Despite some technical problems, on this Sports Geek Podcast we chat with Dan Pinne from the Storm about their shiny new Twitter handle which will be front and centre on their Auckland 9s jersey. We look back at #SBNight to answer the question how to break into the sports business.
Like this episode? please leave a review in iTunes.
On this podcast you’ll find out about:
- Why the Melbourne Storm changed handle to @Storm
- Importance of teams to promote all channels as not everyone is on Twitter
- How I started Sports Geek with a trip to LA, Dallas & New York
- What platforms I used to connect with Mark Cuban and ended up in Mavs locker room
Resources from the episode
- Connect with @DanPinne on Twitter and Linkedin
- Storm launches new @storm Twitter handle on Auckland Nines jersey
- Looking back at first Sports Geek Trip
- Listen to Dan Butterly about how MWC got started with fan analysis
- Listen to the Blokes talk about Content Marketing
- Sounds of the Game thanks to Shane Harmon from Westpac Stadium
- Listen to Harf Time on 1116 SEN
- Ep #35 dedicated to Collingwood legend Peter Daicos one of first Sports Geek clients, check out his Sportzstats counters
- Thanks for iTunes reviews in Australian iTunes and USA iTunes.
- Have you signed up for weekly Sports Geek News?
We helped Peter Daicos get started on Twitter back in 2009.
But watch these highlights
From Sports Geek Trip in 2010 at Dallas Mavericks game
From the game discussed in the podcast from the suite.
Social Media Post of the Week
Poor tweet from Melbourne Heart CEO Scott Munn.
— Scott Munn (@scott_munn) January 18, 2014
Send in your nominations for best social media post of the week – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine… for whatever reason fan engagement, sponsorship activation, cool content….
Closing 2 Cents
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Sean: Welcome to Episode 35 of the Sports Geek Podcast. On today’s episode, we check with Dan Pinne from the Melbourne Storm about the Melbourne Storm’s recent Twitter handle change, and look back at the SB night. And why the hell is this podcast so late?
DJ Joel: Welcome to the Sports Geek Podcast, the podcast built for the sports digital marketer. And now, here’s your host, who’s reading your tweets right now, Sean Callanan.
Sean: Thanks, DJ Joel. My name is Sean Callanan from Sports Geek. You can send me a tweet on either of those handles, @SeanCallanan or @SportsGeek. Thank you for doing so. I really appreciate the feedback that we’re getting, both on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, even, and also Facebook, Facebook.com/SportsGeek.
On this episode, we have a chat to Dan Pinne from the Melbourne Storm on Harf Time, and also I’m going to have a look back at very successful SB night at Honey Bar, and go through some of the questions that I was asked throughout the night and answer them here. I’m going to have a bit of a Q&A section.
I’ll keep this episode short and sweet, because it is late. Apologies for that. I am aiming to get the Sports Geek Podcast out every Friday, Australian time, and unfortunately this week has been a technological nightmare, with our website getting hacked that I had to fix, and then on top of that, I decided to spill water on my MacBook Air, which is now relatively useless. So I’m now currently working on a completely new MacBook with a completely new Garage Band. So apologies for when it’s like this, and I hope I can get all the sound and levels right using the newfangled Garage Band 10.
So first of all, here is my segment on Harf Time with Daniel Hartford, and special guest from the Melbourne Storm, Dan Pinne.
DJ Joel: Sean Callanan, our sports digital media guru for SportsGeekHQ.com.
Daniel: He’s with us again. Had a big night last night. SB night. #BigNight last night, success for sure?
Sean: Yeah. The sports business night went quite well. Had a good representation of the sports biz community in Melbourne down at the Honey Bar in South Melbourne. So look forward to having another one later in the year.
Daniel: Did you have the Melbourne Storm there, because they’ve gone to world first category.
Sean: They have. When we’re talking about sport, and legends in sport, when you’re a one name, when you’re a one-namer, you know you’re up there. You know, Lebron, Tiger, you know, Buddy. When you’re a one-namer…
Sean: …you know, everyone knows you by the one name.
Sean: Exactly. Exactly. And it’s the same way from a Twitter point of view. And last night, the Storm swapped over their handle. They have been known as @MelbourneStorm.
