Live is where Sports & Twitter thrive, so why can’t TV join the conversation?


Sports is best when the stakes are high and Twitter thrives as fans move to the edge of their seats so why can’t TV join in?

Sean & Francis discussed why Twitter’s growth has been linked with the success sports teams are having using Twitter.

 Download MP3

Take a look at the evidence

Thanks to Twitter’s Laura King who presented at SEAT Conference we can see the top 8 Twitter moments, 6 are sport 2 from music and ALL were live on TV.

Until next week

Catch it live on Saturday mornings (at 7:40am) when Sean Callanan discuss sports digital with Francis Leach on ABC Grandstand. Tune into ABC Grandstand Breakfast Friday through Monday on ABC Grandstand digital radio.

Follow @saintfrankly

Follow @abcgrandstand

Want to get these clips in podcast form? Subscribe here or Add to iTunes.

Podcast transcription

Francis: Sean Callanan is the man when it comes to all things Digital Sports and he’s with us again from Sports Geek HQ. Good day Sean, how are you?

Sean: I’m good thanks, Francis.

Francis: Good to have you back in mate. Twitter and sport have become synonymous with each other, it’s fascinating to watch at the moment to see the big media companies trying to engage Twitter and use it, say on television in their broadcasts. And some of them are better at it than others but the sports broadcasters seem to be struggling with it here in Australia.

Sean: Well that’s the thing, one of the phrases I always use when I’m doing a presentation is ‘Twitter is where life happens’ and that’s where sport’s at it’s best as well, we’ve seen the AFL go to live TV, no delays and everyone loving it. Whether it affects attendance and things like that may be something that has to be decided, but it’s definitely given Twitter a massive boost. Because people can talk about the game and be having that, I like to see it as the second special comments guy. You’ve got your two guys in the box corner at the game, but Twitter provides a different point of view whether it’s tactical, humorous or observational, it’s providing that. So it’s something that at the moment TV networks over here, and even in a lesser extent in the States and the UK, are still trying to figure out how to best integrate Twitter. They’re in to getting that whole sports TV, we keep hearing the ‘Second screen experience’ is to get that ‘I play by the fans’ into the interaction that they’re doing on Twitter anyway.

Francis: Radio’s always had it because radio has talk back and it’s one of the great dynamics of the radio experience and why it probably lasts, it’s not unilateral it’s not just the one platform delivery, you have a conversation with your audience. Television’s never really been comfortable with that and this is a big challenge for them.

Sean: Yeah, one of Twitter’s main slogans is ‘Join the conversation’ and what we’re seeing at the moment is, we might have an AFL game or an NFL game or a cricket match happening and people are using the hash tags. Whether they are the game day hash tags or the club hash tags, but there’s a conversation happening at this place. And then what we’re seeing is the TV networks trying to do is ‘Use our hash tag and we’ll have a conversation around this’

Francis: They’re trying to own the conversation?

Sean: They’re trying to own the conversation, they’re trying to effectively in competition to the leagues and the teams running the event.

Francis: So is that like Fango?

Sean: It is a little bit, that walled garden approach of ‘Hey come in to our little digital world and talk in our space.’

Francis: Which is counter-intuitive to what Twitter is about, which is an open conversation and an opportunity to meet like-minded people that you would never encounter.

Sean: Exactly and there is a few of those apps popping up that are like ‘Oh it’s a sports version of Twitter’, no Twitter is the sports version of Twitter, you don’t need to replicate that. So what we need to do from a networks point of view is to get the networks to realise that that’s where the conversation’s happening, and if they do want to do that social curation and post up the best Tweets on their network, then that will actually help them be part of the conversation and drive traffic. So if Dave Warner is winding up and opening up the shoulders, and everyone who has been trained to be Tweeting this specific hash tag and know that it’s on Channel 9, will flick the channel and start watching it, so it’s a really big channel changer.

Francis: It really is and we say that Olympic Games on a couple of occasions, didn’t we, where people decided to tune in for specific moments at the Games because it just lit up on Twitter.

Sean: Yeah, exactly, it’s just a matter of going ‘Hang on, I better change the channel to watch that’.

Francis: I remember it specifically happening during that hour when Great Britain won three gold medals at the track in the space of sixty minutes, and Twitter just went bananas, ‘You’ve got to watch this’ and Wayne Farrell was the last one to win. By the time Farrell had ran his race, the whole world had bee alerted to it on Twitter as much has anything else. The Twitterverse was on it and it was just a critical mass.

