SGP 040: Oscar Ugaz on #digisport trends and David Morris #Sochi2014 Silver Medallist

Oscar Ugaz chats about his time at Real Madrid on Sports Geek PodcastOn this week’s podcast we chat with Oscar Ugaz about the European sports digital scene and his time at Real Madrid.  Included in this episode is a sneak peek at our interview with David Morris Sochi silver medalist in the aerials from our chat on Beers, Blokes & Business.


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Looking to improve your skills in social media? Come along to our Sports Geek Social Media One Day Educational on March 31st listen to podcast for promo code ($50 off).

On this podcast you’ll find out about:

  • What Oscar thinks the keys are behind connected stadiums
  • How Real Madrid used Facebook gaming to raise money
  • Why YouTube is perfect fit for sports content
  • What the Australian Olympic team learned about social media after London
  • How athletes like David Morris dealt with huge influx of social media attention
  • How Google+ is finding it’s way into sports market
  • How digital fans will be given the Front Row treatment at Old Trafford

David Morris appears on Beers, Blokes & Business, subscribe on iTunesResources from the episode

Social Media Post of the Week

Manchester United announced Front Row an initiative to bring digital fans closer to the players at Old Trafford using Google Hangouts.

Send in your nominations for best social media post of the week – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine… for whatever reason fan engagement, sponsorship activation, cool content….

Closing 2 Cents

 YouTube is ready to take on sports market.  Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube.  That's almost an hour for every person on Earth  @seancallanan from @SportsGeek

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Podcast transcription

Sean: Welcome to Episode 40 of the Sports Geek podcast. On this week’s podcast, we chat with Oscar Ugaz about his time at Real Madrid and what’s next in the world of sports digital in Europe.

We have a quick chat to Olympian and silver medalist, Dave Morris.

DJ Joel: Welcome to the Sports Geek podcast, the podcast built for the sports digital marketer. And now, here’s your host, who suggests you should really rethink that bad password, Sean Callanan.

Sean: Thanks, DJ Joel. That’s right, my name is Sean Callanan, from Sports Geek, and welcome to Episode 40. We’ve made it to the big four-zero. Thank you to everyone who has listened from the get-go. And if you’re just new and checking out the back catalogue, thank you for joining us.

This week on the podcast I chat with a good friend of mine, Oscar Ugaz, who works in digital marketing in Europe. He’s in France at the moment. We talk about his time when he was working with Real Madrid, and some of the things he did there.

Also some of the trends that he is spotting in the world of sports digital, not only in Europe, but also in Latin America. We talk about topics like connected stadium and why YouTube is ready to disrupt the world of sports.

Also a little bit of a sneak peak, we are lucky enough to chat with Winter Olympian and overall good bloke, David Morris. He recently came back from Sochi, winning a silver medal in aerial skiing.

We chatted with him on Beers, Blokes, and Business. That’s going to come out tomorrow, on Monday, so we’ll have a little bit of a snippet of that episode, where we talk about social media and the reaction from fans, and how he dealt with it.

Don’t forget the Sports Geek One-Day Educational is now out. You can check that out at Stay tuned for some more info on that later in the podcast. We’re going to give you a special promo code. But first, here’s my chat with Oscar Ugaz from France.

I’m very pleased to welcome Oscar onto the Sports Geek podcast. I caught up to him a couple of years ago via Skype before I had a podcast, so I’m really happy to have him on. Oscar Ugaz is in France today. Oscar, welcome to the podcast.

Oscar: Thank you very much, Sean. Thanks for having me.

Sean: And you are in France today?

Oscar: Yes, today we are in a winter day in France. Very, very nice.

Sean: First of all, just to introduce yourself to the listeners, if they follow @SportsBiz on Twitter, or @DigiSport, they might have seen your Twitter handle, @OscarUgaz, pop up every now and again. But do you want to give everyone a little bit of a background of your story in sports and digital?

Oscar: Oh, yes, of course. I have an experience of 15 years in digital. I am a former advertising executive working for Wunderman; I am still working with them. But in 2007, I was hired by Real Madrid to be the Digital Business Manager, and I worked with them for several years establishing the digital strategy that nowadays the club has in place.

From that point on, I have been in the sports field and I have been working on advising other sports organization since then, since I left the club.

Sean: It must have been a really exciting phase, because you’re really in that spot around the same time I started Sports Geek. It was a little bit after that, but it was really around the time that social networks really developed. Facebook came along and Twitter came along, and sports teams started to adapt that. Were there some real lessons in those early years in moving from pure digital to what we now know as social media?

Oscar: Yes, indeed. We are talking about 2007. Now in 2007, where Facebook and Twitter are not the size that they are nowadays. They are not as well known as they are nowadays. In that time also, for example, Real Madrid, the data case that I worked on, Real Madrid has not developed a big digital strategy.

They have their portal. They have made some very, very specific analytics for mobile. When we started to develop this new strategy for them, the first thing we do is the website, and stuff like that.

But at some moment, we say, “You know, we are in 2007 and there are these new behaviors in people. People are using these new platforms, this new social media. People are engaging; people are talking. Why don’t we enter into that sphere?”

There was also always a fear – and this is still a fear in most sports organizations and in some brands – that we don’t want to go there because we are afraid of losing contracts, stuff like that.

But after a discussion, and we insist, insist, and we convince them. We start to have a presence on Facebook and Twitter, just like a test. At the beginning it was a test to see how fans behave in these environments where they can speak and have an opinion.

Then we will see if we can translate that to our website, our official web portals. At the end of the day, the social media and the social media environments became a big monster on their own. They had their own lives, so we decided to start creating strategies, and created a specific force and a specific business around these social media environments.

Sean: So you’ve moved on from Real now. You’re in a consulting business working in digital marketing. How much of your work now is still in the sports space?

Oscar: Nowadays I work in Latin America and in Europe. Let’s say that around 50% of the job that I am doing right now is related to sports. We are working with some sports clubs in Latin America, and we are also advising some organizations in Germany, and also in Spain.

It is 50% of our job right now, but it is most of the same. It is based on digital and how these organizations can take advantage of these new platforms, and these new solutions.

Sean: So how has the transition for you been a different go from what we would call “Club Land,” working for a team, and just for their purposes to, one, being in the same space as me, working with multiple teams? But then, also, working with these multiple industries, or brands, and governments, and those kinds of things? How much of that digital strategy and the work that you are doing in digital is applicable and transferable across those industries?

Oscar: I think that many, many things are very transferable. For example, when they’re related to sports, at the end of the day, it is a business. You need to develop some kind of value. It is obvious that you need that.

But at the end of the day, all of the things nowadays in digital are based in content. It doesn’t matter if you are selling sports, if you are selling a country, a tourist destination, or a car. I am working in all of these industries.

What you need in all of these situations is content. If you don’t have relevant and remarkable content, it is very difficult to have an impact in digital or in social media. Because nowadays, it’s a word that everyone is using, it’s “content”, but it’s real.

If you don’t have nowadays something interesting to tell in the digital sphere, you have nothing. Because you are not getting attention, and without attention, you are not going to be able to transform that into eventual sales, or into eventual value to the company.

That’s a problem that you confront in any business that you are in nowadays, that if you want to activate it in digital. So I think that experience that we have with a brand like Real that is very big and has all the attention, but in some ways has big difficulties to create content beyond the football match.

You have the football match; it is big content, but its content has already been sold to that tenant of the rights. It is the guy who is paying you the big amounts for broadcast rights.

You say, “Okay, how can I create more content? Something different to try to bring more attention, and try to transform that new attention into money. Because how can I create additional business out of the social media?”

That’s the same problem that, for example, tourist boards, or car dealers, or whoever you think of, all have the same content problem.