Sean: Haven’t done anything reckless. Haven’t changed to a love symbol like Prince or anything. They’ve just gone down to just Storm.
Sean: So they’re now @Storm. So they join the leagues of Lakers, Celtics, Red Sox, Warriors, all these teams that just have their moniker as their Twitter handle. And we’ve got Dan Pinne, the Digital Media Manager from the Storm on the line from down at AAMI Park.
Daniel: Dan, good afternoon.
Dan: G’day, guys. Thanks for having me.
Daniel: A pleasure. Thanks for being on the show. Why did you do this, Dan?
Dan: Oh, I just wanted to give people an extra nine characters to tweet us stuff. There could be anything they could fit in there.
Daniel: It’s not as silly as it sounds, you know.
Sean: And to allay… you get another night… and to allay any fears, because there was a bit of Twitter chatter. There was a bit of conspiracy theorists. You know, late at night, tinfoil hat type of stuff. It was, “Oh my God, the Storm are leaving Melbourne.”
Daniel: Oh, of course.
Sean: Because we’ve dropped the “Melbourne” from the name. It’s like, no, we can allay those fears right now. The Storm are staying in Melbourne. And so much so. The other thing that they’ve done, which is the world first: their name is not one thing. The new jersey they’re going to have for the Auckland Nines, they’re going to have the Twitter, their Twitter name, Twitter handle, @Storm, on the front of the jersey.
Dan: Yes. Yeah. It’s great, actually. It’s one of the first in the world, that we can put it on that really big prominent property on the front of the jersey.
Sean: Have you seen Twitter being a really good way for the Melbourne Storm brand to expand and get a lot more intimate with the followers?
Dan: Oh, yeah. It’s massive for us, and it’s great for our brand in Melbourne, as well, and to push the Storm brand. That’s why we went down to the Storm moniker. But it’s such an intimate platform, and you can really directly communicate with each other one-on-one via Twitter. So, yeah, it’s really great for us.
Sean: Is it a chance… with the Auckland Nines being a new concept in Rugby League, to try a few things and see what sort of response you get?
Dan: Yeah, it is, yeah. And that’s why we’ve put, you know, @Storm on the front of the jersey. It’s social benefit of a focus for us during the pre-season and during the trials. And we’ll have a major sponsor on there for the home and away season.
Dan: But that’s sort of our focus during the season and leading up to the season. You know, to get that brand out there, and get the season underway, and start selling some tickets for the home and away season, of course.
Sean: And the important thing is, just from a… you know, like you and I are both on Twitter, and so is Dan, @DanPinne. Give him a follow, everybody. Is that Twitter is still, you know, still… not I’d call it minor leagues, but still smaller than, you know, if you’re looking at Facebook. So there are 12 million people on Facebook, and there’s over 250,000 people who like the Storm. But they’re at 45,000, or round about that, from a Twitter follower point of view. So there is still a stack of people that still haven’t jumped on board with Twitter.
So, you know, so what this does is it help amplify to everyone that, one, the Storm are very serious about Twitter, and it provides that insider access. But what we want is we want more people on it, because the more people are on it, the better the conversation.
Sean: You know, if you’ve been watching the tennis and those kind of things, the #Stanimal was trending last night at the end of the five setter. And so I think, you know, getting the Twitter advertised, or the handles on the jerseys and on the field, and those kind of things, helps convert people to say, “Oh, I’m going to sign up, and so I will follow my footy team and develop a bit of a connection with Storm.”
Sean: And so that’s what it offers for you, doesn’t it, Dan?
Dan: Yeah, absolutely. It’s… it’s great. Like you said, it’s a really intimate sort of platform, and we love the fans on there, and they love us. We’ve got our certain little voice on there, and I guess the way that we communicate with fans, with different teams, with different personalities in pop culture, it’s a really good fun channel, actually. But yeah, it really suits us and the marketing stuff that we’re trying to do in Melbourne.
Daniel: Well, it’s a great initiative, Dan. Hope it goes really well in the Auckland Nines, and the Storm fans and the supporters that don’t follow you on Twitter get around you. @Storm. Well done to you. Sean, well done to you.
Dan: Thanks, guys.
Sean: Thanks, Harf.
