10 things I’d like to see more of in #digisport in 2014

There is no better time to be involved in sport as the convergence of technology and the fan becomes a major aspect in organisations overall strategy. Fans can expect another quantum leap from Australian teams, organisations and strategies in 2014, but here is my predictions of what I’m particularly looking forward to seeing.

10 #Digisport predictions

(Sports Geek note: #digisport is a hashtag for all things sports & digital as opposed to #smsports for social media & sports)

1. Mass content but targeted promotion

Content strategies will be targeted according to the team's audiences

Content strategies will be targeted according to the team’s audiences

Content strategies are changing. As we begin to learn more about the audiences that are consuming our content, the ability to make content that can be shaped or targeted to the most profitable ‘personas’ becomes most valuable.

The ability to then target those pieces of content via in depth knowledge of Facebook’s power editor or a detailed CRM is what will make the difference to it’s success in 2014. Look to see team’s pushing content that is much more appropriate to you, it won’t be an accident.

2. Geo targeted innovations

Will geo-fencing at stadiums take the fan experience to a new level?

Will geo-fencing at stadiums take the fan experience to a new level?

Geo-targeted technology has not yet reached it’s peak in Australia, partly because of connectivity available in Stadiums, but also because it’s largely misunderstood. Using mobile technology is key to this and with the introduction of wifi at many stadiums in the country, it’s only a matter of time before fans attending games are being delivered exclusive content within a geo-fenced boundary around the perimeter of the stadium.

It has two major benefits; 1. It increases the value of attending the game as opposed to fans at home on the couch, and 2. it helps promote purchases while fans are in a buying mood. Where else would they feel FOMO of not being in a team’s colours than at a stadium?

A deeper look could see targeted promotions within a stadium. The MLB has introduced the use of iBeacons to help promote offers and deals at the nearest merch stand straight to the fan’s seat (as Sean discussed with Kenny Lauer from Warriors). The ease of use and conveniency will also add another layer to the game day experience.

3. Mobile traffic and commercialisation

Our fans are become more mobile and so should the content that is produced

Our fans are become more mobile and so should the content that is produced

I’m calling it this year, this is the year that I think team’s mobile traffic will overtake their desktop traffic (if it hasn’t already)! It’s been increasing for the past few years and now it’s time to capitalise on the commercialisation of the mobile revolution.

So many apps and mobile sites have been targeted at information providing as opposed to promoting purchasing opportunities. Look to see merchandise, memberships (if applicable), tickets, food and beverage (see prior point) and pay walled content be front and centre in 2014. If they’re not, your team is missing out!

The more savvy the commercial teams, the more you will see campaigns that are built for mobile before desktop as opposed to the other way around.

Increased connectivity on game days will be the single biggest influence on the increase of mobile traffic and I can’t wait to see what some of the teams have in store for fans this year.

4. Gamification (bahaviour analysis)

Is Behaviour Analysis (Gamification) the next trend in #digisport?

Is Behaviour Analysis (Gamification) the next trend in #digisport?

I’ll admit, I hate the buzz word gamification and prefer the term ‘behaviour analysis’. By this I mean encouraging fans to perform more of the same behaviours and providing them with every avenue possible to discover the content that is most applicable to them.

This, combined with rewards for fans who perform more of the same behaviours will allow clubs to train and influence fans as the competitive mindset comes out amongst sports fans and the rewards become more valuable.

It’s important that this isn’t just related to digital activities though, the ability to link it to team’s biggest income drivers (usually tickets and memberships) will be critical to it’s success.

It’s a new area for many sports teams around the world that I don’t think has yet been capitalised on, but look for it to become increasingly prevalent this year.  (Watch Sean’s #SportsGaming panel from #SportsConf)

5. Targeted communications, particularly EDM’s

Expect to see more specific and targeted communications

Expect to see more specific and targeted communications

How often do you sign up for a newsletter or purchase a ticket from a team and the first offer they send you is for a 10 game membership? I’d like to think there were a few more steps before I was at that level. As more details become available through the ever growing sources of information, you can expect communications to be gradual as teams encourage you to travel along a fan continuum.

Behind any good targeted communications is a refined and detailed Customer Relationship Manager (CRM). There aren’t many clubs that have fully nailed it yet, but when they do you can expect communications to be much more refined and detailed, particularly via email.

As discussed earlier, Facebook’s power editor and new custom audiences manager fits perfectly to add a new element to the CRM and team’s targeted communications. Not only will you receive targeted communications in your inbox, expect to see it on your Facebook feed as well.

6. Data or pay walled content

Will content be pay walled in 2014?

Will content be pay walled in 2014?

There is much debate on paid content from media outlets in Australia at the moment, I won’t bother delving in to it here but you can expect to see more content behind some sort of wall from teams in the future.

Some team’s have tried paid content in the past couple of years and they’ll continue to come up with ideas of what they can offer to those fans. Other teams will most likely begin to dabble in placing exclusive content behind a data wall (a free signup form) to gather fan’s details and enhance their database.

Personally, I don’t think fans are quite yet ready to pay for anything that is in the Australian sports industry at the moment. However, it’s only a matter of time (pending league’s infrastructure setup) before we’ll start seeing some great videos and exclusive stories that fans will have no choice but to want to pay for.

7. Live behind the scenes segments

The Golden State Warriors hosted a live G+ Hangout from their training session in 2013

The Golden State Warriors hosted a live G+ Hangout from their training session in 2013

Live video was a big hit in 2013. Teams and organisations broadcast major announcements live and some teams dabbled in G+ hangouts, such as the Golden State Warriors #warriorslive hangout that Sean attended.

I’m looking forward to see more live content outside of media conferences, video’s such as pre and post game shows are a great way to capitalise on the increased eyeballs on the club’s site.