Sean: Yeah and it was pretty much a watershed moment for Twitter in the UK, for everyone it was like the light bulb went off and ‘Ah, that’s what Twitter’s for’. And to give a bit of integration thing, we’ve talked about how in the US the Olympics was delayed, but the way Twitter helped NBC from an integration point of view was if you searched for the Olympics on Twitter in the US, you actually ended up on a branded NBC Olympics Twitter page. Which again did absolute wonders for the NBC Olympics, it put NBC’s Twitter properties in the front of fans looking for information on the Olympics. It also pushed up the athletes and gave them a lot more lift and drove traffic back both to the digital properties but also back to the website. So what Twitter’s trying to do at the moment – and using sports as one of their key planks – is helping people understand what Twitter is. It’s not log on and tell people what you had for lunch. What we see Twitter as is it’s replacing the new idea and the newspapers of a time where you might follow Warnie and Liz Hurley for your gossip columns and you’ll follow your sports team, some of the athletes and celebrities and some of the news breakers and automatically you’ve got a little bit of ‘This is my flavour of life’ and I might be into sports, wine, technology, whatever it is and you can get that feed.
Then what happens is, when you’re in the live moment, you start seeing people who are talking about the stuff you want to talk about and you can actually have that backwards and forwards with people. And that’s when, for me, that’s when Twitter goes off when people start going ‘I can have this, it doesn’t have to be conversations right there and then’, you can have a long form conversation every couple of days with someone and keep up with what they’re doing.

Francis: Sports Geek HQ is the company Sean Callanan runs, he’s here with us again on Grandstand Breakfast again and we’re talking about Twitter and sport. And there are some events that lend themselves a bit better to it, I guess the Tour de France is one because it’s a long form event and you can have a conversation over an extended period of time. I’m finding with the Major League baseball playoffs it’s perfect for that as well. Say some of the field games like Australian football and other games that are really quick, is it more difficult because the dynamic changes every five, ten seconds?

Sean: Yeah it is, that one is a tough one for the broadcasters. Even with the baseball you can tweet ‘That was an awesome shot’ or ‘That was a great mark’ or whatever, and then by the time broadcasting get it that even has happened and past. So that does make it tough to get live Tweets to stream, it’s not like Q&A where you’re putting on your commentary of how it’s going. But when you’ve got a longer form game, like baseball or cricket, someone will say ‘Ricky’s looking menacing here, he could get a big score’ and that’s a Tweet that a producer could go ‘That’s a great one, we can put that up, hopefully it doesn’t get out straight after’

Francis: [Laughs] That’s the Twitter jinx, that’s going to happen soon.

Sean: It’s going to happen, ‘Oh my goodness you put that Tweet up and then he went out’, I’m sure there’ll be some one, Michael Clark will storm the dressing room ‘No more Tweets about me’

Francis: ‘You hash tagged me’

Sean: Yeah exactly, so that’ll most likely happen down the track but it will be good for the engagement.

Francis: It’s going to be fascinating watching it develop. How can people find you online?

Sean: ‘@SeanCallanan’ or ‘@SportsGeek’ or at

World Cup, Blackhawks, NHL Beards & Fev #bodsw

Best of Digital Sports World – Ronaldo Edition 7

Apologies to Justin Bieber but for the next 31 days you won’t be the number 1 topic on the Internet.  That position will be held by the FIFA World Cup. (Bucket List: Mention Justin Bieber in a blog post. Completed)

Here is @Mashable‘s guide to following the World Cup on Twitter.  The easiest way is to use #worldcup hashtag and follow soccer tweeps to chat about games as they happen.

Best digital representation of the World Cup schedule (pictured), click around & bookmark it!

Great work from the guys @Activ8Social with the Rajon Rondo’s #LooseBall Scavenger Hunt combining Foursquare, Twitter & Facebook the social media triple-play.

An interesting opposing view on the NBA Finals “Don’t watch the NBA Finals!”

Congrats to the Chicago Blackhawks on winning the Stanley Cup.  Great exposure for sponsor Van Kampen Investments on the Blackhawks website, simple but very effective!

Great research from @TimBull from Tribalytic on the AFL’s hashtag strategy, I’ve been discussing this one with Tim for a while, great to see some data to back it up.  Shows the power leagues like the @AFL have in shaping the conversation on Twitter!

Welcome to Twitter – Brendan Fevola

Love seeing new athletes join Twitter, didn’t think I’d see this guy anytime soon….

Can’t believe how quick you are all jumping on board. Will try get some of the other boys on too. ThanksWed Jun 09 08:01:05 via Twitterrific

Please Fev be careful with the Twitpics ;)

Best On Ground

Great promotion by @NHL over the playoffs with Beard-a-thon, great connection with a sponsor King of Shaves as well as connecting with hockey fans to raise money!  WIN-WIN-WIN

YouTube Clip of the Week

Continuing the World Cup theme…

#WriteTheFuture, Foursquare Search, Amare & Steele

New form of Athlete endorsement?

Edition 5 of #BODSW, welcome to SportsGeek V2.0, what do you think?