Daniel: World’s first. Exclusive here at Harf Time. We can’t get enough of that. Check out SportsGeekHQ.com for a whole lot more.
DJ Joel: Sign up for Sports Geek News at SportsGeekHQ.com/SignUpNow.
Sean: So what do you think? Is it worthwhile changing the Twitter handle to the one-name handle? For mine, I think it’s a good move. It’s great when you can, in a tweet, just mention your team. So I think there’ll be a lot more mentions of the Storm. I don’t think it’ll be that much difference, in the sense that they were Melbourne Storm. Previously they were @MelbStormARC. So again, it’s been a transition for the Storm, and a few teams have done that. Sort of trimmed down their Twitter handle to be closer aligned to their brand, and closer aligned to the trademarks that they have. If you can have that handle, I suggest you do so. You know, simply contact Twitter and say you want the handle.
I think the other thing is just the fact that, you know, Twitter still needs more followers. You know, just on the numbers, both in Australia and around the world. Just that they’re still trailing Facebook for numbers. So there’s always opportunities to tell Facebook fans specifically why they should be on Twitter. And it is a different platform.
It’s a conversational platform. It does take a little bit of learning. And I think Twitter have improved in their first user experience. I think they focused a little too much on celebrities and celebrity news for mine. But if… you know, as a sports team, you want to train your fans to be following your handle. And I’m sure, you know, more Storm fans will sign up and follow @Storm as a result.
So the SB night was very successful. We had about 60 people at the Honey Bar last Tuesday, and from a wide range of sports, and from a wide range of… I guess disciplines. There were some marketing people, that kind of thing. I did have a second interview planned for this podcast, and as I said, it hasn’t been the best week, and it got canceled on Thursday. So I’m going to fill a little bit of that time–not too long–with a bit of a Q&A section, and just answer some of the questions that were asked during SB night, and also the ones that were asked of me of people from the night.
So one of them was from a few of the younger attendees coming from recent graduates, or trying to break into the sports business industry. And it is a question I get a lot of, you know, “How do I break into the sports business?” And for mine, it is a very hard business to break into. You know, I was able to… I was able to do it, and I can sort of share a little bit of a story of how I was able to do it with Sports Geek. It was a bit of right timing and right skill set at the time.
For people who don’t know, if you haven’t heard the Sports Geek origin story, it’s not available on Netflix yet. For 15 years, I was a geek. I was an IT developer. I worked on web systems, desktop systems, multiple industries. Retail, big business, utilities. And I finished up doing it working with startup as my last job.
But at the same time, I was always dabbling in the world of sport. So I did some TV work with the Western Bulldogs way back in 1998. I’ll even share a link to the YouTube clip in the show notes. I did a basketball show for the NBL around that time as well, and also did some data analysis with the Mountain West, who we spoke to Dan Butterly on the podcast previously. If you want to, I’ll leave a link to that show, and when Dan talks about how the Mountain West Conference got started.
But to sort of take it back four or five years ago now, 2010. I pretty much started by using all the platforms. And initially when I started Sports Geek, I thought I was going to be an IT web developer, consultant, and, I guess, guide to the sports market through what I saw was a real treacherous path of IT and web development.
As someone who worked in IT for a long time, I knew there were a lot of cowboys in the industry. And by that, I’m not offending anyone in the south of the States, or in Texas, and those kind of things. But when I talk about cowboys in the IT industry… shonkey operators is probably another way of putting it. People that would build a website for a sports team, but they really didn’t have the background of knowing what sports teams, how they operate, and then also not knowing… not having a good understanding of the sports fan.
So you would get a retail developer building something for a sports team, handing it over, it all looks nice. But then, once it’s handed over, the sports team did not have the skills to, one, keep the CMS updated, or anything along those lines.
So I thought I would be in that space. Sort of be an IT contractor, consultant. But getting started, I pretty much started by blogging, and kind of getting at my opinion via SportsGeekHQ.com.au, at the time. And pretty much just giving my opinion on fan engagement, digital activations, how teams could use social media, those kind of things.
And I did my first Sports Geek trip in January 2010. So, yeah, over four years ago now. And so that trip entailed going to Los Angeles, Dallas, and New York. And it was part secret shopper, part investigation, part networking. I wanted to see what stadiums were doing. You can only assess so much from a digital point of view via your computer. You’ve got to get out there and meet people. So I think that was really important. The connecting with people. But also using all the platforms.