As infrastructure is improved, so too does the ability to watch HD video on mobile or deliver it tablets without the high data costs to consumers. Weekly shows with player Q&A, behind the scenes exclusives and ‘panel’ type setup shows will help train fans to tune in to their teams via their computer or mobile at 7:00pm at night, rather than commercial television.

We’ve seen the rise of shows from Collingwood, Essendon, West Coast and the Broncos but how long will it be before we see clubs making some substantial dollars from sponsor integrations?

8. YouTube becomes a major content platform

Organisations need to embrace YouTube for their online video

Organisations need to embrace YouTube for their online video

Gone are the days where clubs and organisations can ignore YouTube as a platform. It’s the second most visited site in the world (only behind that of it’s owner, Google) and clubs are missing out on valuable eye balls if they don’t have a presence there.

Enough of the arguments of it’s insular setup and it’s lack of traffic it drives, administrators need to see the bigger picture and that exposing their brand to millions of people around the world will help keep them coming back for more AND gain interest via their native site. Everyone is saying that ‘video is king’, but how can they say that when they don’t have a presence on the biggest video platform in the world?

Admittedly, there are rights issues over match footage that need to be dealt with but the sooner the owners of those rights accept that YouTube isn’t going anyway and instead choose to use it their benefit, the better it will be for all fans.

According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network. This trend has seen the USA take massive leaps and bounds with YouTube in the past two years, we can only hope that this progresses in 2014 and that this time next year, this won’t be an issue for any club or organisation in Australia anymore.

9. Drop the ‘Big Data’ tag to analysing the data that matters

Keep it simple and focus on the data that matters

Keep it simple and focus on the data that matters

2013′s hot phrase was ‘Big Data’. Everywhere you looked people were talking about it, some said they knew what it was while others claimed it wasn’t an issue. I instead think that this year, sports digital marketers will start analysing the data that matters. Fiona Green agreed with this take on SGP recently.

There is only so much you can do with the countless amounts of data sources that we have these days. In 2014, I’m looking forward to seeing teams going back to the basics and analysing what matters most and using that data to the best of their ability. This may mean different things for different organisations but the principle remains the same of keeping it simple without over complicating it.

10. Using and encouraging fan generated content

Recognising the fans and using the content they create will be a major trend in 2014

Recognising the fans and using the content they create will be a major trend in 2014

Gone are the days that the official club site wouldn’t provide a somewhat contentious opinion on it’s platform. Traditional media have thrived on it for years and every day club’s digital teams edge closer to becoming their own mini media outlet.

Fans will be encouraged to submit their opinion and voice on the club’s sites and it will re-purposed to generate further content and interaction with fans. Not only does it give the fan recognition for submitting their opinion it motivates them to continue to return to the site. How do you think fan forums have thrived for so long? Look for a similar setup (again, they’ll have to give data to the organisation to sign up) from clubs in the coming year.  Take a look at what the Seahawks did with #TappedIn site.

Connect & Join the conversation

Have I missed out on any or do you think I’m off the mark with some of the items? Let us know via Twitter @DanPinne, LinkedIn or via the comments below.  Give the Sports Geek Podcasts I’ve been on a listen.

See you at #SBNight

Hope to see you at #SBNight at HONEY on Tuesday.

Sponsor and Lottery Pick Activations at the #NBADraft

With the 2013 NBA Draft less than 48 hours away, here is a look at some of the interesting activations from teams ahead of the big night at the Barclays Centre, New York.

Pick 1 – Cleveland Cavaliers (#CavsDraft)

Draft coverage in American sports teams is always impressive. In preparation for the big night, the Cavs have put forward a sharp Draft page where fans can get all the relevant information they need to be informed and take part in the Draft festivities. The choice to showcase their recent high picks Kyrie Irving, Tristain Thompson, Dion Waiters, & Tyler Zeller is effective in getting people excited about the event as it focuses on the future of the team, rather than the current poor results. The Cavs’ Draft page serves as a great reference point for fans to help combat the wave of information that Immediately, fans can see the #CavsDraft hashtag, links to the team’s social media platforms and a list of the teams’s top four picks, while a countdown clock always adds to the occasion.

Cleveland Cavaliers Draft Homepage - Header

Fans can get even more involved with free tickets to the Cavaliers Draft Party, and Draft Sweepstakes which encourage fans to share photos on Twitter or Instagram with the #1 represented. Winning fans have the chance to see the Cavaliers’ Draft press conference in person.

Cleveland Cavaliers Sweepstakes

Pick 2 – Orlando Magic (#MagicDraft)

Pushing the slogan ‘Next Season Starts Now,’ the Magic have promoted their Draft Party via their website and social media. To encourage fans to RSVP to the event, the Magic were offering a 10% discount on food and beverage orders. They also saw a chance to promote season tickets for 2013-14 by incorporating merchandise signed by the team’s first draft pick. In the lead-up to the event, feature writer for the team John Denton, has been going back to see which players would end up where if each draft of the last ten years was redone.

Orlando Magic - Draft Party Info

Pick 5 – Phoenix Suns (#SunsDraft)

As has been done for other teams, writers for the Suns’ Draft page have undertaken mock drafts to try and give fans an idea of who to expect in the orange and purple next season. From there, prospective picks have been featured and profiled, and fans have the opportunity to tweet in to offer opinion and show support using the #SunsDraft hashtag, as well as browse galleries from previous drafts.