Sean: Definitely over the last three to four years, that explosion of content has happened across the board. Sports teams are overflowing with content, but still you’ve got to shape that content for your fans in a way that they can consume it. Because all sports teams, whether they be Real Madrid or the Melbourne Storm or the LA Lakers, they’re competing against these other content engines and content companies that are now coming up and competing with sports teams.

Whether they be USA For The Win, or, or anything like that, the sports teams can’t just be putting out the vanilla met report, or the press conference, they’ve got to be in that – like you just said – remarkable and interesting content to engage their fans. Otherwise, the fans just start tuning out.

Oscar: Yes, that’s very true. The problem is, I am talking about football clubs in Europe and in Latin America. These people have very big difficulties creating relevant and remarkable content. I am not talking about the United States, for example, because in the States, they have been very creative, and they are willing to test new stuff.

In Europe and football in Latin America, beyond the match, the highlights, the training footage or stuff like that, there are very, very few examples of people creating some content by thinking out of the box.

I think that one of the very great and big examples are Manchester City, for example. Manchester City is a club that is creating concepts like the tunnel cam, or are creating concepts like, “Okay, we are going to play the training match using GoPro cameras.” Stuff like that.

I think because they are not in the front lines–they are not the first, and the biggest, and the most popular football club in the premier¬¬–I know it is important but they don’t have anything to lose. They say, “Okay, we are going to test things.” That is the attitude. That is the attitude that you have to take, you know I think that they are doing pretty, pretty well.

Sean: We have definitely seen an insatiable appetite for sports fans, definitely here in Australia, and the same in the States, in the U.S., in the pro teams in the more content the teams produce. We’ve seen it as digital teams have grown. They’ve gone from one to two-person man teams.

As they put in more content producers, the numbers, the traffic, it all increases because the fans have this insatiable desire. From what you are saying, to me, that sounds like a massive opportunity for all the teams to follow the leads of the Manchester Cities, to produce that extra content. Because their fans are craving for it. They just don’t know if the opportunity was there, if that content was produced for them, that they would be consuming that more and more.

Oscar: There is also a big constraint there. It is not only based in the resources you have to pour inside the club more producers and more budget to create that. It is also, I think, about attitude and about conceptual openness to do these types of tasks. Because most of the content created by the club is created by press areas that are very traditional in the way that they manage.

The guys who, for example, are creating outstanding and incredible content around football, in YouTube, for example. It is driving millions and millions and millions of fans of people who are not football clubs. I don’t know if you know them.

Sean: Yes.

Oscar: These are guys who are creating relevant content. They are creating concepts like the football fan, the guy who goes around the games and shows the behind-the-scenes, or the bowels, of the club. Or, I don’t know, the guys who make fans and make rap battles between Ronaldo and Messi, and stuff like that. It is driving huge, huge, huge amounts of traffic and of attention.

That is an arena in which a football club finds it very difficult to enter. Not only because they are traditional. It is also because they have, “Okay, now, we have to protect the image of the players. We have to protect the image of this thing and the other.” You have a lot of constraints, and that’s why you are sometimes forced to create not so interesting and relevant content.

That is a barrier that in some moment needs to be broken down, because if not, all the traffic is going to go to these other creative types, you know, who are creating the content that people nowadays are following.

Sean: Another question that I’m really looking forward to when I’m in Europe is checking out some of the stadiums and seeing what the trends are at stadiums, both in London and in Europe. There is a really big debate in the U.S. at the minute, around connected stadiums.

As you know, I’m part of SEAT Conference where I run the digital track. They’re always talking about Wi-Fi and DAS, and can the fans get access to the Internet. It’s becoming a necessity in the States. We’ve also got CISCO rolling out some networks with some of the major stadiums in Australia, because of the demands that so many fans with smartphones want to be able to do things.

There have been an interesting, I guess, opposing points of view. Mark Cuban, the owner of the Mavericks is really in the camp of, “I don’t want my fans using their phones. I want them to be engaged with the action.”

Then you’ve got the new Kings’ owner, who wants to provide that fan as much Internet as they need, so they can have that extra, contextual benefit of being at the game. It might be live replays that you can pull up on your smartphone.

So they are sort of the two opposite ends of the spectrum that are currently happening in the U.S.. What’s the connected stadium debate like, happening in Europe and in Latin America?

Oscar: I think that in Latin America they are still not in that level of connecting the stadiums. In Europe there are many, many things that are entering into this environment. I think, not because they are thinking in a strategic way, like in the States. But mostly because other ones are doing it.

That is a bad thing about all this digital. “Oh, because my competitor is doing it, I am going to do it also. Because I cannot say that I am not a connected stadium and the team that I fight every Sunday, the other team has it.”

That is the situation right now. I think that both Mr. Cuban and the people who are opposite to him in these things are both right. I think that in these stadiums you have this big problem of people saying “Why go to the stadium if I can sit on my coach, or in my armchair, and I have my big, plasma screen, with my tablet, and all the things, and I get all the information there?”

You have to give them reasons to go to the stadium. Some of the reasons will be that you have the same connectivity and you are going to use the same multimedia options in the stadium. “Come on over here.”

On the other hand, I think that Mr. Cuban is very right. The thing that you cannot do is go to the stadium – and I think that that is happening in some of the stadiums in the States – that you go to the stadium and you sit down in a very big room, like at your house.

You sit down there and you pass all the time watching not the game, but also watching what is happening in other four or five games, at the same time, and playing fantasy games. Because at the end of the day, that is not the experience of a match. I think that both are extremes, that you cannot fall in one extreme or the other, because it is not healthy.

The other thing I think about connected stadiums is that it’s great, you have to provide this content to the fans, these services. But I think that is something that is very expensive. And if the football clubs do not have a good strategy on how to extract money out of it, or how to extract value–and believe me, many, many clubs do not have them, at least in Europe–it is going to be a very big, and expensive, nice-to-have thing.

I think if you want to extract value out of a connected stadium, the first thing that you must have is a very compelling and very well-established CRM strategy. To know, okay, these guys came in, they bought these things. I can put that in the database; I can have all this information. I can see how I can construct insights and information, and I can create new products to sell these guys. Because this is not just, “Okay, I have it; it’s very nice, but it’s very expensive. But I have connection, Wi-Fi in the stadium.” It does not make any sense.

There are football teams, for example, in Europe, where these are projects that are developed by the IT department of the club. But for example, the guys and the sponsorship do not know how to extract value out of that. They don’t have the tools to say, “Okay, how can I use this Internet connection inside the stadium to maybe sell some new products for the sponsor?”

It’s part of the silo culture of many clubs in Europe, you know. IT is one area, and it is totally separated from sponsorship, and it’s totally separated from digital marketing. They work separately; they don’t talk to each other.

One of these projects is a totally technical, IT project. The other guys don’t know how to activate it. So that is one of the other big constraints about this.

Sean: Definitely, yes. It is something that even the first time I went to SEAT in 2011, it was all the IT guys. That was one of my first conversations with Christine after that, saying, “We really need to get the marketers in here at this same conference”, because the IT guys will set up the great systems, but it is the marketing guys who will implement these activations and sponsorships that close the loop.

Oscar: That is not happening, right now. Unfortunately, from my experience, that is not happening, right now.

Sean: Yes, so last year in Kansas City, the guys at Sporting KC, and Sporting Innovations, pretty much used the sporting park, where Sporting KC play, as a really good example of, one, what a connected stadium can be, in that their smartphone app would connect to their Wi-Fi.

As you walked around the stadium, different offers would come to your phone because they knew where you were in the stadium. I think there was a shot-on-goal, and literally, by the time I had taken the phone out of my pocket and brought it up, I was able to see a replay of that.

Now, they are in a really great situation, and I’ve got to get Asim from Sporting Innovations on the podcast to talk about it. But it is that N2N solution, and there are so many moving parts of getting the TV guys to work with your digital, getting the infrastructure of the stadium, but when it does come off, it does fit really well for the fan. That’s the end.

