Important news on Facebook feed, it will change how you post – ICYMI – @SportsGeek News

SEAT2014 Keynote PanelWhat @SportsGeek reads…..

Important Facebook news - Click-bait to be penalised and why you should be using Links in Facebook

How are the NFL and MLB reaching fans via digital?

EVENT Killing it with Content panel discussion with Sean at Churchill Club this Thursday

NFL CIO: Quarterbacking A Digital Revolution

Manchester United bans iPads from home games

Nielsen data shows mobile devices & social networks are making TV better

The future of media in sport through the lens of MLBAM’s success

AFL memberships reach 800K

Facebook remains ‘Top of the food chain’ in sports

A billion push notifications later, insight from Yinzcam

Keeping it simple: Why “The ice bucket challenge” works..

Savvy campaign by Juventus #PirloIsNotImpressed

In case you missed it – Reprint of Sports Geek News – Tuesday 26th August 2014

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#IceBucketChallenge accepted

What is the #IceBucketChallenge?

Have you been living under a rock?  The Ice Bucket Challenge is a viral fund raising and awareness raising phenomenon for ALS and MND (Motor Neurone Disease as it is known in Australia).  So far many celebrities, athletes and technology and political figures have accepted the challenge to tip a bucket of ice on their heads and donate.

With water from the Yarra River...

How to donate?

One pushback for online campaigns is “digital slacktivism” where people click like and feel good but don’t donate or change behaviour (see Kony 2012) but it looks like people are donating in large numbers to ALS and MND.

You can donate by following these links:

There is concern that people may not donate to other charities due to the success of Ice Bucket Challenge, I urge you to rail against that and donate to your regular charities.

Why I did it?

I spoke about the Ice Bucket Challenge last week on ABC Grandstand only to find out the next day that a long time family friend, Deeds, who was only a few years older than me had just passed away a few days earlier from Motor Neurone Disease.  I was challenged by Josh Rowe from Beers, Blokes & Business and RealAs and by Kylie Caflisch from SEAT so I dedicated my Ice Bucket Challenge to Deeds.

Note: Special mention West Coast Eagles’ Neale Daniher who announced he is fighting MND on Monday, watch the Eagles boys Ice Bucket Challenge video

My #IceBucketChallenge video

Also available on YouTube

Who did I nominate?

I nominated the following people:

Keep up the good work

Here is Josh’s challenge to me on YouTube, I’ll add more as privacy settings allow.

Facebook Like gating to be banned, how will you cope? – ICYMI – @SportsGeek News

In case you missed it – Reprint of Sports Geek News – Thursday 14th August 2014

What @SportsGeek reads…..Relief after getting through SEAT Welcome Address without my voice

Facebook Like gating will be banned on November 5, what does this mean for you?

Barcelona to host first sports theme park.

Which NFL stadiums are best reinventing the fan experience?

2014 Sports Stadium WiFi: The Complete A-Z Guide every US state rated

Everything you need to know about your Facebook reach statistics.

This is the stupidest athlete endorsement you’ll ever see. At least Cristiano doesn’t demonstrate it!

2 SEO Tools unveil some massive treasure.

Here’s what happens when your joke goes massively viral on Twitter, fascinating read on internet funny

Good points by Greg Baum on AFL pushing fan engagement initiatives, what do you think?

Marc Maron interviewed Robin Williams on his podcast a few years ago, worth a listen

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Why LeBron can’t go home again – ICYMI – @SportsGeek News

In case you missed it – Reprint of Sports Geek News – Wednesday 30th July 2014

Relief after getting through SEAT Welcome Address without my voiceWhat @SportsGeek reads…..

Why LeBron can’t go home again - great article by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

New San Francisco 49ers stadium is a geek heaven

These jerseys look awful but no doubt the fans will love them - The first ever selfie jerseys are here!

Study: Mobile users who engage with fans use Facebook most

Understanding the expectations of a 21st century fan

Foursquare rebrands, unveils new app and logo

Introducing Save on Facebook

Some wise words from Ray Allen on what athletes deal with from fans on his instagram account

So you’re not up at 5am to work? What’s wrong with you? NothingGreat post

This. Is. Awesome. Here is Frank Caliendo as Morgan Freeman reading the LeBron letter

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TDF cyclists faced with a new danger – ICYMI – @SportsGeek News

In case you missed it – Reprint of Sports Geek News – Wednesday 16th July 2014

DaveSjolinDesaLogicWhat @SportsGeek reads…..

Tour De France cyclists faced with a new danger: selfies

World cup footage boosts content, viewers for FFA website

That’s the ticket: Portland Trail Blazers revamps online UX

Inside ESPN’s Social Media war room during the most tweeted sporting event ever

New Kings arena will be among NBA’s smallest, but built for profit

Hundreds of competition entrants left angry after they were unable to buy a Jeep

PUMA launches Arsenal kit trilogy

The Facebook algorithm signal no one talks about……including Facebook

#timcahilling: Tim Cahill sparks Twitter craze after response to Germany thrashing Brazil at World Cup

Throwback Thursday: A look back at NBA teams’ websites in 2004

How Google map hackers can destroy a business at will

How a password changed one man’s life for the better - must read!

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How to find killer content, content curation explained – ICYMI – @SportsGeek News

In case you missed it – Reprint of Sports Geek News – Tuesday 8th July 2014

Troy Kirby from Tao of Sports Podcast on Sports Geek Podcast with Sean CallananWhat @SportsGeek reads…..

Twitter and the World Cup: the digital match made in heaven

Learn about how Sports Geek solves content curation

5 keys to the @WWE’s hugely successful social media strategy

Where the digital sausage is made: inside Adidas’ World Cup roost

Wait, Facebook organic reach is going up?

The silence of Twitter during a penalty shootout

Now you can see almost all athletes’ Twitter analytics

How Facebook moved 20 billion Instagram photos without you noticing

The art of self promotion on social media

How to save tweets for any Twitter hashtag

Ikea built a website inside Instagram

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How Wimbledon went big in digital – ICYMI – @SportsGeek News

In case you missed it – Reprint of Sports Geek News – Tuesday 1st July 2014

Shane Harmon CEO of Westpac Stadium on crowds, stadiums and #sportsbizWhat @SportsGeek reads…..

How Wimbledon has become one of the most digital events in sport

Twitter is experimenting with a new way to retweet

Whoops! World Cup own goal - security officials’ wi-fi passwords printed in newspaper

Launch of 120 Sports a game-changer for fans

World Cup highlights “real-time” differences on social media

What’s next for the US, “brand soccer”?

Sports teams immersed in big data

Want to use Facebook Ads?  Listen to this

Simple SEO fixes - thanks for the feedback Jim Stewart!

MLS turns soccer stars into superheroes – literally!

Step inside the invisible world that runs the internet

Career advice: How long should your resume be coming out of college

The Wiggles - “The last Suarez Supper”

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SGP 052: Shane Harmon on crowds, stadiums and #sportsbiz

Shane Harmon CEO of Westpac Stadium on crowds, stadiums and #sportsbizOn this week’s podcast we chat with Shane Harmon CEO of Westpac Stadium on crowds, stadiums & technology and #sportsbiz.    Shane is a sports business lifer and is CEO of Westpac Stadium in Wellington, if you’re not following @ShaneHarmon then you just aren’t doing it properly.   Later in the podcast I chat with Al Crombie on ABC Grandstand about new sports digital collaboration called 120 sports.


On this podcast you’ll find out about:

  • What it is like moving from team/event side to stadium side of sports business?
  • What are the key issues stadiums are facing around the world
  • Why the world uses New Zealand as a beta platform and to see upcoming trends.
  • How stadiums can leverage social media for customer service
  • What is the next steps for connected stadium?
  • How Shane keeps up to date on all things #sportsbiz using Flipboard
  • Why would MLB, NBA & NHL collaborate on digital?
  • What is 120 sports and why is video so important?
  • How did fans respond to Luis Suarez Adidas promotion?
  • What do the Wiggles have to do with World Cup?

Resources from the episode

Cheers Shane

Last time I caught up with Shane at MLB in Sydney

Well done to The Wiggles

Don’t miss SEAT 2014!

Attendance for SEAT 2014 is up 60% from last year.  Hope to see you there.