Phoenix Suns - Draft Prospects

Phoenix Suns - Social Stream & Galleries

Pick 9 – Minnesota Timberwolves (#WolvesDraft)

Minnesota Timberwolves Draft Day Coverage

In addition to featuring draft profiles, interviews and video of workout sessions, the T-Wolves will also host their own Draft party. For those unable to attend the Party in person, the team will again host Wolves Draft Live 2013 which has been a successful way of interacting with fans since it’s debut in 2010 (not forgetting 2011 when Sean was part of the coverage  (video) with Digital Cheer Squad, then Sports DP). According to the website:

Wolves Draft Live 2013, hosted by Timberwolves.com editor/writer Mark Remme and Timberwolves radio studio host John Focke, will feature an information-packed show focusing on the Wolves’ two first-round draft picks and providing a live look into the Wolves Draft Room throughout the night. Remme and Focke will answer questions from fans that are submitted via timberwolves.com, Twitter (@MNTimberwolves) and Cover It Live. They will also welcome on media guests, show the top videos from the 2012-13 season and get fan react ion to the draft picks from those attending the draft party.

Pick 10 – Portland Trailblazers (#RipCityDraft)

The Trailblazers’ 2013 Draft coverage is nothing short of impressive. On top of hosting an array of draft-related articles, photos and videos for fan consumption, the team are breaking down Draft stats big time. Using 61 mock drafts from around the web, Portland have complied a consensus list of who is mostly likely to go at picks #1, #2, #3 and the all important #10, according to the wider NBA community. A heat map shows where Trailblazer fans are physically tweeting about the #RipCityDraft on Twitter, while a fans are also being asked that age-old draft question: Should we trade a top ten pick?

Portland Trailblazers - Mock Draft ConsensusPortland Trailblazers - #RipCity Draft MapPortland Trailblazers - Draft Poll   

So there you have it – some great ways that teams and sponsors can get active and get involved in Draft day coverage!

NBA’s @MNTimberwolves help fans #GETCLOSER

Kevin Love signs autographs for fans to kick off the Get Closer campaign

Kevin Love signs autographs for fans to kick off the Get Closer campaign

The Minnesota Timberwolves, like many other professional sports organisations, use multiple social media platforms to engage and interact with their fans and supporters. Recently, the team has used to their YouTube channel to support and promote their innovative ‘Get Closer’ season-ticket renewal strategy.

The campaign draws on sports fans’ desire to be as close to the action as possible, but also embodies a sense of appreciation for fans who have continually shown their support. Driven by the hash-tagged #GetCloser slogan, this theme of ‘appreciation’ is consistent across all mediums, and herein lies the strategy’s uniqueness and effectiveness.

Instead of promoting season ticket renewals directly or giving away merchandise, the Timberwolves are showing how they have and will continue to give back to their fans and the community through, player/fan events and behind the scenes access. This gives us a sense that the fans are as important as the players are which is particularly evident through their recent series of videos on YouTube:

Behind the scenes access:

As you can you see from the videos above, Minnesota gave season ticket holders an opportunity of a life time to be part of their campaign commercials. The videos portray fans with players in a real life conversation discussing topics not relating to basketball. This shows another side of the players rather than their athletic abilities which are usually on display for the fans, but insight on a personal level, in a very comical way (Andrei Kirilenko’s ‘Get Closer:  AK’ was a personal favourite).

There are also a couple of videos which give fans a behind the scenes access of their jet, inside the TV Truck, interview with Wolves radio host Alan Horton and Player outing coverage. There is also a special playlist dedicated to season ticket holders who have renewed their membership with a special message from individual players, again going above and beyond for their support.

As we can see Minnesota has been very active and measured through their Youtube channel when showing fan appreciation and continually offering an experience even when the final buzzer has sounded.

To improve the campaigns effectiveness and reach the Timberwolves have effectively used their other digital platforms. Facebook was used to show the benefits and access the Wolves give to their fans which is the experience unlike another teams offer:

Timberwolves - Get Closer Fan Experience 1

Timberwolves - Get Closer Fan Experience 2

Twitter was also used with the #GetCloser hash tag to group and follow tweets:



Event coverage was seen through Instagram:

Nikola Pekovic Free lunch @ Jimmy Johns

Last but not least Google+ and Vine have also been used to support the season ticket drive:

One final note, Social media platforms all have their own unique way of engaging and interacting with followers and users, this provides opportunities for Sports organisations to establish deeper connections with fans and supporters. The Minnesota Timberwolves have executed a thorough campaign involving a range of platforms to show how they give back to their fans who give so much.

"Love this promotion by my mates at Timberwolves, despite a difficult season on court the Timberwolves make sure the fan is the centre of everything they do.  Congrats to Ted Johnson, Jeff Munneke and Bob Stanke for a great campaign."
Sean Callanan, @SportsGeek

22 articles you may have missed this week

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Case Study: Buffalo Bills #billsdraft Twitter Competition


Despite being the bottom-placed finisher in the AFC East division last season, the Buffalo Bills have kicked things off on the right note in 2013 when it comes to engaging fans online. The franchise recently held a Twitter competition that gave fans a chance to announce the team’s 4th round draft pick at the upcoming NFL Draft. 

Tweeters were required to send in a picture using the #billsdraft hashtag to either the team’s official handle (@buffalobills) or that of sponsor Tim Hortons (@TimHortonUS), that illustrated why they were the biggest fans:

Buffalo Bills Twitter Competition Tweet

The response was impressive, with a number of fans tweeting in – some getting pretty creative: 



A week after announcing the competition, the Bills directed fans back to their website to check out some honourable mentions, as well as asking them to vote on the chosen finalists. The winner was announced a day later:

Buffalo Bills #billsdraft Twitter Competition Result Announcement

Here’s a graphical depiction thanks to Topsy.com, that illustrates the spike in the use of the #billsdraft hashtag during the competition’s duration from April 5th-12th. After only a handful of uses during the fortnight leading up to the competition, the hashtag was used a total of 923 in that seven day period:

#billsdraft mentions during Twitter competition duration

There are a number of reasons why this Bills case study was an effective Twitter competition:

1. Entry for fans was simple - The easier a competition is to enter, the more likely you are to receive a higher number of entrants. In this instance, fans only had to tweet in a photo and use the #billsdraft hashtag for a chance to win. Often simple is best!