And I guess my best story from a using all the platforms point of view sort of comes about… one of the goals of that trip was to try to meet Mark Cuban. And I’m still hoping now to meet him, or at least have him as a guest on the podcast. It’s one of my new goals, to have Mark Cuban as a guest on the podcast this year.
But I tweeted Mark Cuban. I connected with people around the Mavericks organization. And I also connected with Brad Main, who was the CEO of the American Airlines Center at the time. So I was trying to set up that meeting.
Eventually, Mark Cuban did email me back and say, “Sorry, I don’t meet with people during the season.” So I said, “That’s fine. I’ll still go along.”
So I was at Dodger Stadium getting a tour of the facilities, and meeting some of the people at the Dodgers, when I got a tweet from Jill Dotts. And Jill tweeted me, after I was tweeting about Dodger Stadium, she said, “You’ll have to come back to a game when there’s baseball on.” I said, “I’d love to. Looking forward to going to a game at Dodger Stadium.” And so we were tweeting backwards and forwards after this random connection via Twitter.
And after doing that, we figured out that I was going to be in Dallas at the same time that Jill was going to be in Dallas, and we were both going to be at the Mavericks/Lakers came, where I’d hope to meet Mark Cuban and catch up with Brad. So I went to the game, I tweeted Mark Cuban just in case he changed his mind. I also tweeted Brad, because we hadn’t… although we’d bounced emails backwards and forwards, we hadn’t set up a time to meet up. So I pretty much just said, “Hey, Brad. I’ll be at your facility. Looking forward to it.”
And so part of that, you know, I’m sitting there at the game, watching the Lakers with Kobe Bryant. And Phil Jackson was still coaching at that stage. And halfway through the second quarter, I hear my name. Now, I’m traveling alone. I hear, “Sean.” And I turn around, and there’s Brad Main standing there and saying, “Hey, come up to the suite.”
And so it was really surprising. I wasn’t expecting it. Now, I was meant to meet up with Jill at halftime, but with I had suite tickets in my hand, I thought I would blame bad Wi-Fi and I would go up to the suite.
So I went up to the suite, and Brad was very kind. They said they’ve got some Fosters on ice, and I was very polite and said, “Thank you, Brad. I will drink them all, to be polite. But Australians don’t drink Fosters.” And then he introduced me to all the people in the suite. And as he was doing it, he goes, “Oh, and this is Jill.” So Jill Dotts, who was tweeting with me only two days earlier, was in the suite with Brad, and was able to provide the final push to get me up to the suite.
So just sort of shows you… and I guess the hustle that is needed to get into the sports industry. A little bit of luck, a little bit of right timing. But you’ve really got to use all the networks that you can. And so in that instance, and with that story, I used Twitter, LinkedIn, I had already connected with Brad. Facebook, email. I’d used all the platforms that I could to get me to that position, to allow that to happen. And I really think it’s important, if you are looking to get into the industry, and especially if you’re looking to get into the digital marketing and the digital content business, and work on those digital teams in sports, is you’ve got to use all those platforms.
So I think one advantage any newcomer… and, you know, I’m talking to graduates here, but any newcomer to the sports is can you bring something that the team doesn’t have? And so there’s still up and coming platforms and tools that are nice that… that young people… and I hate saying “young people,” because it makes me sound older. That young people are using. So we’re talking things like Snapchat, and Tumblr, and those kind of tools. They’re using those tools natively and all the time.
So if you can understand how to use them effectively, it might be worthwhile. A team using those kind of tools via their interns or their young employees. Because they’ve still got to have someone run them, and it is a big commitment to take on another platform. But if you can come to them and say, “Yes, I’ve used Pinterest a lot. I understand the ins and outs of it. I understand how to post, when to post, how to tag it.” They might be more willing to give you a go, and also hand you the keys to run that as a project, to show that it can work.
So that’s a long way and a long anecdote to answer the question of how to break into the sports business. It’s how I did it. But for me, the main takeaway is to use all the platforms. Especially use all the platforms that you are going to use when you’re getting into a job. You can’t come and say, “I want to work in digital, but I hate Facebook and I don’t like using it.” It’s part of… it’s going to be part of your daily grind. You have to use it, you have to know it. It’s much better to understand it on your time and on your personal platforms than make that mistake on a brand account.