Don’t forget to send in your best content and campaigns so I can profile them at #SEAT2014, email me or use contact form.

If you want to connect with sports executives then Miami is the place to be, secure your registration now.

Register for #SEAT2014 now

Everyone else was having fun deciding where LeBron would go over the summer, the SEAT intern team joined in the fun.

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Podcast transcription

Sean: Welcome to episode 52 of the Sports Geek podcast. On this week’s podcast I chat with Shane Harmon, the CEO of Westpac Stadium on crowds, stadium technology and just the world of sports biz in general. And we check in on the World Cup. And at Sports Illustrated’s new digital platform.

DJ Joel: Welcome to the Sports Geek podcast, the podcast built for the sports digital marketer. And now, here’s your host, who has attended MLB games in 10 MLB stadiums, Sean Callanan.

Sean: Thanks, DJ Joel. My name is Sean Callanan from Sports Geek and you’re listening to the Sports Geek podcast. Yes, 10 MLB stadiums I’ve been to, so I’m very much looking forward to notching up to number 11 when I go to Marlins Park at SEAT Conference down in Miami and I’ll have to actually update my sports passport. I believe the app that Peter Robert Casey is building to keep track of what stadiums you’ve been to will be out soon. Check out episode 46 for my chat with Pete.

This week’s podcast I catch up with another previous guest, Shane Harmon. We’ve had him on episode 23 but a bit more of a dip and dodge discussion this week. Shane is the CEO of Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand. You would know him if you follow him on Twitter, a big share of all things sports biz. So we’ll talk about crowds, stadium and technology and his journey using Flipboard as a content curation tool and how he keeps up with the world of the sports business. Then I chat with Al Crombie on ABC Grandstand to talk about 120 Sports and a bit of a wrap of the World Cup so far. But first, here’s my chat with Shane Harmon from Westpac Stadium.


Sean: Very happy to welcome a good friend of mine who’s been on the podcast before, all the way from New Zealand, Shane Harmon. Welcome to the Sports Geek podcast.

Shane: Good afternoon Sean.

Sean: So, you have been on the podcast before but I just want to get everyone a little bit of an intro of who you are and what you do. You are currently the CEO of Westpac Stadium in Wellington. Do you want to give everyone a little bit of a background of your sports biz journey?

Shane: Sure. I’ve worked in sports for the last 15 years or so. Previously to sports I worked with Citibank in a direct marketing role and that for me was a large stepping stone into the sports business. My first job in sports was with the Sydney Swans who I joined in 2000 as Membership Manager. And as you know in the AFL background, direct marketing is a key component of those roles and I was able to transfer those skills across into a sports environment. And essentially I’ve been in sports since then. I spent three seasons with the Swans and moved on to rugby for five years as Head of Marketing for the Rugby World Cup in ’03. That was largely the ticket marketing program and then I spent three years with Australian rugby after that as their GM of Marketing.

And the opportunity then came up with a young family to maybe go overseas, so I got a contact regarding the Rugby World Cup roles for 2011 and we moved over here from ’08 to 2012. For me to date it was the highlight of my career. It was an amazing project to be involved in. It essentially was New Zealand’s Olympic Games and as an event I think that we’ll not see the scale of again in New Zealand. It was a huge ticket target. We sold $300 million of tickets. It was their only source of revenue. And we had a number of challenges through that program as you know. I’ve discussed it before, including the Christchurch earthquake and starting again with eight games six months out of the tournament.

You and I have talked at length about the whole social media scene back then and starting in ’08 it was really just beginning to blossom at that stage. We’re very proud of some of the work we did over at Rugby World Cup in that whole social media space. I think we were the first real major event that used social media to drive engagement and actually sell tickets.

I left New Zealand with a heavy heart in 2012 but moved back to Sydney and I took up the role as Deputy CEO for the Asian Cup for 2015 and expected to see that right through until I got a call about a year and a half ago to consider this role and it was a very difficult decision to make. But it was an opportunity for me to do two things: one, to step up into the CEO role, which I always had the ambition to do but also to move into the venue space because I had spent my entire career on the other side of the fence, as either a hirer or running a major event. So I just came to spread my wings, grow, learn all the time, which I’m continuing to do every day.

Sean: So I guess yeah, that was the first question I wanted to ask you about, you know jumping to the other side of the fence, going from the hirer, the tenant, someone working with stadiums. What’s it like being on the other side of the equation, being CEO of a stadium? Tell us a little bit about Westpac Stadium, where it’s at and how you’ve settled into that role.

Shane: Sure. The stadium has been open 14 years, so it was built in 2000. We are New Zealand’s busiest stadium and we’ve got the busiest event calendar and we’ve got some regular tenants in the Wellington rugby and the Hurricanes and the Phoenix. We’ve run a number of other major events during the year. We’ve got AFL, we’ve got NRL, and we’ve got the upcoming Premier League doubleheader with Newcastle and Westhampton. We’ve held the last two World Cup qualifiers for the All World as well, and cricket. We’ve got a very varied calendar. We’ve actually got two World Cup’s next year. We’ve got the Cricket World Cup and the FIFA Under 20 World Cup. There’s a lot of major events in this part of the world—Australia and New Zealand—in 2015 but I think we’re the only stadium hosting both so, a very, very busy period for us.

I suppose transitioning into this role, it’s really just given me that other side of the picture in terms of commercial negotiations and understanding the venue side of what is always a healthy commercial tension between a steady amount of hirers and really being professional about those negotiations, ensuring that both parties are going to be adequately looked after financially from events and both are in a healthy state. But more than that, it’s really for me about working collaboratively with hirers and I don’t think in Australia/New Zealand there’s enough collaboration between stadium and hirers and how we actually achieve what is essentially an end goal, which is getting more bums in seats.

Sean: Yeah, I mean crowds is I guess an issue sort of world wide. It’s unending, it’s located in any particular part of the world. There is the battle at the moment to get fans to the games. You’re competing against the big screen TV and a very comfy couch. How do you see that, just from an overall perspective, not just with your stadium but stadiums around the world and just trying to draw fans into the stadium?

Shane: There’s actually an uniquely New Zealand view to this and I think that there are things that happen in New Zealand and because we’re such a small market they happen earlier here than they happen in other parts of the world and New Zealand is actually often used by large internationals and multi-nationals as a test market for research for launching products before they roll out globally. So what we’ve seen here over the last 10 years in New Zealand is—particularly in super rugby and other sports as well—is that there has largely been a decline over the last 10 years in people attending live sports. The issue is exacerbated here somewhat by the fact that we’ve got an exceptionally high pay TV penetration in this market. We’re at 52%, where I think Australia is running at 25% Sean is it?

Sean: Yeah. It’s something like that.

Shane: Yeah. So we’ve got double the penetration here and anybody who’s interested in sport here has got a pay TV subscription. And when super rugby launched in the mid ‘90s on really the crest of a wave on the start of this century, there was pretty huge crowds but pay TV was also kicking off at that stage as well. With that level of penetration and even this year, the TV audiences have increased again, it’s very difficult for both of those barometers in a small market to be increasing. At some stage something’s got to give.

The other issue we have here with rugby as well is it tends to be a night time product and because of the nature of rugby—where it goes from one market into the next, New Zealand into east coast of Australia, west coast of Australia, South Africa—it’s great for the TV viewer because you’ve got back to back rugby for eight hours. But it also means that the vast majority of those games take place at night time and we have seen some correlation here between those events that we do host during the day we tend to get better crowds than in the evening. We understand why that’s the case. I’ve seen in various markets that you get two to three times the TV audience with a night time game versus a daytime game. But that is challenging, particularly when you’re dealing with winter sports.

On a global perspective, I’m seeing these trends now being manifested globally and I’ve paid close attention to some of the media coverage. In Australia at the start of the season, both for NRL and AFL, but I also see this as a result of both of their new TV deals. You don’t do deals at that level without making some compromises in terms of your product and I think scheduling is probably one of the bigger issues that has impacted on the codes in Australia this year, particularly when you’re playing some of those games at times that ordinarily wouldn’t be considered family or fan friendly: Sunday nights, Monday nights, that type of thing.