2. Promotion was consistent - When plugging a competition or giveaway via Twitter, 1-2 tweets per day is advisable as you don’t want to run the risk of losing fans who may see multiple posts as spam. Having a secondary account (sponsor @TimHortons) can be beneficial when it comes to reach.

3. Sponsor incorporation - Getting a sponsor on board and incorporating them directly into the engagement is always a positive move.

4. Competition guidelines were transparent - In addition to posting the rules on their website, the Bills announced finalists and winner were announced through official channels.

Sports Geek discusses NFL Draft on Harf Time

Sean joined Harf this week on Harf Time to discuss how big the NFL Draft is on TV and on digital.

 Download MP3

Subscribe to  or Sports Geek Podcast in iTunes.

Expect to see more NFL content on Sportsgeekhq.com as the season approaches!

#SportsGeekTrip Recap – San Francisco, Portland, San Diego, Los Angeles

Sports Geek Trip V4 - San Francisco, Portland, San Diego, LAOn Tuesday, I was able to recap on of my most successful #SportsGeekTrips, this marks the fourth trip to the US to connect with and catch up with sports teams and tech companies to learn more about what sports digital strategies are leading the way.

Here is a recording of the GoToMeeting I held with Sports Geek clients from Australia and New Zealand who tuned in to hear how it went after following the #SportsGeekTrip hashtag on my travels.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the recap in the comments and please fire any follow up questions in the comments below.

Want to watch a specific segment?
(Twitter 2:30, Tint 7:30, Pinterest 11:40, Golden State Warriors 16:15, List.ly 22:00, Oakland A’s 26:10, Chirpify 30:00, Ticketnet 34:00, Portland Trailblazers 37:30, Social Media Marketing World 13 – #SMMW13 42:00,Jay Baer 45:15, Pat Flynn 49:00, Brian Carter 50:30,LA Galaxy 53:00)

Want to skip through the presentation first?
Slides are also available on the Sports Geek SlideShare channel.

Sports Geek Trip – The tech side

Sports Geek Trip – The Sports side

  • Golden State Warriors
  • Oakland Athletics
  • Portland Trailblazers
  • Los Angeles Galaxy

Some Sports Geek Trip snaps

Would you be interested in joining me on next #SportsGeekTrip?

Stay tuned to find our when and where, make sure you’re subscribed to Sports Geek News.

#Sportsbiz roundup – @adioso & @AFL, Twitter & #MarchMadness & Facebook hashtags

While two of the new rules approved by NFL team owners last week slipped through without major criticism, players didn’t hold back in using Twitter to express their disapproval at the third, the controversial crown-of-the-helmet rule.

adioso help you plan your AFL Flights

Is your AFL side playing interstate soon? Adioso lets you follow your AFL team anywhere by keeping an eye on the cheapest flights for those interstate trips (right). 

Twitter utilises March Madness to introduce 15-second ‘instant replays’ of NCAA game highlights. Cue a significant door opening for the platform’s future in video advertising.

San Francisco 49ers fans won’t feel frustrated by patchy internet connection at home games again. The team’s new stadium will serve the Wi-Fi needs of 68,000 patrons simultaneously.

‘We have no choice but to get more social, more mobile, more personal and more inclusive.’ Georgetown University professor of sports management Marty Conway explains how we can hold the attention of generation HD.

Auckland Blues use Tine to profile social media content for fans new to social mediaThe Auckland Blues use Tint to showcase social media activity (right). A brilliant tool to help keep fans up to date and engaged.  We installed the Tint for the Blues, like our Social Media Hub, please contact us if you want one.

Facebook’s plan to incorporate Twitter’s most iconic marker, the hashtag, as a way to group conversations and give users more reason to stay logged in.

The NFL has joined with GE and Under Armour in a four-year, $60M brain injury study. They’ll be looking at new ways to diagnose brain trauma and develop new ideas for helmets and other safety equipment.

A great initiative from The Fifth Army, fighting depression, bullying and homophobia. The more informed you are, the better equipped you are to handle these issues.

The usual suspects (LeBron, Federer, Manning, Kobe & Phelps) dominate Bloomberg Sports list of the 100 Most Powerful Athletes in 2013 based on ranking within their sport, endorsements and social media presence.

 What stories did we miss?  Please let us know in the comments?

Twitter Helps with Instant Marketing

Twitter has had the largest growth of any digital network globally as reported by GlobalWebIndexOne. They have experienced a growth of 40% in monthly worldwide active users from Q2 to Q4 in 2012.

Over the past couple of months we have seen businesses react with lightening speed in harnessing opportune moments in sports for their own benefit. Companies such as Oreo, Audi and Walgreens took to Twitter during the Superbowl power outage, while Under Armour created the #DeAndreDunkFace campaign on Instagram, following DeAndre Jordan’s earth-shattering alley-oop.

During the beginning of the third quarter with the Baltimore Ravens up 28-6 over the San Francisco 49er’s, the unimaginable occurred in the Superbowl, the lights went out. This delay was seen as an fitting time for brands to market themselves in a creative way through Twitter.

Oreo had an ad running during the Superbowl which was promoting their Instagram account, getting users to let them know which part of their famous cookie was their favourite.

But it was mission control with the brand team from Oreo and their agency, 360i, in a media type war room which stole the show, with their quick thinking Twitter post. The Oreo graphic (below) was “designed, captioned and approved within minutes” said Sarah Hofstetter, President of 360i.

The post was ‘retweeted’ and ‘favourited’ thousands of times within 15 minutes of it going up.

Audi, like Oreo had already aired an ad during the game, but decided to take on their competitor Mercedes-Benz. Now Mercedes-Benz, @MBUSA, is the naming rights holder for the Superdome, therefore Audi saw the opportunity to promote their unique LED lighting on their cars, by offering Mercedes-Benz some help.

