AFL Draft Machine, keeping fans involved

AFL Draft MachineOver the past 10 years the AFL Draft has grown in profile, just 3 years ago it was a 1 hour highlight show on Saturday afternoon, this year it will make it’s debut in prime time on Fox Sports on Thursday night.

Some purists may suggest that this is just another example of the AFL following the lead of US sports like the NFL and NBA, but why not follow? The NFL draft is so successful it is covered by TWO networks!  USA Today describes the NFL Draft as “the next step in the evolution on the highest-rated TV sports where nobody moves much”.

The AFL Draft will be a HIT in prime time as fans are missing their footy fix. The draft provides one thing to all footy fans, hope.  The televised AFL Draft will be slightly different to the NFL as the top 10 picks will be announced in reverse order from 10 to 1. Will this work? We’ll see on Thursday.

The AFL is promoting the Draft on AFL.com.au with the AFL Draft Machine . It allows fans to sift through draft prospects and try to determine who their team may pick up. Online promotions like this are terrific in allowing fans to participate in an event. It allows the AFL to “crowd source” data regarding the popularity of picks and report back to the fans. This exactly what Mark Cuban was talking about on why Live Sports is still the king on TV.

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.

Sports Geek business cards – the ultimate tracking device

Sports Geek business cardsThose who have met me at a networking event like Tweetup Mellers or Melbourne Entrepreneurs may have been “lucky” to get one of my Sports Geek business cards.  For those I have not met, you will when we do, but I better now describe them.

Being Sports Geek I have been a sports fan all my life, I ran a successful sports card trading store when trading cards were big business in the 90s (in Melbourne, still is big business in the USA).   I have collected a few over the years, although I do wish I bought a Michael Jordan Rookie Card 15 years ago now worth $650US.

So when I started Sports Geek I decided to put my trading card collection to good use as business cards.  I have seen contacts trading them after I’ve handed them over. “Aww, I got Phil Smyth and you got Charles Barkley, that’s not fair” was the call and the trade happened.  Additionally I’ve seen people excited getting a player from their team which makes for a great start to the conversation.

However, to explain the headline I got a call today that floored me, someone found one of my cards and called me to ask if I wanted it back!  They found it on the floor at a coffee shop and assumed that the stickers were to ensure my cards would not get lost.  I explained that it was OK she could keep it but I do know who I gave that card to and will be in touch soon as I know he no longer has my details.