Sean: I mean, I think the TV deals, especially in Australia and for the people listening in the U.S., we don’t—I think it’s just in the last two years that they’ve been playing live TV on Free-to-Air and some on free TV—but still a lot of it is being Free-to-Air, not on an hour delay or a half-hour delay. And that’s sort of taken two years for that effect to roll on. We don’t have the blackout rules that they have in the NFL so if people have the option to—if it’s a cold night—to stay in, and yes the NFL has been testing a lot of things so it’s very hard to pinpoint anything in particular that might be the cause. It could be scheduling. Games on Sunday night and Monday night haven’t been a big hit, but they’re also experimenting with variable pricing and there’s a lot of people complaining that the confusion in the market and the price of tickets going up is causing people to stop going. So there’s multiple factors there, but it’s definitely an issue that all codes, definitely within Australia are struggling with and looking to.

Part of what I’ve been talking to people is sort of going back to your Rugby World Cup 2011 experience and the fact that you sold a lot of tickets using Facebook. The options now that you’ve got in Facebook as far as targeting the right fans and reaching those fans in a relatively cost-effective manner, I see that as a big opportunity for sports to be able to get that ticket selling opportunity to the right fan that currently is under-utilized in a lot of sports. We’re working on a few things with some of our teams as far as putting out the membership offer and ticketing offers to fans but there’s some really cool and—I guess Facebook offers creepy options—to target the right fans is probably one way of putting it.

Shane: Okay. And I think also, I think it’s important that sports and venues, particularly in Australia, because the crowds in general, compared to other parts of the world have been very healthy. You look at the AFL and I think it’s ranked as the fourth highest attended football code in the world for average attendance. I think it’s important that they beat themselves up too much because the numbers are still very healthy and I think in Australia it really leads the world in terms of membership programs and that’s something that we in New Zealand can learn from where traditionally we have not had a strong membership culture here. The majority of our sales for events tend to happen in the days or on the day of the game. We’ve got a big game here tonight, the Hurricanes versus the Crusaders. Thankfully it’s really good weather here. It’s a fine day so we will have a strong walk-up crowd.

However, when you’re relying on late ticket sales you are relying on hope as a strategy and hoping that the team is going well, hoping that the weather is good, whereas building up strong and loyal membership bases at the start of the season locks in a large support base at the start of the season and I think that’s what the AFL has done particularly well. I know the NRL obviously is following that model now and even in the U.S. they’re looking more at a membership type program than the season pass type program and people think they’re much the same thing, but I see them as fundamentally different. A season pass is a financial transaction while a membership is an emotional one and the AFL have been world leaders at that in that regard. That’s certainly something that I’d like to see follow suit here in New Zealand.

Sean: Yeah. I mean I’m always talking to people about membership marketing and the way it’s done in Melbourne. You’re in a role that’s had the opportunity of the past five years to effectively do what the AFL has done in the last 15 because I’ve been able to accelerate it and start that messaging of “this is why you need to be a member.” I mean, I feel membership sort of marketing at the moment is at the level where it’s almost guilt marketing. If you’re a member of that club and you see another person that says they support the club, the first thing that most fans will say is “are you a member of the club?” So like the marketing assets and everything is really put on to your own ambassadors and they’re effectively out there sparking to get their friends to sign up.

Shane: And you get the engagement at that level where the financial component of the transaction, it becomes almost more of a donation than expecting specific value in return for it and just to give you my example, I mean I’ve had the same seats at the sitting cricket round for the Swans for 16, 17 years now and I renewed my memberships for four years while I was in New Zealand even though I wasn’t getting anything out of it. We wanted to sit with the same people when we eventually went back that we’d sat with for all those years. It was also my way of supporting the club and in some respects that’s engagement nirvana if fans take that attitude toward supporting their teams.

Sean: So one other thing that’s in the solution spectrum of crowds is technology and bringing up the technologies at the stadiums, allowing fans to connect. I’ve spoken with a few seat sponsors on the podcast about the different solutions that are available as far as rolling out stadium wi-fi, whether it be popping it up at fan’s zones and events. Where do you see it, both as a necessity for a stadium to roll out and where does it play a role in getting fans through the gate?

Shane: I think, Sean, if not within five, within 10 years every stadium in Australia and New Zealand will be fully networked is my view. It will become the norm rather than the exception. I think because we’ve been relatively late to the party, say compared to the U.S., it’s probably one of those spaces where our first move or advantage doesn’t necessarily apply and what we’re seeing now are models emerging where venues and teams can actually commercialize these assets. I think the early adopters in this space put a lot of money into this and filed them and see what return they could get. But what we’re seeing now are viable commercial models that are emerging. I look at a few of the venues in Australia and I see three different models already. One is a stadium-funded model, which is completely funded by the stadium and they commercialize it then through advertizing rights and data rights. I’ve seen another model where the stadium has incurred no costs whatsoever but the cost has been borne by the telecomm and technology partner but as a result they retain the commercialization rights.

And I’ve seen a third model emerge which is these models being funded by stadiums but then a per-game fee being passed on to hirers for them to commercialize it. So I think over the next year to two years we’re going to see models emerge that show the return on investment on the technology investment and how venues and teams can actually make this work. We’re looking at this whole space like everybody else at the moment. We’ve recently constructed a new lounge on our public concourse and for me it’s probably one of the best public spectator spaces in any stadium in Australia or New Zealand. And we’ve got a substantially enhanced food menu than we had previously but we’re playing with a number of pieces of technology here as well. We’ve installed free wi-fi into the lounge. We’ve got large IPT video boards, food menus that are IPT based and mobile phone charging stations and for us that’s just a little taste of what we think is going to come here. So we’re just looking at this next space at the moment.

We’re speaking to everybody in the market and it’s a real shame that it’s unlikely that I’m going to be able to make seat this year due to commitments I have here because obviously it’s a very hot topic over there as well. I think it’s going to become a necessity. I would caution, however, that I don’t necessarily see technology as a holy grail in terms of crowds suddenly going upwards again. I just think this is going to become one of the expectations from fans that this is something we’re going to have. I don’t necessarily think that it’s going to necessarily result in massive increases in crowds. I think teams and venues, there are probably other basic elements that we need to be working on and getting right before we even make that level of investment, too. One very simple area that is mentioned to me regularly is the whole area of beer pourage and you go to any stadium in Australia or New Zealand and there’s normally a pourage partner that’s either tied to the venue or team. But there tends to be very little choice and we’re in a very sophisticated city here. We’ve got more craft beer bars in Wellington than we do in Sydney, for example and if I ask 10 Wellingtonians would you rather offer craft beer or free wi-fi in the stadium I reckon nine out of 10 would tell me to offer craft beer.

There’s a whole lot of other areas. I think it’s a component, but it’s not the holy grail in itself.

Sean: Yeah. I completely agree. I mean it is becoming—I think it was said at Seat last year—that it’s going to be just another utility of a stadium in the same way that you need bathrooms. Wi-fi will be just something that people need but the people aren’t going to a rugby game or a baseball game or a football game to be on their phone. But if you have the wi-fi, how can you enhance the experience so it is a matter of how can we do things like the Warriors are looking to do with their new app and having geo location locked highlights that only come up on the mobile app when you’re at the stadium.

Or special offers, like when you’re walking around sporting Casey’s venue here at the north end of the stadium a special offer will come compared to the south end of the stadium. I think that’s the way effect that’s really going to reach that younger demographic that really sort of loves that type of stuff. The other point of the connected stadium which is sort of–I think it’s Phase II for a lot of the stadiums that are rolling it out—chatted with Fiona Green on it during a previous podcast and she’ll be able to say it as well, it’s the data side of it. Like, how much data can you get from that implementation as far as getting more access to your fans, what they’re doing, that kind of thing. That’s a really big piece that can maybe better help inform you going down the track of attracting the right fans and those kinds of things. So, it’s not just putting in infrastructure, it’s how you go about using it and what you do with the data that you capture from it.

Shane: Absolutely, Sean and in terms of planning in advance of making those investments it’s the data, as you know, on its own doesn’t do anything. When you’re making these investments you also need to think of the resources that you need behind the scenes actually to be able to make sense of this data and to identify trends and to actually make it useable and there’s no point in collecting this data if you’re not going to be able to analyze it and get actionable insights.

Sean: Yeah. And that’s I guess the next money bowl. Like that’s the business money bowl and that’s what, with guys like Russell Scibetti and all the crew that will be in the CRM track at SEAT, that’s their value in understanding that data and then being able to come back to those fans with the right offer to get them to be coming back again and again and again.