Not to be outdone the supermarket giant Walgreens got in on the act with these two witty posts themselves.

These are just a few examples of companies which saw an opportunity to reach users on Twitter with their comical posts.

Another creative campaign which was aired last week via Instagram and Twitter was Under Armours “Show Me Your Dunk Face”. Under Armour saw an opportunity when their sponsored athlete DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers threw down one thunderous ally-opp dunk on Brandon Knight which was being labelled, ‘Dunk of the Year’ across the web. The video is below for your viewing pleasure.

This sparked Under Armour into action which created an Instagram contest, requiring fans to submit their best impersonation of the face DeAndre Jordan made at the end of the play walking back to the bench. A simple contest followed by the #DeAndreDunkFace hash tag.

De Andre Jordan Show Me Your Dunk Face

This has lead to Under Armour creating two limited edition graphic t-shirts to honour the ridiculous play encapsulaity the dunk and DeAndre Jordan’s face.

One of the limited edition t-shirts from Under Armour

One of the limited edition t-shirts from Under Armour

With the continual growth of active users on twitter and other digital platforms companies are able to become creative when attempting to engage with their audience. It also allows for instant communication and reach before the topic becomes saturated and losses its effectiveness. This means Sporting organisations need to be ready for any situation in which they deem or see could potentially become viral. It now comes down to how quickly they can turn around the production of the campaign as effectively as Oreo and Under Armour, but I am sure the examples given won’t be the last.

Let us know of a campaign which has impressed you within sports.

John Wall Twitter Competition: Success or Lost Opportunity?

Despite his productive on-court form since coming back from injury, John Wall recently delivered the Twitterverse an example of precisely what not to do when it comes to social media competitions.

In an effort to promote the college-party themed film ‘21 And Over,’ the Wizard’s point-guard held a signed cap competition, tweeting the following on February 28:

On the surface – Positives and Negatives

Let’s acknowledge what he did right. The tweet contains a simple message and offers a task that is relatively easy for followers to execute. He also gets a tick for displaying the prize on offer, as this provides clarity as well as visual appeal to the competition.

However, the overall effectiveness of the promotion has left a lot to be desired.

What instantly hits me is Wall’s apparent lack of enthusiasm for the initiative. His opener; ‘Anybody want a signed hat?’ emits a lackadaisical tone, reminiscent of the I-guess-I’ll-choose-you attitude the captain of a school yard basketball team shows toward the kid chosen last in a pick-up game. The tweet feels subdued, and I can’t imagine his fans are jumping out of their seats to get involved.

But the more significant problem lies in the type of competition Wall has implemented. Given it requires just two of his followers to tweet in a photographic response it could, in theory, be run and won within 60 seconds. Fast-forward another 30 minutes, and it would be feasible to suggest that most of Wall’s 721,000-strong Twitter following wouldn’t bother to make the effort to take part, as they’d be under the assumption that, due to Wall’s popularity on the Twitter space, the competition’s outcome had already been decided.

The Stats Don’t Lie 

Astoundingly, despite being posted out over three weeks ago, it appears Wall’s tweet has only received one direct reply:

When we dug a little deeper – using Twitter’s advanced search tool - the results were even more damning. Here are some of the things we uncovered: 

  • Zero competition related tweets to @John_Wall containing the words: ‘signed,’ ‘cap,’ ‘movie,’ ‘ticket,’ ‘stub,’ or ‘prize’; 
  • Zero competition related tweets to @John_Wall containing the names of the major apps people use to share photographs online (twitpic, lockerz, instagram pic.twitter, snapseed, camera+, etc); and
  • One competition related tweet to @John_Wall containing the hashtags ‘#21andover,’ or ‘#signedcap’ (and that was merely a retweet from a fan).

In addition to illustrating poor fan engagement, I’m sure promoters of the film wouldn’t be that impressed with the 28 retweets and 28 favourites that have come since the tweet was published. 

Correcting Wall’s mistakes

A more effective way to implement a Twitter competition of this nature would be with the use of a random incentive system. In this scenario, instead of rewarding speed, Wall would stipulate that any reply containing a picture of a movie stub ticket from ’21 and over,’ sent to his account by a certain time two or three days later, for instance, would go into the running to win one of the signed caps. This would give each of his followers an honest chance at winning the memorabilia, and a reasonable time in which to reply. A competition held over a sustained period, with uncertain results would undoubtedly encourage a wider and more intense level of fan engagement. Winners would then be drawn at random using a website such as Twitterdraw.

While sportsgeekhq.com has already examined what it takes to carry out an effective social media competition, using Collingwood defender Harry O’Brien’s boot competition as case study, we can also use a more recent example provided to us by Wall’s NBA-counterpart, Kyrie Irving, who on February 22, tweeted about a competition for ‘Crysis 3’ a first person shooter game from Electronic Arts (EA):

Note the differences between this tweet and that of Wall’s:

  • The proactive tone and personalised endorsement of the product;
  • An easier method of competition entry (i.e. Retweet rather than a reply that has to contain a photograph);
  • A non-absolute sense of time (i.e. You may still have a chance to win, even if you aren’t in the first 5% to respond); and
  • No confirmation on the number of copies Irving has to distribute.

As you can see, this has been retweeted more than 4,500 times, which is a significantly superior result in contrast to his Washington Wizards counterpart, despite having a smaller Twitter fan base to work with (506,068 at time of publishing). While you could argue that the Cleveland point guard has a better product to promote, his approach is significantly more engaging than Wall’s.

Final Observations

Since there have been no follow-up tweets from Wall’s account confirming a competition winner there are still in theory, two signed caps up for grabs.  You could enter the competition now, nearly a month later, and still be in with a shot of winning a cap signed by a number one draft pick in the NBA!