But the other thing is, with the Sporting KC model, it was all connected to their CRM. So they were always getting more data about their fan, to better serve that fan better offers, better deals, those kinds of things, while always profiling those fans.

Oscar: At the end of day, you have to envision some type of return, because we are talking about a very, very expensive investment to create this infrastructure. So who is going to pay for that party? Someone needs to pay for that.

Maybe it’s a sponsor, okay, but the sponsor will need to have options, and will need to have tools to activate that. “Okay, I am going to sponsor, and I am going to pay for this. How am I going to have a return?”

It’s something that needs to be very clear. I think that very few people are making that exercise nowadays in the sports properties. They are just implementing the infrastructure because everyone is doing it. And it is something that is very, very sad to have happening.

Sean: It does take you to that ROI question. We’ve all been playing – I don’t know if I want to say “playing” – but working in social for a couple of years, now, and that ROI question keeps coming up. I think social, overall, is a longer game, and you can measure the ROI on a campaign-by-campaign basis, running specific things. That’s how you can start measuring ROI. But what are some of the things you look for when somebody says, “We want to run this campaign, but we want to make sure it brings in returns?”

Oscar: I think that one of the things on which you need to focus here is how are you’re going to measure value, when you create these companies.

For example, it’s a sponsor campaign, and the sponsor says, “I’m going to measure my values in,” I don’t know, “‘likes’ or comments.” Well, it is this problem; I think that is the most superficial thing that you can do.

I think that you have to create experiences for the fans, but that have a revenue stream behind them. That’s the thing that happened when we created, for example, in Madrid, the Real Madrid Fantasy Manager.

We said, “We have all these millions of fans on Facebook and we have all these thousands of guys that are using our mobile application. Where are these people in 2010? What are these people doing now in social platforms or in mobile?

They are playing FarmVille, or they are playing Mafia Wars. Now we are talking about 2010, when Zynga was very popular. Okay, if we have this, why don’t we create, again, a social media game?

The thing that we do is we act like normal, licensing guys. We go and we talk with Zynga and they say to us, “We are not interested. We are focusing on our own games.”

So we decided that we would make a complete reverse engineering of that game. We sit down with the developers of those games, who have experience creating fantasy games. Together with these guys, we make a reverse engineering of these Mafia Wars, of this FarmVille, and we mix that with a social media game.

And we create the Fantasy Manager, a game that has been very popular and has demonstrated that Real can extract money out of that fan base, because we started bringing real money out of that thing.

So that is something is not in any other clubs. You have people that have the capacity to sit down, do that exercise, and do that reverse-engineering of a game. Because at the end of the day, you say, “No, you are digital guys. What you need to do is start to close licenses.”

You have to think in some other way, you know. You have to think in some other way. At the end of the day, also, this Fantasy Manager game nowadays is played by over 30 teams around the world. You know, because Real created that game, we the team of digital, created that game, Real earns a royalty for each one of these games.

You are playing a game, for example, the AC Milan Fantasy Game, and you are making money out of that. A percentage of the money that AC Milan is making goes to Real, because Real was the creator of the game. So Real Madrid transformed themselves into a publisher of games. Who says that a football club needs to be a publisher of games? Why not?

Sean: And we have seen that with Major League Baseball events media, a lot of teams and leagues are setting up their own digital media departments, both as a content producing house, but then also spinning off and doing those games and fantasy games, and those kinds of things because it is still focused on revenue.

Fantasy is still one of the biggest traffic drivers on a lot of sports. So there is money to be made form an advertising point of view, having premium versions.

I’ve heard Peter Stringer talk about similarly, their 3-Point Play Facebook app around the same time, was a really great way early on, when those games on Facebook were starting to really catch on. It worked really well and tied into their CRM strategy perfectly.

Oscar: Yes, but there you are thinking out of the box, you know. The other example is the all-night video. We arrive in Madrid, we say, “We are the only football club that does not have a paying, all-night, video channel. We are the only club who does not have it. Why don’t we make it?

So we started making all the analysis, and we discover that we lose money. We lose money because we are asking all the other people, all the other clubs that have these types of solutions. And they say, “People nowadays are pirating the content, so we are losing money.”

We say, “We don’t have the content. We are not going to have the possibility of creating a channel. We are going to lose money.” And what happened?

It was 2010. YouTube appears, with YouTube Partner Program. You can upload your content and what do you do? YouTube will start selling advertising over the content that you create. What happens, 50% is for you, and 50% is for YouTube.

But the most interesting thing is that YouTube has this technology that allows you to say, if someone is using your content – let’s say that I, a football club upload my match, and I don’t publish it to YouTube. It’s there.

But there is a guy who takes five seconds to make, I don’t know what, a resume of the best goals. The system identifies that he is using five seconds of my content. They say, “This is the content of Real.” And “Real, you have two options. You can say ‘Block it’, or you can say ‘Sell advertising, and I want to have 50%’.”

At the end of the day, you are using this great technology of YouTube, not to fight with the fans. Because the fans want to take the content, want to take the match. They want to take the interview; they want to make their version. They want to make match-ups.

You say, “Do the match-ups. I am not going to fight you, because it’s impossible to fight with thousands of guys. Do it, you are free, but in the meantime, I am going to make money out of it.”

Sean: Definitely, I’m a big believer. I think YouTube will become a bigger player in sports. They had a very successful campaign with the IPL doing that. And it is rumored that they may try to get some of the NFL, which would be a really big reach.

But yes, the fact that it’s a platform that works; it’s a platform that everyone is consuming their video on. And yes, the ID-matching ability they’ve got, we went through the same when we launched the Lego Car video.

It pretty much says, “Yes, we found another video that someone stole it.” And you have that option to get it shut down and send everyone back to your site, or leave it out there and let the fans consume it. I think that’s a really progressive way of thinking about it. Why wouldn’t you want to monetize your content on all these different ways?

Oscar: And the thing that you have just said is very, very important. Because, indeed, maybe in the future, YouTube is going to be a potential tenant of rights. It is going to be a dealer of the rights, okay. And there is the opportunity; there is where you’re going to take the revenue.

If YouTube, let’s say, in five years, came to a football club and said, “I want to buy your rights. I’m going to pay you $10. And you are going to remain in that position today.” “No, no, no. The value of that is not $10; the value of that is $15.”

You Tube is going to ask you how you know that, and you are going to say, “I now that because over the past five years I have been on your platform and I know the real value of that.” That is the moment when all these efforts and details are going to pay off. It is not going to pay off now.

It’s the same thing that happened with Real, for example. Five years ago, Real started doing all these social media platforms, and one of the guys that entered more into this type of thing was Bwin.

Bwin is company that is in betting, but it is also in entertaining and being the entertainment. It was a sponsor of the shirts. Last year the shirt contract ended, but Bwin did not walk away. Bwin said, “I am out of the shirt, but I want to be the official partner/sponsor of digital Real Madrid.

That happened after five years, before, of working with these guys, working with them, making the Fantasy Manager. Showing it to them and saying, “Here you have insight; here you have information. I am not just sending you an email at the end of the campaign saying how many ‘likes’ you have, how many ‘comments’.”

“No, I am sending you a deck, a complete deck, telling you and informing you of the things that you did in the campaign. Maybe next time you have to do this to obtain more revenue, or more results.” Stuff like that.

That creates a different relationship with that partner. That’s why now, five years after that, after you have started making all those social media that don’t pay off, nowadays, it is paying off. Because you have retained a sponsor that is paying you for this digital platform, and because of these digital efforts that you are making, that were not paying off, now are paying off, after five years.

It’s not money, right now. It’s not, “I am going to create an application and I’m going to make money, money, money all the days, as usual.” No, you have to think differently. You are going to take the value in some other, different way, in the middle- to long-term.