Shane: I think so and I think again, you look at these types of offers that are coming up on phones. It’s a fine balance between sending offers through all the time and then looking at other areas of value-add. So we’re looking to develop an app at the moment. It’ll probably take awhile before we get to a place where we’re going to do video streaming in stadiums because we need to look at the broadcast rights and who owns them, et cetera. So there’s a whole minefield to walk through there but even looking at feedback that comes from fans and through social media and identifying the problems that fans incur while they’re in the stadium and how you can use technology to overcome those problems.

One very small example I just saw the other day that I said what a great idea to incorporate into the app is we’ve got a commuter car park here during the week. However on event days that happen during the week it’s closed to the public but we’re not particularly good in communicating that. I noticed a couple of tweets saying oh bugger, I’ve just driven past the stadium, it’s closed. Where am I going to park now? I’m going to be late for work, et cetera. And notification alerts for people who have the app and if there are issues at the car park. They would receive that notification the night before and it would be sweet. They’d be able to make their plans in advance and it’s just a very small example of a problem that I saw come to us via social media that I could see technology actually having a role in performing. I think when you scratch beneath the surface you’re going to find all of those little problems that an app can help and deal with those issues as they arise on game day or outside of game day.

Sean: Yeah. I think the customer service side of things is critical. It’s so easy for a stadium to do and especially if you’re building that kind of app. No one is going to go into that kind of app to check the scores or get an update. They’ve got apps for that so you’re pretty much looking at, I’d send people to J.B.’s book utility and I’ll put the link in the show notes, but he goes through a whole bunch of examples where the marketing or the app in this case is built as a utility for the fan. And so that’s the perfect example of “Oh, I need to find out if I can get to parking,” and it’s going to tell me. It’s going to make it useful to where it’s showing the shortest beer line is this one, go to Bay 13 or Bay 17. Like that is a viable app that people will want to open up again and again.

Shane: And I completely agree and I think stadiums—and I’ve seen in through social media—would sometimes fall into the trap where they’re putting across the same content as the team and really a stadium should not be providing live score updates as far as I’m concerned, via social media. That is the role of the team and the code. Certainly a halftime score or a full time score is fine, but a live commentary from me on the game from the stadium and I see some stadiums, now stadiums have probably been late to the game in social media, but I see MCG aimed at stadiums are doing some good work in this space. And I think social media also allows stadiums to develop a bit of a personality, otherwise they’re a multi-facility building that the hero is the code or the team or the players et cetera, but it really allows the stadium to develop a bit of a personality as well.

We’re finding Twitter in particular is becoming an increasingly important customer service tool for us. We’re just revamping our sales and marketing team but we are bringing on board, starting the week after next, a Fan Engagement and Digital manager and it will be a multi-faceted role, but it will be really about lifting our social customer service on match day and addressing issues and opportunities as they arise and jumping into conversations if there are problems. Because inevitably when you’ve got 20,000 or 30,000 people in a stadium, you’re going to have issues. And I think like any form of customer service or customer complaint is actually how you respond to those issues is going to be key to retaining and keeping a happy fan.

Sean: Yeah. And the critical thing, when you’re doing that kind of thing is to get whoever is driving the Twitter and seeing those posts connected to the control room so it actually happens.

Shane: I couldn’t agree more.

Sean: So there’s nothing worse than, as a social person saying yes now ours are going to get fixed, but not knowing if it got fixed because you can’t go out and see if that toilet stopped flooding or that line for the hot dogs has gotten shorter. There’s going to be a lot of trust with your whole team but if you can get that flow right, the response online can be really good because a lot of the time the customer just wants to be heard and if you’re on the process of solving it, you can turn around that complaining fan rather quickly.

Shane: Absolutely. And I see the role of this person on game day is that they’ll be roving around the stadium looking at some photo opps obviously and fan shots leading into the game. And what we’re doing as a stadium and what food items we have on special or have launched, et cetera but during the game this person is most likely going to be sitting in the control room next to the operation guys and monitoring the issues, monitoring the discussion and being proactive as issues arise. It’s a brave step forward for venues and they really need to be set up operationally to do this. My recommendation is that a venue should not be on Twitter unless it has the capability to be able to react to issues on game day because you’re really not in it seriously if you’re not able to have that discussion on those key couple of hours once a week, twice a week where you actually have a full stadium.

Sean: One thing I did want to ask you about is your meteoric rise with your Flipboard. Tell us about how you use Flipboard, where you get your content and again for our listeners I put in the show notes Shane’s a rock star in the Flipboard space with his own sports biz magazine. Take us a little bit through how that came about?

Shane: I fell in love with Flipboard very early on, Sean. It’s a very visual medium and it really takes your Twitter feed, your Facebook feed, all of your social feeds and particularly those stories that have got a photographic element to them and turns it into this online magazine. The app itself is a beautiful app. It’s beautifully designed. It allows you to flip through stories and see what’s of interest. About a year, year and a half ago Flipboard allowed its users to create their own magazines and you can curate your own content or you can add on friends or colleagues to your account to also add content to it. Because this was at the very beginning, I set up a sports business magazine. I think it’s called Sports Business Today and all I do each day is I monitor the key sports business hashtags that you see on social media. So sports biz is one, social for tickets is another, fan engagement is another. So just those key hashtags that I use on Twitter to generate that conversation around sports business.

Now it involves me each morning or each night just filtering through probably a lot of rubbish but because I’ve started to grow quite a following—I’ve had over 9,000 readers now—I do feel a personal sense of responsibility and a lot of posting on there is actually relevant. The content is probably more geared towards the digital, social, fan engagement, ticketing space so it’s particularly in the fan space but if there’s anything else of general interest I’ll put it up there. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on it. The numbers that I’ve gotten on it have been about 2,000 page flips. I’ve posted 2,200 stories, so if you’re looking to go through the minefield that is social media and RSS feeds and everything trying to find the best of sports business daily, what I’ve done is curated it so it should all be there and there wouldn’t be too many that are escaping my attention. If there are, send it my way and I’ll add it to my magazine.

Sean: Yeah, I mean like I hadn’t found a spot for where to use Flipboard for a long while and it wasn’t until I got the iPad Mini that I started using it again. I just never sort of found a space for it in sort of how I go about finding content. But yeah, like I’ll find a stack of stuff from yours, I’ll start up my own Flipboard magazine. I’m like, damn Shane’s already posted it. I get very competitive. So I do re-Flip a lot of the stuff that you’re putting up in the same space but yeah, just the fact that you can pull in all of the different streams: here’s your LinkedIn feed, here’s a specific Twitter list, here’s what people are saying from Facebook and even just the cover stories that it promotes of all those magazines, it sort of gets the rhythm right of these are things you should read.

Shane: Sure. Absolutely and it’s a relatively manual process for me. I mean I tend to look at it and curate it each morning and each evening when I go home. But I really enjoy it and as I’ve said at the start, I been in this for 15 years but there’s not a day goes by that I’m not learning something new. It’s an industry that’s evolved very quickly and we really all need to stand our guard and just keep learning and look what’s happening around the world, what best practice and every day I see something that amazes me or thrills me. It’s a great resource and hopefully I’ve taken a lot of the heavy lifting out of it for people who are looking for this content. So jump on board and subscribe to it and tell me what you think.

Sean: Yep. Well I’d better wrap this episode or this interview at least, up. Otherwise I’ll go over the optimum time for podcasts, which I’ve been told is around 40 minutes, so I’ll try to keep it around that time, keep it within a commute or a gym session, so I’ll wrap this up. I’ve got a couple of quick questions at the end to hit you up with in the world of sport. Now this one, obviously you can’t name Westpac Stadium, but what’s the best stadium that you’ve ever attended?

Shane: The best for me would probably be AT&T Park in San Francisco. I think from a customer service and an atmosphere and a technology perspective they are the leaders. And I’ve been there on a number of occasions and it’s probably why I keep going back. Anybody in the sport business of stadiums and teams that hasn’t been there should go and get a look.

Sean: Yep. I completely agree with you on that one. What about a must-follow? It doesn’t matter what platform it is. Who do you want to give a shout out on someone that people should be following?