If the Wizards’ guard replies, I’ll be sure to let the Sports Geek family know.

Tips for Prize Giveaways on Twitter:

1. Be Concise and Well-defined in your message – 140 characters can evaporate quickly; use them wisely!
2. Use engaging Criteria – Frequency over immediacy. Rather than asking for the ‘first’ reply or retweet, convey that any fan who meets the criteria by a certain time, has an equal shot at winning (It’s a marathon not a sprint!).
3. Adopt an Active and Enthusiastic tone – If you’re not excited about engaging with your followers, why should they reciprocate?
4. Don’t get offside with Twitter – Try to adhere to Twitter guidelines when it comes to competitions and giveaways.

*Photo of movie ticket stub was acquired from the Twitter account of Bspor3, who was responding to a similar competition held by Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons.

UPDATE: Thanks to Dane May from NCLUSIVEsports for alerting us to other another reply to John Wall’s competition, and the fact that there were other NBA players who partook in the ’21 and Over’ campaign:

Update - new reply

While Wall wasn’t the only NBA star to undertake a Twitter competition to promote the film, we chose to highlight his giveaway because we were amazed by the lack of response he received, despite having such a large Twitter fan base. Just goes to show how difficult it can be to engage a large audience on the social space.

The Top 50 Harlem Shakes


To finish 2012 we experienced ‘Gangnam Style’, now the next viral Youtube clip for 2013 is the ‘Harlem Shake’. The viral video has prompted many elite sporting teams to perform their own take, most notably the NBA team Miami Heat lead by Lebron James as King James. Crazes and viral topics allow sporting teams to provide entertainment of a different kind than just the excitement of sport the athletes participate in. Offering some comic relief through such videos offers fans a different insight into the daily lives of an organisation and athletes.

The videos are roughly 30 seconds long and are performed with no real choreography or formal dance experience required.  Participants range from players, coaches, fans and mascots dressed as if it were Halloween “dancing” to Baauer’s  ‘Harlem Shake’ song. Most of the videos start with one individual in a mask dancing by themselves surrounded by a group whom don’t take much notice until the beat drops in the song when mayhem breaks loose.

If you haven’t seen one by now it’s okay, below you will find the top 10 Shakes performed by sporting teams and a list of FORTY other videos from different leagues and sports around the world, such as the NBA, MLB, NHL, EPL, College sports, AFL and NRL. Comment to let us know which one is your favourite and why, enjoy.


1. University of Georgia Men’s Swim & Dive Team

This has to but number one for one main reason, it’s performed underwater! Along with that, the setting up of the table and chairs are another feat in itself and lastly the student performing the shake in a sleeping bag underwater, gets a difficulty score of 10.

2. NBA Miami Heat

Miami’s shake starts with Chris ‘Birdman’ Anderson acting as his namesake, followed by Lebron James leading the team as ‘King James’. The Heat decided to perform an extended version with close ups of James, Chris Bosh with a blinged out boombox, a dancing bear and Ray Allen as the Phantom.

3. University of Maryland Men’s Basketball Game

A very impressive Harlem Shake which involves the student sections at the Maryland’s basketball game versus Duke. This is a great example of the craze being used in a unique way to engage fans at a live event. The songs prior are very impressive to watch as well. (1:35)

4. University of Kansas Men’s Basketball Team

This is the first video where we see a coach involved. Bill Self is seen coming up with plays for the team but isn’t having much success until he writes ‘Harlem Shake’ on the board. It’s always great to see a grown man dressed as a baby as well.

5. NBA Denver Nuggets

Denver’s rendition is impressive because of the Nugget’s centre JaVale McGee dressed as the predator, watch out!

6. University of Louisville Men’s Basketball Team

What better way to celebrate a win . . . . . than performing the Harlem Shake. Unfortunately no props or costumes, but definitely style points for the dance at the beginning.

7. EPL Manchester City

Manchester City is the first English Premier League team to perform the Harlem Shake, featuring many superheroes, i guess they were recruited to catch up on the table.

8. AFL Hawthorn FC

The first Australian sporting team to make the list involves a chicken being a chicken in the gym until a penguin and the Tasmanian devil arrive. I am unsure what the player in the bin is doing but i guess that’s what the Harlem Shake is all about.

9. NRL New Zealand Warriors

The New Zealand Warriors performed their Harlem Shake during a news report on a plane, yes on a plane. I don’t know if any safety regulations were breached but it’s safe to say people aren’t meant to fit in the overhead luggage stowaway (3.00)

10.  NBA Toronto Raptors

To round off the top 10 we have the Toronto Raptors. Amir Johnson decides to interrupt Dwayne Casey during a halftime speech wearing an alien mask. Why this rounds out the top 10 you ask, the extended solo by the giant mouse at the end.

NBA Harlem Shake Videos

NBA All-Star Jam

mascots, mascots, mascots, mascots and MORE mascots!

Dallas Mavericks

Dirk Nowitzki and Vince Carter star together in their simple rendition inspired from the 60’s

San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs players haven’t performed a Harlem Shake yet, but that hasn’t stopped the Spurs staff from getting involved!

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors felt as though one Harlem Shake wasn’t enough. In their video they have brought us: the Arena Shake, Tunnel Shake, #Bazemourning Shake and Pre-game Shake!

Phoenix Suns

Another staff video, this time in the Sun’s team store. The players don’t always get to have the fun.

Atlanta Hawks

Harry the Hawk with some lucky fans in the 6th man section get into the spirit of things at the game

Charlotte Bobcats

The Bobcats weren’t happy with just one performance like Golden State, they have created an in game edition along with a team store special.