Sean: Definitely, I think we’re on the same page. I definitely think it is long game. The thing that social allows you to do is it allows you to take your fans along on that journey. And wherever you end up, they are already going to be there, because they’re going to be following you on all those different platforms that they’re following you on now. And who knows, there might be a couple of platforms that are being built right now. Whether that’s in Silicon Valley, or somewhere in Europe, or even in Australia.

Oscar: This is called the “innovator’s dilemma”. It happens in any industry. The innovation comes in little segments, in little business models that don’t work, that bring in very little money. So big companies don’t pay attention to that. Obviously, they don’t pay attention to that because the big money is in some other place.

Football clubs don’t pay attention nowadays to the Internet, because the say, “How much are you making? You are making maybe $20,000,000 a year. I make $20,000,000 just signing a deal with a sponsor.” No, they don’t pay attention.

The problem is, when this social media, this digital, begins transforming something big and you are not prepared. That is what has happened, you name it, it has happened with the book industry, the music industry. It has happened with the mining industries. Any industry where technology has entered, it has happened.

It is something that is called the “innovator’s dilemma”, and it is a concept that has been around for many, many years. Now it is happening here. What is happening here is going to happen.

You have to be prepared. It is normal. It is normal that marketing doesn’t pay attention to you. It is normal that you are just five guys in digital, the five crazy guys in digital that no one is paying attention to, that no one is giving you a budget. It’s normal. But the thing is that they need to fight against this innovation dilemma.

One big example, and great example, that did this ten years ago, in breaking the innovation dilemma in sports and now are doing great is MLB. MLBAM are a great example of breaking the innovation dilemma and doing great things for the Major League of Baseball. It is a great example of this.

Sean: Exactly, and that gives me a good time to wrap up our discussion. I know we could talk longer, but I hope that our schedules allow us to catch up when I’m in Europe. But if not, I hope that you can make it down to Miami for SEAT. Maybe that is when we continue this discussion.

Oscar: Okay, I hope so. I hope so.

Sean: Thank you very much for coming on the podcast, Oscar. I will have links to your Twitter handle, @OscarUgaz and you’re LinkedIn, so if anyone wants to catch up with you, they will be in the show notes for this podcast.

Oscar: Thank you very much, for having me, Sean. See you soon.

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Sean: Thanks, again, to Oscar, for joining me on the podcast, all the way from France. Hopefully, I will catch up with him when I’m over in Europe. We’re just trying to organize our diaries to see if we can connect. But as I sort of said there in the conversation, we’re also hoping that he can make it down to SEAT, in Miami in July.

Don’t forget, you can still register for SEAT. I’m working on the digital tracks, and spoke to Christine last week. It looks like it’s going to be a really fun conference. The agenda for the conference, for both the digital, the CIO, the IT track, and also the CRM track run by guys like Russell Scibetti. I hope I got Russell’s name right.

It will be really good to go. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get Oscar to come in and sit on a couple of the panels. You can also check that out at And all the links to Oscar will be in the show notes. So definitely connect with him and follow what he does on Twitter, and LinkedIn, and the like.

This week, also, we had an Olympian turn up to the Sports Geek offices. Dave Morris, who, if you’ve been following the Sochi Olympics, especially in Australia, he won the silver medal for the aerial skiing. He is a friend of one of the blokes, so we had a chat with him, and here is a little bit of a snippet from that chat.

Unfortunately, we had some technical difficulties when recording, so it was recording on our back-up track, so it’s a little bit tinny. But he does give up some insights on what it’s like when you are inundated with social media mentions and requests around a big event like the Olympics. Dave Morris, Olympian.

Sean: So I have a question from a Sports Geek point of view. At the London Olympics, the swimmers and swimming team sort of blamed social media for their downfall. In that they were reading too many tweets; it got in their heads. I guess, you have just now lived that. What was it like in the lead-up to? We’ve already said that you were flying under the radar, but there would have been tweets coming in.

Dave: Absolutely, yes.

Sean: And stuff like that. What did you do to manage that? And the second question is, what was it like afterwards?

Dave: The Australian Olympic Committee really learned from London and the mistakes – I say “mistakes” – the stuff that went wrong there. Yes, the social media got to a lot of athletes and it was very overwhelming.

So they had what they called basically a “media black out”, which was amped up a little bit more than it was. But it was basically they didn’t want you tweeting or doing any social media while you were at your training venue, whether you were training or competing. Which is very, very fair. People got all arced up about it. I’m like, “But why would you want to be tweeting as you’re ready to go down the end run?” You’re just not concentrating.

Sean: There was a security issue, too, because there was some security issues.

Dave: They didn’t want people saying, “I’m going to this bar.” And then having anyone turn up. I thought it was very fair. You were allowed to tweet in photos, and whatever, once you went back to your room and stuff. That was fine, but they just suggested that it was the best option to just stay totally away from it. Because you do get overwhelmed by it.

Once I got the medal, I got the full brunt of social media in my face. It was three whole days of basically, non-stop. And there’s no way I could have done that before my event, if I’d had any exposure whatsoever. Because, you know, I went under the radar, which was the plan. But guys like, they’re like, “BAM! These guys got a win.” That’s very overwhelming.

Sean: That’s the advice that I’ve given my clients, as sports teams, or with football clubs. They get, you know, I just did a training session with North Queensland Cowboys, and they get that intense pressure over 30 weeks.

Dave: Yes.

Sean: Over a 30-week season. So if Jonathan Thurston has a good game, he gets a flood of tweets coming in. But with the Olympics, you know, they did make a mistake in London and they needed to correct it. They tell you, “Don’t read all the newspapers before you go in.” And that’s all obvious, but they weren’t ready for this new media, to say, “Don’t listen, don’t be tweeting.”

Man: Internet trolls.

Dave: I’ve had the Internet trolls, and my brother helps manage my Facebook fan page. I’ve got people who are just hating me, and I’m like, “What have I done?”

Man: What could they say wrong?

Dave: He deletes it before I read it, because I was going to say before, “Thank you, very much.” But I’m just like, “What have I done to do that?” But I take it as a compliment someone writing to flip me off.

Man: They make fun of you, like the fact that you wear the girls’ uniform, instead of your pants.

Dave: Well, that’s the truth.

Man: Oh, is it true?

Dave: Yes. I wore a woman’s uniform for a couple of years, then you have a boy’s one on. You know, people want to take the time.

Man: We haven’t meant you any kind of trouble.

Sean: You mentioned that your brother helps you with your Facebook fan page. Do you run your Twitter and your Instagram accounts?

Dave: Yes, I do manage my own Twitter, but Dad and my brothers, Pete and Josh, help me out. But that’s true, it’s nice to have them take the load off that. But I make sure I know what’s going on.

But in the games, I went, “You know, I’ll read just a little bit in there.” Because that’s what I do on a daily basis. That’s the routine. But I did really step back from it. I took my pictures as I normally would, but I left it all up until the end. Then, once the matter was done, 980 emails the next morning.

Sean: Wow.

Dave: Like, “All right. Here we go.”

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Sean: Thanks, again, to Dave Morris, for coming in to Sports Geek HQ. Again, apologies. Kicking myself for the technical difficulties with the audio. But I guess after 70 episodes, you’re going to have one or two glitches every now and again. But it just shows, especially with audio and video, always have a back-up, and always have a secondary option, otherwise we would have lost it completely.

You can follow Dave @AerialSkier on most platforms. And you can hear that episode in full at, or you can get that on iTunes and Stitcher. But if you just go to @BeersBlokesBiz on Twitter, you’ll get the latest links for the show.

This week’s social media post of the week, and it’s actually quite topical, considering the conversation I had with Oscar around YouTube and some of the options in that space.