Okay. I’m going to keep this episode a little short. We’ll have a quick break, and we’ll come back to wrap things up.
DJ Joel: Need help with your content? Book in for a content brainstorming session with Sports Geek now. Go to SportsGeekHQ.com/Work.
Sean: Okay. That brings us to another end to another Sports Geek Podcast. Again, apologies for this one being a little bit late. Even Sports Geek can have technical difficulties. But hopefully this will record and I’ll be able to export it out of Garage Band okay, and it will be up and working.
One other note. If you haven’t given Beers, Blokes, and Business podcast a listen, I would suggest you do. I’m learning a lot from the blokes in doing the podcast, and getting some really great feedback. But for those who work in digital, the episode this week, episode 25–you can go to BeersBlokesBusiness.com/25–is on content marketing, and the ability for businesses now to tell their story, and no more so than the sports business.
You are all in the content marketing game. Yes, you are producing content in net reports. But in the end, it is all part of content marketing. And I did like Steve Sammartino’s final takeaway from it, that the marketing side doesn’t matter. It is about the content. So producing great content is marketing in itself.
So, okay. That noise tells me to dedicate this show and get out. Do the social media post of the week. So this is episode 35. You can get the show notes at SportsGeekHQ.com/35. A few available. One is Kevin Durant, who is absolutely going bonkers in the NBA recently. Another one from the NBA from the 90s, Reggie Lewis, taken away from the NBA scene far too soon.
But for my being a Collingwood supporter, and I know that’ll get some people to tune out and turn off this podcast immediately, I’ll have to give it to the Macedonian Marvel, Peter Daicos, and one of the first clients of Sports Geek. Peter Daicos. I’ll leave a clip of Daicos’s highlights in a YouTube clip in the show notes. Check them out. If you don’t know what Australian Football is, Daicos was one of the best at kicking that strangely shaped oval ball.
This week’s sound of the game and this week’s social media post of the week are intrinsically linked. I’m very lucky to have former guest on the show, Shane Harmon, CEO of Westpac Stadium over in Wellington. He sent me in some audio, and that’s what you’re hearing underneath me right now, from the Westpac Stadium from the Wellington/Phoenix 5-0 victory over the Melbourne victory in the A league.
So how have I linked the sounds of the game to the social media post of the week? Now, normally the social media post of the week, I try to focus on terrific implementation, smart, savvy tweets or posts by teams. But… and I try to steer clear of the silly mistakes. But this one related to this game for mine just took… was pretty much as wrong as you can get from a social media post from a sports executive.
Scott Munn is the CEO of the Melbourne Heart. And after his crosstown rivals, the Victory, lost to the Wellington Phoenix 5-0, he decided to send a tweet to celebrity chef and well-known Victory fan George Calombaris, pretty much just saying… just rubbing the result in his face. “I thought you would like this.” Sending him a screenshot of the game.
Now, yes, that could have been playful banter. But really, knowing George, and I’m sure Scott may have known what type of response he would get, George came back hard. And it’s effectively the same as a sports team owner having a go at Gordon Ramsay, and you would expect… you would understand what you would expect to be getting back from him.
And then he wasn’t… it wasn’t so much the first one. You could have written off the first one as lighthearted banter. But to come back and say, “In some cultures, five is a lucky number.” Yeah, I just thought it was a misjudged tweet by Scott there, really. If, from my advice, if you’re looking for your executives to be on Twitter, or if you’re tweeting as a representative of the team, you’ve really got to stick a hard and fast line of sticking to the team line and not bringing your team into disrepute or any damage. And if you look down the Twitter trail there, a lot of fans had their say of displeasure at what Scott was tweeting.
So, as I said, I don’t normally focus on the negative side of Twitter, but that one was a talking point at SB night, so I just thought I could not leave it there.
That signal is the closing two cents. I’m going to use my experience from this week. If you’re out there in the field, trying to cover your sport or do a job, always have a backup plan. Have a secondary device. Have second access to Internet. Here I am, producing this podcast on three computers. Always have a backup plan, and always backup.
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