Orlando Magic

Orlando’s mascot STUFF leads this all out mayhem clip featuring fan’s at the Amway Centre

Minnesota Timberwolves – The Anti Harlem Shake Edition

If you’re not a fan of the Miami Heat you will definitely enjoy this clip. The Timberwolves mascot is seen hitting a fake lebron james with a bat, a video which was screened at the game. Unfortunately the inspiration didn’t rub off on the players to well.

MLB Harlem Shake Videos

Kansas City Royals

With spring training coming to a close a couple of the Royals players decided to celebrate.

Oakland Athletics

Between selling memberships and tickets, the sales team at Oakland managed to fit in a Harlem Shake during lunch!

Miami Marlins

What’s impressive about the Marlins performance is the use of costumes! look at the size of the crab and the seahorse.

Arizona Diamondbacks

I think the players weren’t too happy with their current warm up routine, I guess they found a new one!

Super Rugby Harlem Shake Videos


Speechless on this video, superman I believe almost knocks himself out on the camera.


I don’t quite understand the romantic affection with the weights, but the energy is definitely there from the Blue’s.

NFL Harlem Shake Videos

With NFL teams currently on break it was left to the rookies, and they haven’t disappointed. See if you can spot any future NFL stars.


NCAA Harlem Shake Videos

University of Kentucky

ESPN’s College Gameday and Kentucky fans have produced a great video with their own interpretation of the Harlem Shake song, so if you’re sick of the song you will LOVE this one.

Florida Gators (Live edition)

Wanting to get the crowd involved in half time entertainment, the Gators have found a solution.

Florida Gators (Again)

I believe they learnt their lesson from this version as it was lacking energy and participants, check out the dead cockroach!

University of Texas

I believe things are always bigger in Texas

University of Oregon

The Duck has come to fool everyone! Just when you think no one is going to Shake with him, there is a sudden rush of madness!

University of Nebraska

First practice at spring training for the football season is a great opportunity to get penalties out of the system . . . . . . . . and the Harlem Shake.

University of Georgia Tech

Not quite up there with Georgia’s underwater performance but are they walking on water?

University of Southern Miss

I guess we all knew Seymour wouldn’t be alone for long.

University of Tennessee

Another swim team edition featuring a gorilla and some handstands.

University of Georgia

Another video from Georgia but this is the land based version, DAWG style, from the football team.

Northwestern University

I am not too sure if this is the best environment to take your first date or even slow dance in.

South Dakota University

The effort is there but the participants are not.

AFL Harlem Shake Videos

Saint Kilda FC

Great effort by the players and the mascot but i am not too sure if the fans were too impressed judging by their top comment: “Thats cute and all, but i would like to see a flag in my lifetime. Thanks”

NRL Harlem Shake Videos

Gold Coast Titans

I guess you have to be in it to win it they say. Props to the cheerleader for hanging upside down!

Sydney Roosters

Sorry did I interrupt a yoga class?

Cronulla Sharks

An impressive showing of enthusiasm from the Sharks team and where did the motorbike come from?

National Hockey League Harlem Shake Videos

Phoenix Coyotes

With the energy they saved during the lookout the Coyotes players put it to good use on the ice.

Columbus Blue Jackets

A dancing bug, cheerleaders, beach balls and tenpins are standard in a Harlem Shake video now.

Racing Harlem Shake Videos

Jeff Gordon (NASCAR)

The Harlem Shake isn’t just for team sports, team bonding in racing is essential.

Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR)

Jimmie just wanted to keep on celebrating his Daytona 500 win, and his crew were happy to oblige.

Red Bull Racing (V8 Supercars)

Red Bull gives me wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiings. The Harlem Shake has now been shown to reduce stress levels after working long hours, or is that delirium?

Sauber Team (Formula One)

This would make for some interesting viewing if each pit crew had to perform the Harlem Shake prior to refueling and tire changes.

English Premier League Harlem Shake Videos

Fulham FC

Keep calm and do the Harlem Shake! A great version by the Fulham players with some smooth moves by Billy the Badger.

No more Harlem Shake videos….

That’s it!  50 Harlem Shake videos from the world of sports.

Harf Time discuss Harlem Shake

Sean discussed it on Harf Time and declared it over, explaining memes are getting quicker and have a shorter lifespan than ever before.

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Podcast transcription

Kelly:   It’s time to talk sport and put a bit of a digital media spin on it, our digital media guru Sean Callanan is up nice and early for this Saturday morning. Morning Sean!

Sean:    Morning Kelly!

Kelly:   What’s caught your eye this week?

Sean:    Oh it’s not just this week but all through pretty much February the Harlem Shake is taking over the internet.

Kelly:   Now I’m pleased you brought this up because can you explain something for me? What is the Harlem Shake?

Sean:    So the Harlem Shake is an internet meme, it’s a You Tube meme and it’s pretty much, been doing a bit of research on it, it’s going so viral there are so many different copies of it. Apparently it’s been attributed to a couple of teenagers in Queensland that have done the first one.

Kelly:   Really?

Sean:    Apparently. The way it goes is there’s a song Harlem Shake by a band called Bower, so maybe Francis will have to put that on his playlist soon. So that plays and it just sort of builds and builds, and the video goes that you have one guy just dancing and everyone else is not paying attention. And then when the beat drops about fifteen seconds in, everyone goes crazy. So they’re dancing and costumes and it goes for about thirty seconds.

Kelly:   Is this it? The Harlem Shake?

Sean:    That might be it in the background, yes. So as it starts there’s a bit of head bobbing and dancing by the casual guy and then when it goes…

Kelly:   You’re not going to make us do it are you?

Sean:    No we’re not going to do it now, we might do the Grandstand Harlem Shake next week when Francis is back because I know he’s going to want to be involved.

Kelly:   That’s our producer Con that’s got his finger on the beat there.

Sean:    But you know an internet meme has hit its zenith when you get the best basketball player on the planet, Lebron James, joining in.