YouTube have announced, from YouTube and Google+, I effectively using the two terms interchangeably, Google+ with Google Hangouts, which is effectively a YouTube product. I see it as a YouTube product. They have announced Google+ Front Row with Manchester United, a means to bring fans from the digital space to Old Trafford.

So I’ll have a link to the show notes of Manchester United announcing that on Facebook and Google+, and the video that Google UK produced to promote the event. The fans will be able to dial in using Google Hangout, and that will actually be shown on the front row at Old Trafford.

So it’s a really good way of connecting digital fans from an online point of view, to the off line, connecting them to the stadium.

Again, I think Google Hangouts, and we’re seeing more and more teams do them, I do think the invite-only and hand-picked fans is the way to go. Manchester United is running effectively a competition to decide which fans will be in that front row.

I think it’s a really great way to engage your fans and bring them back. So I think, everything I’m seeing, from what the Google+ team, and what the Google+ sports team are doing – you saw it with the #sportsconference – they are really trying to push into that sports vertical.

So if you haven’t checked out Google Hangouts and how you could use them, I highly suggest you do because I do think it is going to be, I guess, the one thing that may potentially come out of Google+.

I’m not saying that Google+ is dead, or it’s the next platform to explode, but I definitely like Google Hangouts and the products it offers in the YouTube space. So check that out, Google+ Front Row with Manchester United.

I don’t want to run too long. I’m trying to keep my episodes under 45 minutes, so that clock is ticking to tell me to dedicate Episode 40.

I did have a nomination for Steve Menzies, Manly Sea Eagles legend, coming back at the age of 40 to play in the Sevens Tournament. I was going to talk about the 40-yard dash, considering it has been the NFL combine recently.

But as a Detroit bad boys Pistons fans, I can’t go past one of the biggest bad boys of them all, Bill Laimbeer, especially since I was lucky enough to meet him on one of my earlier trips to Detroit. I caught him at an airport and got his autograph. I’ll take a photo of that and put it in the show notes. So I’m going to dedicate this episode to Bill Laimbeer.

You can get all the show notes, all the links of everything that was discussed today at As it is, you can track down and stalk, or I should say follow and connect with all of the guests – over 50 now. Simply go to

And please, look at the episode catalog. Like I said, I’m very proud to get to 40 episodes. Thank you for all the support, for all of the people who have tweeted in, posted, and replied that they are listening to the podcast.

If I’m not getting that feedback, I won’t be doing the podcast, is probably one way of putting it. It really does spur me on to continue to produce this episode.

One example of that is from Richard, from Canberra, who is asking about IFTTs in one of the emails that I respond to. When you sign up for Sports Geek news, if you go to and sign up now, I’ll actually send you a few tips around how to use IFTT.

He asked, “Is IFFT more like a curation service?” IFTT is; it’s If This Then That. I use it as a bit of a traffic controller and an archive for all things social.

So I’ll put a link in the show notes to my IFTT profile. It does things like automatically sending Instagram photos I like to my Drop box, or I’ve got an archive of which photos I’ve liked.

I’m also saving them in a Google spread sheet. So if I want to reference them later, I might send them off to Tumblr. If I like a YouTube clip on YouTube, it will be sent to my Tumblr, and things like that.

So it’s pretty much you set up a bunch of channels and then it allows you to either archive, or send those posts to other platforms. I use it a lot with Instagram. I use it a lot with YouTube. And just I use it a lot from an engagement point of view.

So if I’m engaged with a client and we want to keep track of all the Instagram photos that are coming up around an event, I’ll set up an IFTT rule that will save all of those “likes”. So we have a record of how many we liked and what pictures we liked, and what type of users were sharing the photos of note.

One last thing, I did promise a special promo code for our One-Day Educational. For those of you in Melbourne, I would love to see you there. If you know someone who is running a business, working in the social media, or the marketing space, and want to get a good feel for how they can use social media in their marketing mix, we’d love you to recommend and tell them about the Sports Geek One-Day Educational.

So for this week, for this episode, I’m going to put out a promo code The promo code is going to be “Oscar.” That will get you $50 off the registration price. So thank you for listening. I’m more than happy for you to pass that on; that promo code, again, is “Oscar.”

Hope to see you there, March 31, at Honey Bar. It will be pretty much four, really deep-dive sessions of all the material that I’ve been using in sharing and training sports teams. But really I’ve looked to adapt it to any kind of business. So if you’re looking to use social media for your business, or if you know someone who does need to do that, I would love it if you would share it with them.

Simply go to You can get all the information there. Find out about Josh and Steve, who are also going to be there, talking about their experience in using social, as well.

Okay. Time for the closing two cents. I’m going to dedicate this one to YouTube. YouTube is really ready to take on the sports market. A quick stat: over 6,000,000,000 hours of video are watched each month on YouTube. That is almost one hour for every person on Earth.

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Thanks for listening to the Sports Geek podcast.

Man: I love what you’ve done with the name, by the way. The One-Day International, the One-Day Educational. Monday, the 31st of March, 2014, at the Honey Bar. Check your local guides for more details. is the place to go to find out a whole lot more about it.

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

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

10 #Digisport predictions

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

1. Mass content but targeted promotion

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

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

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

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

2. Geo targeted innovations

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

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

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

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

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

3. Mobile traffic and commercialisation

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Gamification (bahaviour analysis)

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Targeted communications, particularly EDM’s

Expect to see more specific and targeted communications

Expect to see more specific and targeted communications

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

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

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

6. Data or pay walled content

Will content be pay walled in 2014?

Will content be pay walled in 2014?

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

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

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

7. Live behind the scenes segments

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. YouTube becomes a major content platform

Organisations need to embrace YouTube for their online video

Organisations need to embrace YouTube for their online video

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

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

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

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

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

Keep it simple and focus on the data that matters

Keep it simple and focus on the data that matters

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

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

10. Using and encouraging fan generated content

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

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

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

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

Connect & Join the conversation

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

See you at #SBNight

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

SGP 023: Shane Harmon on digital & venues and #WarriorsLive

Westpac Stadium for A-League (Photo from @WestpacStadium)Westpac Stadium CEO Shane Harmon chats about his experience with Rugby World Cup in 2011 and his new role at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.  On Harf Time we look look back at why #WarriorsLive was a success bringing fans into the huddle at a preseason practice.


On this podcast you’ll find out about:

  • What sports teams can learn from Gary Vanyerchuk’s book promotion on Twitter
  • The importance of Facebook for ticket sales for Rugby World Cup
  • How Twitter was vital for Rugby World Cup as a comms tool around Christchurch earthquake
  • Challenges and opportunities for stadiums and venues entering social media
  • How Golden State Warriors got me out of bed at 5am
  • How sports teams can leverage Google Hangouts on Air

#WarriorsLIve on Google Hangouts on AirResources from the episode

Make the effort on Twitter

Follow the example of @GaryVeee (he has 1M Twitter followers)

Listening via iTunes?

Subscribe to the Sports Geek Podcast in iTunes, if you liked the episode please leave a comment or rating. 

Sports Geek Podcast on Soundcloud

Podcast transcription

Sean: Welcome to episode 23 of the Sports Geek podcast. On today’s episode, what can sports learn from Gary V. I chat with Shane Harmon from the Westpac Stadium about sports and digital. And how did the Warriors get me out of bed at 5 o’clock in the morning?

DJ: Welcome to the Sports Geek podcast. The podcast built for the sports digital marketer. And now here’s your host, working through rehab because he still fancies himself a dancer, Sean Callanan.

Sean: Thanks DJ Joel. My name is Sean Callanan from Sports Geek and this is another episode of the Sports Geek podcast. Thank you very much for downloading. On today’s episode we’re going to have a chat with a good friend of mine, Shane Harmon, who’s the CEO of Westpac Stadium, about some of the things he is looking to do in his new role there, around activating the stadium in Wellington, New Zealand. And also later we will look at Warriors live, a Google Hangout on Air where the Golden State Warriors invite their fans to watch practice, and there was a bit of a Google Hangout while it happened. I was lucky enough to be part of it. But first, here’s my chat with Shane Harmon, CEO of Westpac Stadium, on ABC Grandstand with Francis Leach.