Socceroos left for South Africa this week but it was a their Facebook page getting praise gaining 30K+ fans via #WriteTheFuture campaign. (Hat tip to @bryonycole)

Digital and social media pose biggest challenge, admits FC Barcelona CMO “We want to be pioneers in football.  This is our core business.  But we have to look what other elements interests our fans and our members.  And we realise that social networking and digital media, it is important, and we are on that.” (hat tip to @shane_harmon)

It’s always about the balls, Adidas promises more scoring and frustrated goalies at the FIFA World Cup (Thx to @khuda1)

Social Media in Small Business is Anything But Small great advice from @BrianSolis just as relevant for sports team as small business.

A nice study on time spent on social media marketing.  How much time do you spend promoting your sport or team via social media?  It is very easy to fall into “social notworking” mode, that’s why you need a strategy, start with a Sports Geek workshop!

Looking for new ways to look at Foursquare? Try 4sqSearch (via @AdamVincenzini)  While we are talking search you can now search Facebook with logging in at Open Facebook Search

Australian sports fans continue to show support for Collingwood’s Steele Sidebottom in the Name of the Year competition last week he beat Charity Beaver, this week it’s the finals against Banana Yaya. Vote now for Steele.

Best On Ground

This week’s Best On Ground goes to Phoenix Suns star Amare Stoudamire not only for his play against the LA Lakers in the NBA’s Western Conference Finals but for leveraging his Facebook fan page to sell playoff tickets to his fans.

From Darren Rovell at Athlete Social Media Value Could Be Realized Through Retail – CNBC

Through a partnership with RazorGator and a technology platform called, Stoudemire is currently selling playoff tickets on his own Facebook page.

YouTube Clip of the Week

Here are some funny sports commercials to liven up your Friday, enjoy!

Got your ticket yet? HUGE lineup with speakers from Real Madrid, NBA & Tottenham…

Engaging Fans & Participants in the Digital Age Sydney – Star City – July 13 & 14
Sport is Fantastic 2010 Auckland – Eden Park – July 19 & 20

Connect with Sports Geek on Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook & LinkedIn
Contact Sports Geek
to activate your sports brand & connect with your fans

Nike, ESPN, Aker & World Cup

New site design ready for launch soon? Do you like?

Edition 4 of #BODSW, wow 4 straight weeks thanks Jerry Seinfeld – “Don’t break the chain”.

Nike goes Viral in April – how Nike is taking a different approach in social media using their vast stable of athletes to promote the Nike brand via YouTube. Hat tip to @activ8social

How engaged are Australia Twitter users? – Great stats on Twitter users and how they are using Twitter from the team at @Tribalytic, keep an eye on these guys.

London 2012 announce new mascots – Wenlock & Mandeville – two one-eyed steel creatures, borne out of the steel used for the Olympic Stadium in east London – hardly cuddly.

Are Facebook Like Buttons Wrong or Right For Your Site? – A recap of the how & why Facebook buttons may or may not work with your site, good read from @problogger.

Pat Coyle aka @sports20 has a nice mashup presenting a Twitter following/Facebook fan ladder across all US sports updated every 12 hours, now numbers are not everything in social media but sports is competitive so people love ladders.

ESPN working on a Foursquare style app – Will it work? ESPN Passport hasn’t caught on yet have they missed the geo-location boat?

From the “Hey, that’s cool pile” you can now read the news from your tweeps using – Feel free to read what my followers are reading –

Worst On Ground

After awarding a Worst on Ground instead of BOG to Phil Mickelson I’ve decided to create this as a permanent feature as you cannot go past Western Bulldogs footballer Jason Akermanis. Aker caused a major stir with his article “Stay in the closet, Jason Akermanis tells homosexuals” he then followed up on radio & TV interviews. The backlash was evident in social media with Facebook groups & fan pages springing up to deride Aker’s views. On Twitter we saw #akermanis trend and the story was picked up globally by the likes of Deadspin. It was a good lesson in understanding how the social platforms can work against you as much as for you, I’m sure the AFLPA (@AFLPAToday) now have a better understanding of this after they prompted the article from Akermanis.

Best On Ground

Great article from Marketing Week “Where dreams of global goals are made…” looking at strategies that brands will take to best leverage their partnership with the FIFA World Cup. Coke, Visa, Castrol & Tesco all featured.

YouTube Clip of the Week

Here is what happens when you introduce AFL footballers to impro, you end up flapping your arms on national TV. ;)

Thanks to @Harry_O & @ImproMelbourne.

Check out Impro Melbourne for shows & workshops. Impro Cave season starts soon check it out!

Got your ticket yet? HUGE lineup with speakers from Real Madrid, NBA & Tottenham…

Engaging Fans & Participants in the Digital Age Sydney – Star City – July 13 & 14
Sport is Fantastic 2010 Auckland – Eden Park – July 19 & 20

Connect with Sports Geek on Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook & LinkedIn
Contact Sports Geek
to activate your sports brand & connect with your fans

What did I miss? Drop a comment with your suggestions for next week’s #BODSW