Kelly:   I knew Portland had done this…

Sean:    There have been a few sports teams jumping on the band wagon of it and there is a bit of how long is this thing got if you do it, if you done it too late, you don’t want to jump the shark and there is a bit of that with the Harlem Shake but if you haven’t checked out the Miami Heat version with Lebron James…

Kelly:   The entire team.

Sean:    The entire team in the locker room with Lebron James in full king gear, crown and red cape. Dwayne Wade in a full – what can only be described as a – furry bear costume. Chris Bosh as a pimp…

Kelly:   These are the coolest dudes on the planet.

Sean:    And they’ve done it, they’ve done it because that’s what their generation is consuming YouTube. We’ve seen how Matt Duffy from the Storm did one when they were over in the UK and he uploaded that on his own account. So you’ve got players doing it, you’ve got my son’s school has done one, so everyone has done one. If you haven’t starred in a Harlem Shake video you don’t know what you’re doing!

Kelly:   So when does it become not cool anymore?

Sean:    Well that’s to be decided. Last year we had Psy and Gangham Style and everyone did that and then it eventually fell off the cliff.

Kelly:   When Novak Djokovic did that at the Australian Open I was going ‘That’s just weeks old and I’ve seen you do it a hundred times and it’s not funny’.

Sean:    When we see the Today show do the Harlem Shake, put a line through it. So last year we had Call Me Maybe and everyone did that…

Kelly:   Which one was that one?

Sean:    I’m not going to start singing but the Carly Rae Call Me Maybe song. So the swimming teams did it but it’s even…

Kelly:   And the British Olympic team did it.

Sean:    Exactly. But there’s even been the Colorado College ultimate Frisbee team, yes there is actually a Frisbee team, did one on a plane when it was in mid air! And now the FFA in the States are now looking into it, but really Frontier Airlines where it was held can’t really complain because they did a Harlem Shake two days earlier in one of the airports while they were having a layover. So it’s pretty much everywhere at the moment! Hawthorn’s done it, I expect a few more Australian football teams maybe to do one, one or two. But yeah it’s a wonder how much it’s got left.

But Sport Centre put up a graphic, had to explain it to everybody who didn’t know what it was that it caused the Miami Heat Harlem Shake to get more coverage than NHL on sports centre. Quite funny and just a matter of you have to get in quick and get it done because after a while everyone will be saying ‘Not another Harlem Shake!’ But if you go to YouTube put in Harlem Shake, there you go that’s your afternoon, there’s four or five hours of viewing right there!

Kelly:   Now you know everything about digital media, where do these things start? I mean could you and I this afternoon just sit there and think let’s come up with a concept and put it out there on YouTube, but how do people pick up on it?

Sean:    That’s always the toughest brief. Everyone goes ‘Oh we’re going to do a video, we want it to be a viral video’. You can’t pick them. You can try to put elements that might be viral and in this case it’s copying it, but like I said earlier a couple of teenagers did it as a comedy sketch and it got picked up and people did copies of it. So it’s a bit hard to say, who would have thought that Gangham Style would have gone as big as it did. You can’t bank on it, it’s just pretty much…there’s a lot of people putting out a lot of content, there is a lot of people that do consume that short video type of stuff. If you put up enough wacky stuff, people will like it and if it’s something you can make your own version of it, that’s when it becomes its own thing, the original producers don’t get anything out of it, it just becomes this thing. Whereas Psy the guy behind Gangham Style made millions because so many people watched his YouTube clip and he got all that money off the YouTube advertising. So he’s actually made more money from YouTube advertising from people watching his video on You Tube than actually selling the record. And part of that is people doing copies.

Kelly:   So from a club perspective, the Hawthorn officials or the Miami Heat officials if you can tell those boys what to do, but would they be happy with this? Are they happy that they get together, obviously it’s good sort of moral and things but the actual hits. I notice the Hawthorn Football Club put it out on their website. Is that a bonus, are they trying to push that?

Sean:    Oh definitely. Because all their fans would love it. When you’re marketing as a club, you’re always marketing to your fans. If your fans will love it, it’s a no brainer. It doesn’t matter if anyone else likes it or doesn’t like or thinks it’s stupid. If Hawthorn fans thinks it’s awesome and gets people to the site and grows the brand and they share it with their mates and they share it on Facebook and it’s bringing people back to the site and they see the membership message, tick, tick, tick, it works on all the levels. So you’re always trying to come up with, the other clubs are coming out with their club TVCs, they really want those to come viral between the fans and share them but we’re getting desensitized to ads and things like that. So this is just another way to give a little bit of quirky content that gets out there. And I’m sure the Miami Heat digital guys didn’t go up to Lebron and say ‘Let’s do it’. I’m sure the Miami Heat players said we want to do one. And the fact that they all got dressed up in Halloween costumes to do, it does look like a player driven thing. I think when it’s a player driven thing and you see them having so much fun, I mean a shirtless Lebron James ‘crunking’ in front of the camera, it’s like he’s having fun, like big kids! So that’s great for the team.

Kelly:   And when you say going viral, I mean how many hits could the Hawthorn footy club expect, what would be a good result and how many hits for Miami Heat?

Sean:    Well Miami Heat is already up to 2.3 million after 48 hours. And on top of that there are all the views of people watching it on Sports Centre and all the TV networks who are going to be playing it. So again from a brain recognition point of view, it’s massive numbers. The other part of it is if the TV networks pick up the Hawthorn guys or it becomes part of the TV before the game where they have a bit of a joke, again it doesn’t make everything so serious because footy is a pretty serious game and you can sort of make sure you can have a laugh about it. So that’s the other thing. If the players are willing to make a little bit of fun of themselves and have a bit of fun in the process, then it’s a good win for everybody.

Kelly:   Sean, thanks for coming in, we’ll catch you next week!

Sean:    No worries!