Francis: Good day Sean.

Sean: Good day Francis, how are you doing?

Francis: Not too bad. Another interesting week. It was a #socceroos #ange.

Sean: Well #welcomeange and #farewellange.

Francis: The Twitter verse this week.

Sean: It was by the socceroos and pretty well received by most football fans.

Francis: Indeed it was and last night was a really nice to send him off. What’s been happening this week, you’ve been in touch with a guy who maybe has had a listen or two for some of our big sports conglomerates on how to stay in touch and be authentic with the fans.

Sean: Yeah, I guess he’s a social media expert and a wine entrepreneur. Gary Vanyerchuk who’s based out of New York I think and @garyvee with a couple of e’s at the end. He’s got over a million followers.

Francis: That’s a powerful platform.

Sean: It is a powerful platform. He’s well known for a book called Crush It. So he’s a bit of a social media antiroll as really motivating. I’ve been telling people how to use social to connect with their audience. He’s done it with his wine business and now he sort of teaches people in that space. He’s got a new book coming out called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, which is a bit of a metaphor for his method using social. And so I knew it was coming out, I keep an eye on what he’s doing. But on Twitter the other day I got a tweet from JJJRHBook. On Twitter it said: ‘Hope you’re crushing Melbourne SC ;)’.

Francis: So a very specific…

Sean: It was directed… It wasn’t a direct message, but it was a reply straight to me. Whether they identified me, used a tool like Cloud or…

Francis: Can you do that? Can you, if you’ve got somebody who’s a regular follower or may be directed…

Sean: You can. You can do it with the influences or targeting people who you think might be a good candidate for your product. So it was a little reaching out and so I just went… the idea was right. I knew about the book. I retweeted and said you’ve got to give Gary V some credit. He’s really reaching in and hustling to get that book out. And then, on top of that, I wasn’t expecting anything, Gary replied: ‘Thanks Sean. Good luck with it.’’ He replied with his million followers, so the lesson I take away from that from a sports point of view is to not forget that, Twitter especially is an engagement platform, it is a conversation platform. And that’s pretty much how Twitter pitches itself. They don’t pitch themselves as a social network anymore; they are saying they’re an engagement-conversation platform. So not to forget that that’s what the platform is for and the value of reaching out and connecting with those fans. So there is a lot of sports that see the follower amount and say, good we’re getting that reach and getting those phone numbers, and just becoming a broadcast platform. Because it is pretty hard to find a new Twitter account or a new initiative on Twitter if you’re not following that particular account really closely. So what advantages could a league or a team have by having something that reaches out to their fans. Whether it’s to say ‘thank you’, thanks’ for being a member’, or ‘we’d love to see you come to a game’, or ‘did you know we’ve got a special promotion coming up’. There’s a fine balance to becoming straight ads spam I guess, but something tactical, but making sure you are staying in that conversation it’s really important.

Francis: Indeed. You can have a lasting impact. It’s a level of authenticity with the fans, and that’s what really has a serious impact on their conviction for your team or whatever brand that you’re trying to sell on. And I guess that’s something that our next guest can tell us about because he had to build an entirely new tribe on Twitter for the Rugby World Cup which up to that point, two years ago, didn’t know how to engage social media.

Sean: Yes that was old school. I think we’ve got Shane Harmon on the line. Who’s now the CEO of Westpac Stadium in Wellington. But was also one of the guys behind all things social at the Rugby World Cup in 2011. Shane, are you there?

Shane: Good morning Sean.

Francis: How are you Shane? Welcome back to Grandstand Breakfast.

Shane: Good morning Francis how are you and Sean Callanan?

Francis: Two years ago the Rugby World Cup, when you took that on did the Rugby World Cup have any social media presence to speak of at all?

Shane: No. None whatsoever. It really was fairly early days in that space because we established those platforms in around 2008. So any team and leagues around the world were really only dipping their toes in the water at that stage.

Sean: And so sort of taking the similar scenario as Gary V. with his book there, you were reaching out to fans in a one on one basis to inform them of when the game is on, how to get tickets, and really to strengthen those ties with those fans so you could sell those tickets.

Shane: Yeah I think Sean we built probably the early, first… Facebook was the most important platform because it became our most significant marketing tool for international marketing. We didn’t have projects that were going to extend above the line campaign internationally, so Facebook became quickly important for us. We built up a Facebook page following of around 1.6 million, but 89% of those were outside of New Zealand which was extraordinary and it became… Facebook became the number two driver of traffic to our ticketing web site. So we absolutely used it as a business objective to sell tickets, but also to engage fans as well, multiple promotions. Twitter was a bit of a slow burner for us, but then it came to its own, particularly when we were facing issues along the way. And the biggest issue we faced, six months out to the tournament off course was the Christchurch earthquake and we had to move eight games out of Christchurch and really refund 26 million dollars of tickets and start again. We have a large number of fans from international markets who book flights, accommodation, etc. The first two days obviously a lot of empathy, but human nature after a few days comes back to how did this impact me, and we absolutely got involved in a conversation where there was misinformation, or people needed assistance. While we ran for sponsors for airlines and hotels we got involved there as well, and tried to help fans and connect them with the appropriate authorities to help them out. So it became a great medium to help fans, to correct misconceptions and misperceptions and really just to engage one on one.

Francis: And such a dynamic tool I guess as well because things were changing on the ground all of the time.

Shane: Absolutely. And I think Twitter has actually left Facebook for dead as a live engagement platform for major events and sports as far as I’m concerned and I think in the next Rugby World Cup I would hope you would see Twitter become a much more vibrant platform than it was even during 2011, because it’s really come on leaps and bounds. It’s such an open platform as well and I think one of the big disadvantages that Facebook has is that so many people have locked down their profiles, whereas Twitter’s such an open platform and it really helps with that engagement.

Francis: Can I just ask you, also Sean was talking about before, the power of personal touch… so if you would respond directly to an inquiry, how much validity does that give you with the customer, in terms of their sense that you actually care about their circumstance?

Shane: Look I think maybe a year or two years ago people were surprised if you responded to them. I think now it’s becoming more of an expectation and a norm. And when people tweet a corporate account or a sports account with a question or an issue, they are generally expecting to get a response now. So I don’t think is such a big deal or excitement any more for people to actually get a response. It is becoming the norm and people are using Twitter now as a means of extracting customer service. So it’s always nice if you’ve got a verified account, 700 000 or 1 million like Sean’s example early on of Gary V. and he’s a machine. He’s always responded to anything I ever said to him, but it is… a little bit of a buzz when somebody with that large of a following does take the time to respond to you.

Sean: So now in your new role at Westpac Stadium and what you’ve learned from the Rugby World Cup and that expectation of customer service that keeps rising all the time… What does that mean for your new role and what are you looking to do with Westpac Stadium?

Shane: I’ve been in for ten weeks Sean and the first thing I did on day one was to establish a Twitter account. There wasn’t one before and I got one up and running and verified. It’s got 600-700 followers at the moment, in a few weeks, which is great. I think what it allows us to do as a venue, because venues, a lot of venues don’t have a real strong personality like a team has. What Twitter allows us to do is to humanize the venue that many people will see as a facility, a building, but the heart and soul is going to be the team and the product that’s out there on the field. So I think what we’re doing is giving our stadium a personality. Stadiums are often soft targets; we got plenty of comments on the food and beverage selection, the performance of security, or the weather. You can get blamed for all kinds of things being a stadium. But opening up on Twitter and responding to these inquiries I think is a great way of actually giving the stadium some personality, that maybe it previously didn’t have.