Shane: There’s a few people in sports that I’ve followed from the very beginning. Absolutely name yourself, Sean, as one of the key people that I follow in terms of keeping up to date with what’s happening in the industry. But other people in the U.S.: Brian Gaynor, who’s been to Sydney before for a Sport is Fantastic conference and is a good friend and is an industry leader, and Russell Scovetti you mentioned earlier on and Lou Imbriano, and there are a few others there that are really good sports business Twitter handles and they’re guys that I follow on a daily basis.

Sean: And a best sports biz tip?

Shane: The fan is the number one stakeholder in sports as far as I’m concerned and I think if you get the fan right and you have a vibrant and large and healthy fan base everything else follows. Without a large fan base and an engaged fan base there are ultimately no sponsors. There are no broadcasters. There are no paid professional players and I think sports sometimes loses sight of that. So for me it’s about elevating the fan and making the fan the number one stakeholder in sport.

Sean: Yeah. I couldn’t agree more, especially with looking and working with teams at the social. A lot of the time they’re looking at growing their likes and getting more fans but your key fans, your key fans that they’re already liking you and you’ve got to go deep in your engagement with those ones because they’re the key ones. They’re the ones that are the members. All the stakeholders are turning up and in a long history of working with sport, what is your best sporting memory?

Shane: Well, it would be the whole World Cup experience, the reward at the end of the day on a very long and difficult journey. I suppose reminiscing in Eden Park after the final, when the old Blacks beat France in a game where France probably should have won. But there was this enormous emotional tension just lifted across the country after that game and it was a huge celebration and at the end of a very tough year for New Zealand after Christchurch so for me it was probably that Rugby World Cup Final.

Sean: Well, thank you very much, Shane for joining me. Don’t forget you can follow Shane on Twitter at ShaneHarmon and we’ll have a link to your Flipboard in the show notes. And I hope to catch up with you for one of those craft beers sooner rather than later.

Shane: Sounds good.

Sean: Cheers, man.

Shane: Thanks, Sean.


DJ Joel: Sign up for Sports Geek news at

Sean: Thanks again to Shane Harmon. I am looking forward to catching up with you for a beer as we did at Major League Baseball in Sydney. And I hope to catch him at SEAT next year if he can’t make it this year with the premier league match at Westpac Stadium. For those of you who haven’t registered for seat yet, there still is a few spots left. I was speaking with Christine: over 700 attendees are going to be in Miami. That’s a 16% jump in attendees from last year in Kansas City. Simply go to Obviously you can listen to a couple of podcasts that I’ve done so far with seat sponsors and the people who go to seat to understand why you should be there.

Also, if you’ve got any campaigns that you want me to profile in my book for digital campaigns around the world, please send them in. I’ve got some really great ones from NASCAR, the Kings, Tampa Bay Lightning, V8 Supercars, Portland Trailblazers and the NBA and more. So yeah, I’d really love to see your best campaigns and profile me in that book that I’m going to launch at seat.

That sound that you can hear underneath me is from the FA Cup at Dave Burtenshaw. I spoke about it on episode 50 and he sent in this is what happened after the FA Cup final.

[Background noise, cheering]

Sean: So, very fond memories there for Arsenal fans. Dave Burtenshaw did say it was one of the best moments he’s been from a live event point of view and obviously a big moment for guests, previous guests like Rich Clark, who was calling the game for Chained to the shop a little bit, this clock is telling me to wind up and get out of the podcast. This is episode 52. You get those notes at I’m going to finish up this episode with my chat with Al Crombie, who filled in for Francis Leach at ABC Grandstand, with a little bit of a chat about 120 Sports and also the World Cup.


Al: It’s time to welcome a good friend of the program. This is Sean Callanan from and I must say, he’s looking more Sport than Geek this morning. He’s got the skins on, he’s got the sporting attire.

Sean: You don’t want to put people off their breakfast. Good day Al. How are you doing?

Al: Very well, man. Great to have you back on the program. We had a little hiatus up in Sydney so we didn’t get to see you but it’s been a busy period. Social media has just absolutely been going off in this World Cup.

Sean: Oh, definitely. We’ve seen stacks of, I guess content, shared by the teams and by FIFA but it’s really the fans getting involved which has completely changed the perspective of how people are seeing and interacting with the World Cup. And so we spoke with the guys a couple of weeks ago about the different names coming in: Robert Van Persie first goal with his flying headers and people taking that and yeah, the soirees bite has been something of mirth throughout the internet. And I think it is a cautionary tale for marketers. I mean, I’ve been talking about the World Cup being the best footballs on the beach but it’s also the world’s best marketers presenting their wares. And unfortunately for Adidas, they’ve done a whole campaign around all of their athletes because they were in a fight with the other boot manufacturers and they’ve gotten messy at leading it. And if you look at the photo it’s Luis Suarez particularly chomping down or growling, looking like he’s about to bite something.

Al: That’s a lot of teeth.

Sean: A lot of teeth. And the thing is, these posters are all around Brazil, so the post ups, everything like that. So if you pretty much Google selfies and soirees you’ll see those fans taking selfies, putting their arm in somebody’s mouth due to the biting incident. So whether the added S people come back and say “Oh, look at our brand recognition, it’s all over the web.” Partly they might say that’s great, it’s great buzz, but yeah they might be reconsidering whether to have him on board as an endorsement if he keeps biting people. I think I mean as Rachel said, when the Wiggles attack making fun of you. The Wiggles have brought out a song about the biting incident. This is pretty much for your mum and dad’s kids. So if you’re getting that kind of attention it’s just sort of a completely different way to consume your sport.

Al: Indeed, indeed. Those marketing men would have been sweating heavily, wouldn’t they? And I believe Suarez has lost a big deal with a big betting agency in the U.K. just in the last couple of days so, it’s all fallen apart.

Sean: The moral compass of betting, as you see. That’s how bad it’s gotten. Yeah so, if he’s lost a betting company who knows what’s going to follow? He might even move on from his club and all that kind of stuff because he’s got to form a band and all those kinds of things.

Al: I want to see someone be bold and get a toothpaste endorsement or something, just come out and say “Well, you know.”

Sean: Oh, I’m sure.

Al: No matter what you eat, they still need to be washed.

Sean: Yeah. There was a lot of marketers that did jump on board. Snickers did a great ad. When you have a Snickers when you’re hungry you won’t be angry. There was a whole bunch of brands that sort of jumped on the moment to sort of say “Here, take a chomp out of this pizza,” that kind of thing, so…

Al: It’s incredible. Yeah.

Sean: Again, part of that, what is now moment marketing, some way that Oreo put up the Oreo tweet when the Super Bowl blacked out, that kind of stuff.

Al: It’s the immediacy, isn’t it?

Sean: Yeah. And they got a lot of kudos because you know, the fans go “Oh that’s funny. I’m going to pass it on.” And particularly it’s a free ad.

Al: Yeah.

Sean: But there’s a really big change or big announcement this week with the announcement of the 120 Sports Network. It launched just this week. It’s pretty revolutionary as far as the partnerships are involved so it’s a partnership between Time Incorporated, which is Sports Illustrated, but it’s got the Major League Baseball, the NBA, the NHL and NASCAR all partners with it. Which is, having the different leagues collaborating on a digital effort is quite remarkable because normally they’re all trying to work on their own patches and they’re competing against those fans in some sense and so this one tweening network is effectively a collaboration with those partners to create content and effectively its own digital channel. So it’s a little bit of a startup competitor to the ESPNs of the world and the other big media players. The 120 name comes from the 120 seconds, so again everyone is going to have a little catch, a little pitch. So what they’re going to be doing is creating these 120, you know two minute video clips of game highlights, talking heads, issues of the day, that kind of thing and it’s going to be curated and sort of populated by the popularity in social media and how much it’s getting played. And it’s really targeted to that younger generation that just wants to consume that short form media.

