @MrMann86 on your cfl players list

Here’s one of my faves from a game I was at at MSG

@Peter_R_Casey The ref just copped a feel on the other ref. Right cheek. #awkwardmomentsinsports #stjbb

Read more about the #sportsgeektrip in these posts.

Contact Sports Geek for more info on how to manage your Twitter presence .

Formspring…. fan press conference?

Now I am collating my thoughts from the #sportsgeektrip, if you have a question please hit me up via Formspring.

Formspring allows anonymous questions to be asked and answered via a simple web form.

Could Formspring be a good way of getting fans to ask questions and connect with your sport?

How could you use formspring in sports?

  • Take questions from fans for coaches, perhaps a formspring press conference?
  • Setup a season ticket sales account to answer queries & encourage sales
  • Setup an account specific to an event or promotion to handle questions
  • Manage queries from fans surrounding a big news event e.g. New signing or trade

If you have any questions for me about formspring or #sportsgeektrip or anything at all, please ask away…

http://www.formspring.me/SportsGeek

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Televised AFL Draft… we’d like to see that

There have already been a few reviews on the Fox Sports coverage of the AFL Draft.  To say reviews were mixed would be kind. Rather than point out what went wrong, here is the Sports Geek suggestions for AFL Draft 2011 (which by the way will be a tough cover with every 2nd pick going to the Gold Coast).

  1. Lose the reverse order top 10 announcements – It doesn’t “build anticipation” when most question marks on picks start at 7 or 8 but you announce pick 10 first.
  2. Move to a bigger venue – I would hold the draft at a venue like Rod Laver Arena, tickets could be sold to fans and make the draft an entertaining night.
  3. Let Andrew Demetriou announce all picks - Following the NBA & NFL model, apologies to recruiting managers in the future you will submit your picks in allocated time to be read out by AFL CEO who would then greet and congratulate each pick.
  4. Slow down – Allow the broadcasters some time to report on and analyze the picks.  The pace was furious making it hard for TV producers and web producers alike.
  5. Build drama – Quite surprising that one of the bigger stories of the night being Luke Ball was largely overlooked in the Fox coverage.
  6. Discover draft stars – Agree with Ed Wyatt allow some fresh TV talent be discovered as a Draft Expert.
  7. Integrate the fans in the coverage – Why not embrace the chatter on Twitter & Facebook and work it into the coverage with a ticker the same way MTV does?
  8. Use technology available – Costs are involved but the AFL Draft is a perfect vehicle to showcase the multi-channel options on Fox Sports.  e.g. Highlights, Interviews, Stats, Multiple Audio are just a few that would’ve fit well.
  9. Talk to the players – The stars of the night are the players yet we didn’t hear from many of them at all.  Sure they are kids but most would’ve been interviewed a few times during the lead up.  A few standard “How excited are you?” questions give the fans a little insight into their new recruits.
  10. Who’d we pick? – Answer the most important question of the night, ALL NIGHT.  Make sure the talent on hand knows the players picked and can give some info to the fans.  Remember all footy fans want is hope and it goes a long way in selling memberships.

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AFL Draft… #afldraft

At Sports Geek we’ll be following the AFL Draft coverage from an online & TV perspective as a followup to our review of AFL Draft Machine.

Please tweet using #afldraft hashtag and add your comments on AFL Draft coverage.

#afldraft Twitterfountain

The tweets shown in the Twitterfountain are from the public Twitter stream and are not associated with Sports Geek (with the exception of our tweets from @seancallanan & @_SportsGeek_).

Tonight also sees the AFL Draft go up against the Arias keep an eye on which event will win on the Twitter battlefield.

#afldraft

#arias

Thanks to TwitterFountain and Trendsitic for some great Twitter visualisations.

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How sports can use new Twitter lists

NHLTwitterListsTwitter recently released new functionality to allow Twitter users to be grouped into “Lists” to provide easier access to follow groups of your followers.  If you want a full Twitter run down check out this TwipTip post.

At Sports Geek this new feature is a great way to help connect fans, a leader in this area is the NHL who have transformed the NHL Twitter account into a giant fan connection platform.  A simple tweet from the NHL got hockey fans into action.

@NHL Hey guys–we want to create lists of #NHL fans by team! Please Tweet @NHL your favorite team or teams w the hashtag #myfavoriteNHLteam

This allows more fans to connect with their favorite hockey team, which will only help create more buzz around the NHL.  It’s this kind of internet buzz that Mark Cuban believes (as do we) that can enhance the sports TV experience and ratings.

Unfortunately Twitter only allows 20 lists to be created so not all NHL teams are currently listed but it is a great start in building a strong passionate fan base.  The lists allow the fans to engage each other allowing more discussion and creating a strong social media voice for the franchises and league.

Lists also can help leagues and franchises solve the problems of fakes (previous post) by providing their own “Verified” lists like the AFLPA have done for AFL players.

We’ve been playing with lists with our SportsGeeksStars account which follows all Twitter account that interest Sports Geek – sports, leagues, athletes, brands, geeks.  Check them out.

Will new Melbourne A-League learn from #vegefail?

Well you’d have to be living under a rock not to hear the outrage over Kraft’s decision to pick iSnack 2.0 as the name for the new Vegemite/cheese spread.  For better analysis of that decision look to the QBrand QBlog.  It was amazing how passionate the Aussie public was about the choice but it was astounding that Kraft decided on that name from 48,000 entries.  It was such a distraction I tweeted this on Wednesday.

@seancallanan: Carlton responding to public pressure will rebrand Fevola to iFevola 2.0 hoping outrage over name will outweigh behaviour

A-LeagueIn today’s Herald Sun that Melbourne’s newest A-League team (currently known under the working title as Melbourne Heart) is running an online Name-The-Team competition.  Here’s hoping they use the competition primarily about creating support and developing contact with fans but place importance on picking the right name.  If the bookmakers were framing a market I would guess the Melbourne Heart would be the front runner as it has been known and used in football circles over the past 12 months, but as the recent IOC decision to award the 2016 Olympics to Rio over Chicago the bookies are not always right.

We really don’t want the 2nd A-League team in Melbourne to be called iMelbourne 2.0 now do we?

PS If you want another say on iSnack 2.0 there is another public poll to decide, not sure about those names either…