Francis: And some connectivity too.

Shane: Absolutely.

Francis: Is it important? Because as you know from your restraint warnings, it’s one of the biggest stadiums here, it’s pretty hard to actually share your experience because the Wi-Fi platform just won’t allow all of the traffic.

Shane: Yeah we’re investigating that at the moment and I see that in a couple of stadiums here in Australia that have taken that leap like the SCG, I think it will be a domino effect. I think in ten years’ time a free Wi-Fi is going to have the same expectation amongst fans as tap water.

Francis: Free Wi-Fi in Australia instead of paying 27$ an hour at your local hotel when you check in.

Sean: The expectation is that Wi-Fi, access to Wi-Fi, will be as expected as bathrooms in stadiums in the future. I agree with what you were saying, the stadium point of view from a social, it lets you tell both the stadium story and tell the story behind, and the people behind it. But also allows you to tell the fans story as well.

Francis: Good on you Shane. Good to talk to you. Enjoy your Saturday there in beautiful Wellington.

Shane: Thanks very much.

Francis: Shane Harmon is the CEO of Westpac Stadium in Wellington and formally in charge of social media and the publicist for the Rugby World Cup there.

Sean: Give it a follow @WestpacStadium.

Francis: Off course it hosts the AFL, the same applies there, rugby most importantly, cricket, and also the Wellington Fenix, you started a big campaign there. Sean thanks for coming in. Remind people of where they can find you in the digital universe.

Sean: or look up Sports Geek in iTunes.

DJ: Sign up for Sports Geek news at

Sean: Thanks again to Shane Harmon for joining me on ABC Grandstand. I didn’t actually get a chance to talk about a big event that’s coming up for Westpac Stadium. So give Westpac Stadium a follow. They’ve got the World Cup Brazil qualifier coming up on the twentieth of November with the All Whites New Zealand football team taking on Mexico for a spot in Brazil. So it should be a big game and I look forward to seeing the Westpac Stadium crew handle it and I expect to see a few absolutely cracking tweets from a massive crowd, because I’m sure the New Zealand All White fans will get behind it. Up next, I had a chat with Harf on Harf Time on SEN about Warriors Live, Google Hangout that was hosted prior to the NBA season that took Warriors fans or any fans for that matter around the world into a Warriors practice, using Google Hangouts.

DJ: Sean Callanan our sports digital media guru for

Harf: We’re back again good afternoon. Good day Sean.

Sean: Good day Harf. How are you doing?

Harf: Very well mate. Very well indeed. Opening night of the NBA season, I’m sure you’re very excited.

Sean: Yes I am, I am. It’s good to have the NBA back. So the opening night tonight… but earlier, or on the weekend I was lucky to participate in what was called Warriors Live.

Harf: What’s Warrior Live?

Sean: So the Golden State Warriors hosted a Google Hangout and they provided live coverage from Warriors practice.

Harf: Video coverage?

Sean: Video coverage. And they had a few guests talking about the Warrior season coming up and always representing Andrew Bogut’s hometown of Melbourne. So I wanted to have a feeling of what the Aussie fans down under thought of the Warriors. Yeah so they ran it via Google Hangout. It was pretty cool, they had Festus Ezeli, second year center, who’s rehabbing an injured knee, was on the Google Hangout as well. So the fans were firing in questions. So they had Aaron who’s one of the sports broadcasters on it. They had Al who’s a comedian on the Daily Show. We were all firing questions and then just talking about the general game, and then we were all flicking and watching them have practice. They had a 3 point shootout. And then we saw Andrew Bogut take the rookies through their hazing and their ritual, so they gave him a few… I think it was a One Direction backpack, some pink beanies… So you can still check out, watch it. It’s eighty minutes long. I was talking about the Warriors season coming up and watching them run up and down the court and talk about the season in hand so, it just provides them; I guess another way of connecting with the fans. It was imbedded on, streaming live on YouTube and you can now watch the replay. So there’s potential for more teams to sort of use that as a platform to provide that closer access.

Harf: Well Wayne Elwood must have been involved in this or watching this. Wayne good afternoon.

Wayne: Good day Harf and Sean. Yes I did click on that link and watched it. I didn’t watch it live because I wasn’t up at 5 like Sean was, but that was amazing mate to see what they went through and what you guys did. Superstar Sean sits on the panel there, was fantastic and then Andrew Bogut at the end. I think it was a Hello Kitty backpack.

Sean: Yeah one was a Hello Kitty.

Wayne: It was something that… just straight ahead of everybody else for the fans to be able to check in and watch was amazing. It was really good.

Sean: And the thing it was… when it was live, if you were watching it live, you could peek in and say, ‘I don’t want to see the talking head I just want to watch the vision of the practice’, so you could click the, you select the view and say ‘I want to watch the vision of them doing a three man weaves and running post drills and stuff like that, but you were still having the chat up backwards and forwards.

Harf: Right, so they’re the only ones doing this, the Warriors?

Sean: There were a few doing it, but it was the first one to sort of do it live at a practice and sort of have their voiceover, they had their TV guy. So they’re hosting it. We were talking to Mark Jackson at the court, asking him about where the practice was going and stuff like that. So they’re really looking forward to the season at hand. So I pushed the case for the Warriors to make a trip and said we’re ready for the NBA game. Hopefully we get them here they were in China earlier this year as part of the promotion in Australia. Andrew Bogut’s out there pushing the barrier to say we’re going to have an NBA game down in Australia.

Harf: Well I heard the NBA calls to respond they’re looking into that market. Who knows what that means. But if you’re going to go to China you might as well come to Australia.

Sean: Well Australia is about the only market that hasn’t, and now we’ve got Matthew Dellavedova, Patty Mills, Aaron Banes, Andrew Bogut. We’ve got four guys playing in the NBA and we deserve a spot.

Harf: If you want to check out the Warriors live episode, 80 minutes of goodness, check out Thank you Sean.

Sean: No worries mate.

DJ: Need help with your content? Book in for a content brainstorming session with Sports Geek now. Go to