So it will be really interesting to see for one how it goes. It’s backed by—and I’ve spoken of Frank before about the technology behind it—but Major League Baseball advance media which is the tech company behind all of the things you see for Major League Baseball. So they’re providing all the tape to live streaming services and those kinds of things. So you can go to and just be sitting and watching videos and picking clips that you want to watch. They’ll have, I think, it’s eight hours of live programming a day so they’ll be churning out a lot of content so why are all these leagues joining up? Again it’s a way for you to get a taste for oh, I am following now a little bit more Major League Baseball. I’m not behind the pay wall that is Major League Baseball and again that is about deepening ties with your fans. They do all want to consume more content. I mean, all the studies have shown that if you give fans more content to consume, they’ll watch more. So even if we go back to when YouTube live-streamed some of the 2020 Cricket in the IPL in India, and you’re able to watch the games on live YouTube, people who are watching more clips and more opportunity to watch on YouTube meant that they watch TV.

So this whole idea of digital and mobile cannibalizing TV numbers is actually the opposite. The more people get to watch when they want to watch it means they actually want to watch it in all its glory. I mean, if you’re a massive baseball, basketball, hockey or NASCAR fan, yes it’s great to be able to catch up on the bus with a two minute video on the NBA draft or whatever is happening. But then you want to go watch it on your big screen so, sort of one feeds another. There will obviously be advertising play in there. It’s available on multiple apps, so you can get it on a mobile, get in on an iPad, tablet kind of thing, so again, I think it’s probably in the right sweet spot. We’ve sort of seen short video come along from a social media point of view about buying, which is six seconds, which, what can you tell people in six seconds? Not much.

Instagram has a 15 second video but it’s not really where you go to watch video whereas this is dedicated. You want to get the latest clips and highlights, so if a Giant’s pitcher throws a no-hitter, you can get in on there and watch it. And the idea is you would start showing your preferences and they would obviously have advertising data but then you would start saying “Oh, I’m really getting into the baseball season, I’m following that story,” and it will go back to the properties.

Al: Do they get a lot of objection from the ESPNs and whatnot in the sense that they’ll be taking away, in a sense, customers. And the fact that all these big sports are on board as well; did a cause a bit of a kerfuffle in the states?

Sean: Well, I mean, ESPN is a pretty big beast. I mean they’re probably seeing it as a bit of a side play for those leagues. And it has been, there is a bit of competitiveness in the same way it is in Australia between the leagues broadcasting their own content versus the broadcasters but I think that pretty much because it’s a digital play there’s this culture of cord cutting as far as separating yourself from cable and not paying the cable fees. That’s where the play is. Now, it’s four days old so it’s a bit early to tell if it’s going to have some success. But the thing for the teams are, why can’t they monetize that sort of thing? But yeah, where it will get interesting is if it starts affecting broadcasters deciding whether they want to pay for rights or whether the leagues decide, well we like our rights the way they are and we can monetize them better than they can pay. So that’s always going to be the push and pull between digital and TV. If they raise their game, which is most likely from a competitive point of view, ESPN will probably come back with a counter. They’ll come back with some video play. They’ve got Watch ESPN, they’ve got all these different opportunities but they might say “That’s actually working.” Imitation is better than innovation. They’ll just go and copy it and do their own spin on it. So the end result, the leagues will get exposure.

The one note of the partnership, if there’s one rather big league that’s not involved it’s the NFL. They’re quite happy doing their own thing. They’re quite happy keeping it all in-house. They don’t want to share. They don’t want to play with the other boys in town. So, like that’s about the only one that’s not there but it will still have a swag with really great content on it.

Al: Is it a free app? Is it free for us? It’s not going to be five bucks a month or do you see it progressing that way? A lot of these things start free and then you’ll end up paying the first sentence.

Sean: It could progress that way but I think because it is, I guess, league based and it’s a bit more altruistic in that they want to promote their leagues and their content and effectively drive traffic eventually their sites. I think that’s probably not the way they’ll go. They’ll be league sponsors and it will be activations through them and that kind of stuff but I don’t think it will be a paid thing. But who knows? They might head down that path. You know, Major League Baseball at Bat has done that; WWE, we’ve spoken about before, they’re on that Major League Baseball advanced media network and it’s a pay-for-play type of service. So it might be, if you can get the volume. It might be you get to watch 20 videos and if not you can pay two dollars and be on board. But then again, it’s just a subscriber thing, so I don’t think they’ll be at that point just yet.

Al: It sounds like a pretty handy, one-stop-shop though, for sports lovers, you know coming in on the train and getting all those little snippets that you need. But also like you said, I mean this is your realm. Do you see this kind of heading into the future and more collaboration between these sports?

Sean: Well, the collaboration is the interesting twist.

Al: I’m amazed that it happened.

Sean: Yeah. Well that’s the thing and that was the big announcement around it. I think that the trend for more video and more teams doing more content, more video from sports teams is definitely the way to go. Every team that we’re working with, and every one of these people want to consume more video, so finding that sweet spot of one, how you can best consume it and in that manner is the way to go. So then that’s what this is being built for. It’s being built for you to watch a quick mobile version, share it with your mate. It’s that kind of thing. So, it’s a really big player. If you look at the NBA draft, there were stacks of video going out, stacks of interviews, really great coverage by the NBA.

Al: Interesting. Watch this space. We’ll keep track of it with you, Seanie. We’ll see you next delay. For anyone who wants more data on this they can hit your website…

Sean: or Sports Geek podcast in the iTunes store.

Al: Lovely. Appreciate your coming in. Just wrapping up, heading up towards news time. Hang around after the news. Frankie will join us live from Brazil and we’ll also chat with Brent McKay and cover the super rugby action. Of course it’s back on board after a little three week international hiatus but why don’t we head up to the news and hear some of the Wiggles? It’s probably the first and only time it’ll ever be played on Grandstand breakfast side, as you say but let’s hear what all the fuss is about.

[Music] [00:51:16]

DJ Joel: Please leave a review on iTunes. Go to Find all Sports Geek podcasts at Need help with your content? Book in for a content brainstorming session with Sports Geek now. Go to Thanks for listening to the Sports Geek podcast.

Infographic: Sports and Social Media a perfect match

Do you remember the last time we posted an infographic from Infographic World?

It went viral around Jeremy Lin and ended up on NY Knicks site.

Where do Infographics sit in Sports?

  • Do you find them useful?
  • Are fans engaged around them?

Let us know in the comments or via Twitter.

Courtesy of: Infographic World

SGP 051: Building a Digital Team

NBA Preseason appearing on Warriors LiveOn this week’s Sports Geek Podcast I chat with Harf on SEN about World Cup & Socceroos.  Lately I’ve been getting a few requests to help replace staff and reshape digital teams, so I discuss how to skill up and resource your sports digital team.  We preview some the the killer digital campaigns for SEAT presentation and a listener question – What is the value of a hashtag?


On this podcast you’ll find out about:

  • How Socceroos content was framed by one single player interview
  • How sports digital teams have evolved in past 5 years
  • What roles you need to be thinking of (as an employee and a sports team)
  • What is the key ingredient you need with sports digital staff
  • How do you value hashtags?
  • Comparing Facebook growth – World Cup Vs LA Kings

Resources from the episode

What World Cup is like from the stands

This is where Sounds of the Game came from

Don’t miss SEAT 2014!

Not only does Christine Stoffel put on a wonderful conference, the conversations on the panels (and at the networking events) are completely worth it. I will be travelling 24 hours by plane to attend, that should give you an idea that SEAT is worth it. Don’t forget to send in your best content and campaigns so I can profile them at #SEAT2014, email me or use contact form. If you want to connect with sports executives then Miami is the place to be, secure your registration now.

Register for #SEAT2014 now

Listening via iTunes?

Subscribe to the Sports Geek Podcast in iTunes, if you liked the episode please leave a review on iTunes and help spread the word on your network.  Thanks in advance.

Leave an iTunes review

On SoundCloud?

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Podcast transcription

Sean: Welcome to episode 51 of the Sports Geek Broadcast. On this week’s broadcast, we have World Cup Fever. We’re also going to look at “how do you go about scaling up a digital team?” And I’ll list a question, “What is the value of a hashtag?”

DJ Joel: Welcome to the Sports Geek podcast. The podcast built for the sports digital marketer. And now here’s your host, who thinks visits to the gym that aren’t checked in on Foursquare don’t count, Sean Callanan.