Sean: So I want to say thank you to the Warriors team, so Kev Ackers who I’ve caught up with at SEAT the last couple of years, and Kevin Coutu thanks for inviting me. And Kenny Lower from the Golden State Warriors. Thanks to guys from Google who helped get it all set up. So I’m hoping to catch up with Greg Wright who helped set it up for Google. I think the product itself, the Google Hangouts on air, the fact that you can start streaming it and embed it on a site, which is what the Warriors did; I think it’s a very effective YouTube product. I’m not sure it’s still going to get activated on Google +, but from my point of view it’s really nifty. There’s probably a better description than that; a really nifty YouTube product from a live streaming point of view. Some technical things that I saw from… just from my position as a panelist on it, they ran it as a private hangout, they didn’t let fans go in. So you didn’t have the problem of having to moderate or those kind of things. And they pretty much ran the hangout via two links into the hangouts. So they had one that was pretty much pointed at Festus who was at the Stadium at the practice facility as well, and then they had another one that was obviously connected to a vision switcher; the switch between showing Tim Roye the Warriors announcer and flicking between shots from practice. But there were obviously some technical hurdles they had to cover. If you had watched the video, there was some issue with the microphone and the ear piece that coach Mark Jackson had when we were trying to talk to him, but overall I think it was really important that they had Festus on there. If not it would just have been a panel of fans and journalists and those kind of things, then all the questions would have sort of floundered. So I think the fact that they were able to have a player on as well as effectively a host, I think it worked very well. So give it a watch. I think the live element really amps it up. The fact that you can pick and choose the camera angles you want to watch. I think probably if I had some feedback on how it ran, I think it could have been more of a smoother run down. It started quite well with Stephen Curry giving a bit of a tour of the practice facility. But then they sort of went into sort of a general practice. They promised a 3 point shootout, but it wasn’t really covered on the hangout itself. But you know the fans who were watching, and I was following it on Twitter while actually on the hangout, they really loved it. To get that kind of insight view of a team at training was pretty special for the fans. So I’m hoping to speak to a couple of the Warriors guys once the season is in full swing, and they can bring their heads up. Have a chat about how it went, what they’re expecting from the season at hand, and also hopefully talking to the Google guys about where they see Google Hangouts on Air being positioned. I think it’s a really unique property, it’s the only thing that Google + can really hang it’s hat on and it’s obviously partnership with YouTube. So I think it is something that sports should be definitely having a look at. As I said it was well worth getting up at 4.30 for the 5am start. And if you actually watch the video you can actually watch the sun rise, actually happening behind me while the practice is going on. So, it’s part of the problem of living on the other side of the world, but I’m more than happy to get up early for cool digital initiatives like that. A little thank you to Wayne in Elwood for calling up during my segment on Harf Time. Good to know people are clicking on my links and I completely agree that’s a great initiative by the Warriors there. Now, that clock is to remind me to continue my dedication of this episode. This is episode 23. You can get the show notes and all the links I talked about on the show at and really who couldn’t I dedicate this to, but the none other than Michael Jordan, the greatest basketballer that has ever lived. And that’s coming from a Detroit Pistons fan who had a fierce rivalry with Michael Jordan, but number 23 will always be Michael Jordan in my eyes. So that’s it for the show. Sounds of the game is just coming up now and it is actually a clue for the guest on episode 24 coming up (audio clip). So if you’re not familiar with English football that crowd noise, that sound of the game, was from Arsenal. Arsenal Football Club over in UK. I am very lucky to have Richard Clarke, content editor at the Arsenal Media Group, will be actually on the next podcast. Looking forward to that, so tune in. If you haven’t subscribed please do so and please tell your friends about the Sports Geek podcast and if you could leave a review that would be great. We are now starting to upload them all on Sound Cloud and we’re on player FM…. Speak to you soon. Cheers.

DJ: Please leave a review on iTunes. Go to Find all Sports Geek podcasts at Check out which teams work with Sports Geek at Thanks for listening to the Sports Geek podcast.

#WarriorsLive a Google Hangout at @warriors practice

Golden State Warriors hosted a live Google Hangout from their Practice facility on a Google+ Hangout.

I was invited to represent Andrew Bogut’s hometown Melbourne Australia and give the Hangout an international flavour. After visiting the Warriors in March and touring an empty practice facility it was good to see the players in action.

Warriors promoted #WarriorsLive on Facebook, Twitter and Google+

#WarriorsLive on Facebook

#WarriorsLive on Twitter

The guests on the #WarriorsLive Hangout were:





#WarriorsLive on Vine

The #WarriorsLive event ended with Andrew Bogut initiating the rookies…

#WarriorsLive Google+ and YouTube

The event was promoted on Golden State Warriors Google+ Page and all digital channels, you can watch the replay of the Google Hangout which was available immediately after the live hangout at includes a tour of the locker room with Steph Curry.

And on Google+

Thanks @Warriors

Thanks to Kevan Akers, Kenny Lauer and Kevin Cote from the Warriors for extending me the invitation it was worth getting up at 5am for.

Do you want the @NBA to bring the Warriors to Australia?

Let them know via Twitter

NBA’s @MNTimberwolves help fans #GETCLOSER

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

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

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

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

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

Behind the scenes access:

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

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

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

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

Timberwolves - Get Closer Fan Experience 1

Timberwolves - Get Closer Fan Experience 2

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



Event coverage was seen through Instagram:

Nikola Pekovic Free lunch @ Jimmy Johns

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

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

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

Sports Digital Olympics Update #1 – Opening Ceremony

Sports Digital Olympic news you may have missed

Day 1 – Opening Ceremony

Have brands already had a false start at the Olympics

Do you agree twitter will be the major social media channel during the Olympics?

Olympics have only just started and twitter has already caused an athlete to be banned

Tech companies set to shine during these Olympics

How much is too much to spend on social media during the games?

Who Are The Most Social Olympians?

Google Launches London Olympics Hub

Twitter Medals – Day 1

Bronze Medal – Evan Morgenstein

Evan reacts to his ranking in Dion’s post all in good fun!

Silver Medal – Beck Adlington

Gold Medal

#digifail Medal

Instagram Of The Day

Former teammates for Utah Jazz, NBA players Deron Williams & AK47 Andrei Kirilenko look like they should be in an 80s buddy comedy movie in official opening ceremony uniforms.

Source: via Sean on Pinterest


From Google+

London 2012 and The Olympic Games are sharing some great content on Google+.

Source: via Sean on Pinterest

Each day we’ll update you with best sports digital news, tweets & pictures from #London2012.
Send a tweet to me @amcal or @SportsGeekHQ if you see something we should add.
Sign up to Sports Geek News to stay in touch with the sports digital world.

How will we watch the Olympics?

How Will We Watch The Olympics?

Source: 2012 Olympics Survey by, your best source for deals and coupon codes.

Social Media Cheat Sheet

Are you on Pinterest? Pinterest is another network that is gaining momentum, that allows people to share great visuals via Pins & Boards.

Has an artsy & creative feel & there is some good photography sites drawing great traffic from Pinterst.

Sports Geek Tip: Always include strong visuals with all news articles, they can be pinned & draw fans back to your site. 

Follow Me on Pinterest

Here is one such find I pinned to my Infographics board.

Connected Real Madrid, LeBron & KD & Google+ Brandjacking

Welcome to another huge week of #BODSW. This week, we’re bringing you some great developments from Real Madrid, LeBron James, Kevin Durant (again), and much, much more. Without further ado, here is this week’s edition of #BODSW.

Real Madrid fans to be connected

We start in Spain at Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. The La Liga super club is set for a European first, as they plan to activate a new, high density Wi-Fi system in the stadium that fans can use while watching Real strut their stuff.

NBA Stars turn YouTube stars?

Over to the United States now, with NBA superstars Kevin Durant and LeBron James utilising social media throughout the NBA lockout to stay engaged with fans and grow their personal brands. The duo have started a webcast entitled, “Striving for Greatness”, where the two work out together to improve their games for whenever the NBA gets past it’s labour dispute.

Stay tuned on LeBron James YouTube Channel for more episodes.

Twitter & journalism

Hitting social media now, with Poynter publishing a brilliant read about journalists, Twitter, and the professional dangers associated with retweeting. Definitely worth a read, even if just to pick up tips about Twitter etiquette.

Aussies web stats

If stats are your thing, check out the ABS’ latest work on internet activity in Australia, with some great numbers coming out regarding the availability of broadband internet in Australia.

Google+ & Brandjacking

We look at Google+ next, with an article about fake pages, like the ones we see on Twitter, with TPM having published a story about a fake Google+ page for Bank of America, that has been set up and is trashing one of America’s largest companies.

Best on Ground

BOG this week is the giant video wall where people can try and match the speed of the New York City marathoners for 60 yards, just to see the amazing speeds that these professional marathoners can sustain for some 26.2 miles.  Do you think you can keep up with Ryan Hall?

Video of the Week

NFL linebackers are a special, violent breed of footballer. Not many are better at what they do that the Dallas Cowboys’ DeMarcus Ware. Check out the super slo-mo video of, “The Anatomy of a Sack”, brought to you by Red Bull.

#BODSW – Best of Digital Sports World compiled with the help of @Dion_Anthony

#YouTube140 – Google+ Brand pages

In this week’s #YouTube140 project we look at how sports teams are adapting to the roll out of Google+ Brand Pages.

Find us on Google Plus –
Please let us know if your sports team has joined Google Plus we are circling as many as we can.

How do you think Google+ will impact the sports digital & social media landscape?