Sean: Thanks, DJ Joel. That’s right. My name is Sean Callanan from Sports Geek. And thank you again for listening to this Sports Geek podcast. Foursquare. What about that? What have you thought about Foursquare’s recent pivots to having two apps? Foursquare being a location discovery app and Swarm being the check in app? I’m still unsure. I am checking in on Swarm when I go to the gym. The recovery from the Achilles is coming along well. But, yeah I’m still a little bit; I think they’ve missed their moment. Love to know your thoughts, if you’re still using Swarm and still using geolocation. On today’s podcast, I have to have a chat about the World Cup and how the Socceroos are traveling. And then after that I’m going to take you around the scenes and some of the things that we have been doing with the Socceroos to really engage the whole Australian sporting public around the Socceroos and what the overall goal is. The other part of today is, also what I’ll be doing is I’ve been getting 50 requests lately helping both clients and teams replace staff and getting new digital people in and also reshaping digital teams. So what I’m going to do today is also look at how do you go about one, recruiting digital staff and also what the different types of staff there are now these days. And then as we’ve been talking about, I wrote a post on LinkedIn on building a killer digital campaign. Had some great feedback from that and also had some great nominations that I’ll be including in the site. So I’m going to be giving a sneak peek at some of those campaigns later in the show. And also we have a new listener question asking “What is the value of a hashtag?” in that sponsored environment. So I will break that down, break that question down a little. But first here’s my chat with Harf on SEN and we’ll come back to talk a little about World Cup . . . Announcer: Sean Callanan, our sports digital media guru for

Harf: World Cup fever, I’m sure caught the bug of the Good day Sean.

Sean: Good day Harf. You’ve got the ideal job. You know the old sleep in until half past eleven and then you just walk up to work.

Harf: Half past eleven?

Sean: You just sort of turn up here before the show starts, don’t you?

Harf: You reckon this kid’s got eleven? He sleeps until half past eleven, do you? Not a chance, mate. Not a chance. Although it’s not great for the time zone in Brazil, I’ve got to be honest.

Sean: It is a bit of a struggle.

Harf: 2 a.m. start is a bad one.

Sean: 2 a.m. start tomorrow morning. The Socceroos are playing against Netherlands. But I’m sure there will be a lot of people up, you know? You watch Origin. You’ll be fired up. And then you’ve just got to stretch yourself to get to 2 a.m.

Harf: No. I’m not going to bed at 4:00. I can tell you that much. I’m not going to bed at 4:00. Trust me.

Sean: But you have watched the first game.

Harf: Watched the first game, loved it. Got excited, got passionate on social media. I was out and about.

Sean: And everyone was. And the thing was, you know, stacks of love for Timmy Cahill. Like, what a performance to kick a goal in the last three World Cups. Very select company. And I’ve got a few series interview after the match that just sums him up perfectly.

Timmy Cahill: It’s all about defining moments. I’ve said this every single time. Being one of the older boys, this is the stage to do it. When you’re called upon you have to show up.

Sean: And that’s the thing. You have to show up. And he does. But now for the Socceroos it’s who’s the next guy to show up? And I think that’s what everyone saw in that first game, you know? I was watching the tweets coming in and seeing everyone watching guys like Mathew Leckie. You know, 45 minutes before the game all of us are going, “Who is this guy?” And then he’s blowing past guys. You know, Matt Ryan in defense and, you know, some of those younger guys are the ones, you know. Who is going to show up next?

Harf: Yup.

Sean: And so I think that’s where the Socceroos and that’s pretty much the age he’s playing. He’s getting these young guys on board. And that’s pretty much what the Socceroos are doing is to try to get Australia to know these guys, for one, for this tournament, for the longer term view, for the next two games, you know, tomorrow and then the next one, but then also for January when they’ll be back here for the Asian Cup.

Harf: We have a few games in Melbourne too, don’t we? Sean: We do. There will be seven games and a quarter final at AAMI Park. And, you know, you can get tickets now. So, you know the thing is learn who these new guys are. And that’s what I’m excited for. To see, you know, these guys come up. I was really disappointed to see Ivan Franjic do his hamstring, a really good bloke. I met him when we did some of the social media training sessions. And he’s been sharing all this great inside stuff from behind the scenes. But he took all of that in stride. You know, he did his hamstring. But he said, “You know, I won that, I made the World Cup. And I passed the ball to Timmy to get that goal. So I’m part of history.” So he really took that positive spin on it. So what I’ll be looking for is to see what the numbers are at 2 a.m. Who are the real maddest Aussie that are still going to be up? Still going to be tweeting? And you can’t schedule your tweets. You can’t just say, “I’m just going to schedule a tweet to go off at half past two and say Go Socceroos.” That’s cheating. That’s cheating.

Harf: Can you do that?

Sean: Of course you can do that.

Harf: Can you plan a tweet?

Sean: Of course you can. There’re tools to do that, Harf.

Harf: Is there really?

Sean: Yes. So if you want to go to sleep we’ll set on up. But I want to see the passion. I don’t want to go, “Go Timmy Cahill” and someone else scores a goal. You’ll get found out.

Harf: Right-o. All I want to know.

Sean: I want people to know on the sneaky SMS. Because now on Twitter, you’ve got a…

Harf: It’s like SMS.

Sean: Who’s going to be the next Aussie to show up? And make sure you cheer tonight.

Harf: And #Socceroos. Thank you Sean.

Sean: No worries Harf.

DJ Joel: Sign up for Sports Geek News at\SignUpNow.

Sean: So the one thing that was missing in that interview with Harf, sort of previewing the soccer, and I’m no football expert, I’m anything, but was the content that was to come after that interview. So, what I’d done in chatting with the guys there earlier in the week, sort of reviewing that first game, and also really picking apart that interview from Tim Cahill. They pretty much do want to draw; part of their strategy is to draw fans to the new stars. We’re able to take that quote from that interview and really make it part of the content going forward. So the afternoon in preview mode before that match against Netherlands we made a Facebook video because we had really good success putting up a video before the first game. And it’s really interesting that just today Facebook news room released a post sort of really promoting the fact that they’re giving video, especially native video and they post these to YouTube, they’re really giving video a big bump, which is sort of what I was saying and what we had seen in seeing a lot of teams put up video. So, pretty much what we did from the Socceroos point of view. We created a short teaser video, if you will. And we really used those words of Tim Cahill. “You know, you have to show up”. So one, it was that content about everyone fired up before the game. And it also was used throughout the game in showing in images that we put up on Twitter and on Facebook to say “Who has shown up?” Who will step up to really take it from that next level? So I guess it sort of leads me into the question around scaling up the digital team and who you should get. It has been a real journey in this space. When I started Sports Geek there were a lot of people running what would be now Digital Departments as one man operations. So people were the web guy. They had titles like Web Master, those kinds of things. Whereas now we have got fully fledged digital teams and they’re really content businesses, much like my discussion with Richard Clarke at Arsenal. Their focus is producing content. So when people say “we’re looking for someone for our team”, it’s like “Well, what are you looking for? What need do you have and where are the gaps?” So as we’re sort of coming into both of the drafts in the NBA and the NHL and there’s always that, “Do you go for a certain skill need-based type of thing? Or do you go for the best skills available?” You sort of have the same conundrum when you’re looking to fill out your digital team. I guess the first thing that I would do is sort of break down what a team might look like. And then it’s a matter of how many you might have in that role for what you are trying to produce. So, some of the things that you would have now as standard, and again five years ago this was normally a one person team or a combination of the comms team and the IT department. But now they’re fully fledged digital media teams. So you’ll have writers, whether they be a beat writer or someone to write features, someone that can write the articles. We need content up on the website for people to read. Match reports, in depth interviews, those kinds of things, so journalistic background. And we’re seeing a lot of journalists moving from print and radio and other medium to move on to the club side of the business. Because it’s definitely a skill needed. Which leads to the other side of it, on air talent, so both for video and audio. So being able to hold a microphone, have interview skills, go backwards and forwards with players, with the players, the coaches, those kinds of things. Really important to have some media savviness about them. Then the other kind of things that you’re looking at. Video, as I just said. Video is getting bigger and bigger. All the numbers from across the board, from producing video, from a team point of view, are blowing up. Especially now that a lot of teams are making sure that their video is able to be played when they’re mobile. All the views are going up. So being able to have someone who can cut together some great video content is a must. But we all know that it is very time consuming. So it has been one of the jam bottleneck spots for digital teams. You know, wanting them to produce more video but those people are only having certain bandwidth. Then the other types of roles are obviously graphics, graphic producer. We’re seeing a real rise in style graphics, info graphics, those kind of things. As well as obviously they can provide resources internally to the marketing team and things like that. So it’s really important to have someone with those graphic skills. And the last one is social media content and community manager. And I really think that second part of that role is really important. Like the execution of social media, the tweeting and games, the posting of Facebook posts. That can be done with someone with a lower level skill like an entry level type person. But it’s the community management side that’s really important. And then the other side of it is how you go about executing that. How you do the tweets. How you cover the game. What kind of engagement you’re going to have with your fans. How are you going to talk to your fans? So that, the skill of the community management side of it and engaging a community is more, to me, more important than just the executing and the broadcasting on social. Now, can one person do all those roles? No. There is no super human, you know, sports geek injected type person to do that. But what you want to do is pick people that have the skills where you need the skills, where you need the resources in place. So might get a video person and they might be able to cover some of the social. What I like to do in working with teams is to make sure that there is a spread that. That everyone in your team is multi-talented, that your writers and your beat journalists and the guys doing all the match reports do see social and are tracking what’s happening on social. Because the listening side of things is terrific for one, content curation and creating articles from that content. What are the fans tweeting about? What are they posting on Instagram? That kind of thing. And also it gives you that feel and that pulse of the team. And the other thing is if all your team is involved in that social side of things, both personally but also looking at it from a professional point of view, it just gives your team a wider spread of people and content, pushing it out, but also puts more of human face behind the team. You’re always going to have the team account pushing out content. But it is good for the fans to know the people behind the scenes. So, there’re some of things if you are looking, one, if you’re looking for people keep that in mind. Have those roles to find. And if you’re looking to get in, you know, look at the gaps. Look at where teams are struggling. You know, I hear, I do get asked a lot, you know, “How can I break into sports? What should I try to be learning?” Obviously video is a big one. If you can cut video and you’re good at video it’s really important. But also work with the platforms that you’re going to work with. So if you’re going to be pitching for a social media role and those kinds of things you’ve got to use the platforms. And use the newer platforms that no one knows about. Play around with Tumblr and Snapchat and all of these, and Vine and all of these newer ones. Figure out how to use them on your own personal accounts because that will make it far easier to translate when you’re running a fully fledged team account. So that sort of leads, so there’s that part of it. Then the other part of it, I think, when you are looking for anyone in the sports base, is the creativeness. I think that’s really important. If you’re going to go pick someone that has similar types of skill I’ll always go with the creativeness, the enthusiasm, that kind of thing. But someone that’s always got ideas and always coming at it from different angles. Yes, I think I’ve said it previously, imitation is better than innovation. You can always copy other people. But where are they looking for it? Are they looking at the sports teams? And they’re looking at how music bands are doing it? Are they looking at how big brands are doing it? Are the watching the world cup and looking at how Nike and Adidas are battling it out and what sort of campaigns they are doing? What can you twist? What can you take into, bring into your team? So look at that creative person that comes up and says, “I want to do this video series on this” or “I want to do this photo shoot in this particular way and push it out to a certain platform like Tumblr” or doing something specific on Instagram. That stuff is, you know, stuff you have to keep encouraging. And if you have stuff that pushed those limits, your fans will love it. Which leads me to some of the stuff that I’ve been collating and putting together. Both my presentation and an eBook around killer digital campaigns around the world for SEAT. It’s pretty much a remix of what I did last year with Philippe Dore at NASCAR where we sort of looked at the digital campaign Trifecta of content, data, engagement. I put up a post on LinkedIn and I sort of dived into some of the things that I’ve been looking for. And I’ve put out the call out to some of the people who have been on the podcast. And I’m lucky enough to have 74 people who have been on the podcast so far. So they’re coming back with some great content, so the different areas that I’m looking for. I’m looking for video. I’m looking for how people are doing different video whether it’s feature series, behind the scenes, or even different ways of using it, anyone that’s doing long form articles. I really do feel they’re making a comeback. I think sites like Grantland; Bill Simmons’ has really given rise to that longer form, longer read. is another one that’s sort of encouraging people to read more. I’ve seen a few sports teams do that. Other things like Infographics. As I said, you’ve got the graphics people working it. Audio, as you know, I’m on podcast. I’m doing podcast. I’m loving podcasts. And I’m interested to see how teams are using it. We’ve heard how Arsenal used SoundCloud. But, you know, how are you using audio clips? How have you engaged your fans? Those kinds of things. So again, if you’ve got a campaign, I’ve had some great ones in from NASCAR. The LA Kings, check out the LA Kings site right now with the thank you messages coming in from all of the fans after their Stanley Cup win, those kinds of things. Some stuff from Chris Freet at University of Miami. That is some killer stuff. So I’m putting this eBook together. I really would love to be really profiling people who are listening to the podcast but who have been on the podcast obviously. But if you’ve got a killer campaign that you’ve done in the last 12 months. Or if you’re a fan of the team and your team has done a killer campaign, please send me a tweet., and just tell me what it is. Tell me what you loved about it. And I’ll follow it up and get some stats and behind the scenes stuff from the people involved. DJ Joel: Find all Sports Geek podcasts at Sean: Got a listener question. Alexandra sent an email by the Sports Geek mailbox. You can do that by or just send me an email Alexandra writes, first of all the subject. I love this subject, “Alexandra. Hashtag very over hashtag”. That was the subject. So, definitely caught my attention. And she’s asked me, “How much is a single tweet worth when a celebrity tweets it out to their x many followers? How much is it worth to a sponsor?” And to mine, I sort of go back into my IT days when people would ask me “How much is it going to cost to build something?” It depends on what they’re asking for from an IT point of view. But from a sports sponsorship it’s a little bit the same thing. It’s “where’s the value for the sponsor?” That’s more the question. What are they looking for? Are they looking for brand awareness? And they want that athlete to do one tweet and post it out? Now if it’s just one tweet, tweets are so disposable. It gets sent. I think the average lifespan is three or four seconds these days for a tweet. There’s so much, people are seeing so much content it might just fly by and never get seen. So I’d be a single tweet would be part of a campaign for mine. And I’d be looking more to how can you best leverage that athlete. So can they share an image with the product? Can they do it out to their Facebook? Can you amplify that post, whether it be Twitter or Facebook? And this is where, for mine, Facebook provides a really great return from an advertising point of view to amplify that post, because you have the same problem in Facebook. It has a short spike. But can you extend it by promoting the post to the target demographic of the sponsor? So it is hard. I can’t say “yes, it is $1,000″ or “yes, it is $100,000″ because it does depend on the sponsor and what they are looking for. So that noise you are hearing is from the stands of the game from the Socceroos second match that I was previewing earlier. Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak, not Mike Tony Abbott, is lining up on the penalty spot. Thanks to James for catching this one. Who else has envy for James and all of his career? I’ve got a few mates that are over at the World Cup and have been to a lot of the games. A lot of the Socceroos’ games obviously. But there have been a few games. And Francis Leach, who I usually do a grandstand on, he’s over there posting photos. Jordan, Steve, James, very jealous. I’m sure that you’re like a lot of the listeners, wishing that they had gone down to Brazil to catch a few games. That clock is telling me to wrap this episode up and get out. You can grab the show notes, as you can always, at That wraps up this episode of the podcast. Don’t forget you can still get tickets to SEAT. There are a few more spots available but they will be stopping selling soon. They’re nearly full. You would have listened to episode 49 when I spoke to Christine Stoffel. This is going to be the biggest seat yet. Simply go to And a big congratulations, I don’t believe I did it last podcast, to everyone at the LA Kings, especially Aaron LeValley who’s been on the podcast before. Congratulations on the Stanley Cup win. It’s worth noting that the LA Kings jumped 2.5% in Facebook numbers after their win, and comparatively the Socceroos 5.3 and US Soccer 5.1 in the week around the World Cup, so terrific job there by the LA Kings. Also, a quick note, I had a chat with Neil Horowitz this week that he’s podcast, digital and social media in sports podcast. Give me Neil a follow @NH2H7 on Twitter. I will post the link when that chat with him is up and about. My closing two cents this week. Going back to scaling up the digital team, I’m a big believer in drafting for need. Fill those gaps but always be looking for that ideas person.

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