Jeremy Lin Fan Appreciation Week Review

What has Social Media provided for athletes? For some it has assisted with their career and for others it’s had a detrimental effect. The positives and negatives all relate and impact on the athlete’s ‘Personal Branding’. The growth of social media has changed the way professional athletes develop their personal brand. This aspect of their career is exceptionally important as it affects their marketability, popularity and sponsorship/endorsement opportunities.

Catalyst Public Relations published a study which found that sports fans are 55% more likely to purchase a particular brand that their favourite athlete, whom they are following mentions it on Facebook or Twitter

Jeremy Lin, NBA point guard of the Houston Rockets is a prime example of an athlete who has effectively managed his brand since he shot to stardom after an impressive run of performances for the New York Knicks. In the mecca of basketball, New York City, Lin’s sudden rise won him thousands and thousands of fans worldwide and the ‘LINSANITY’ craze caught on.

During the NBA playoffs Jeremy Lin hosted ‘Fan Appreciation Week’ using different social media platforms, giving him the opportunity to give back to his fans that have supported him throughout his career. A simple gesture which goes a long way in maintaining and building his popularity.

Jeremy Lin - Fan Appreciation Week

Facebook Q&A

Monday started with the Facebook Q&A, which featured 18,424 Likes, 124 Shares and 5605 Comments. As Jeremy Lin is of Taiwanese descent he has a large following of fans around Asia. To capitalise on this he has an English and Chinese Facebook page which reaches both fan bases. Unfortunately Lin wasn’t able to respond to all comments, but seemed to answer as many as he could during the time.

The Q&A was a simple and effective way for Lin to reach and engage with his fans while giving his followers the opportunity to ask any question, within reason and be answered. Questions ranged from obscure ones like “Chuck Norris VS Liam Neeson in a fight ….. Who wins?” to “Funniest guy in the Rockets?

Jeremy Lin - Fan Appreciation Week - Day 1 Facebook Q&A

Rockets Artwork Contest

This was the first contest of the ‘Appreciation Week’, which involved Twitter. Followers were required to send in any Rockets artwork they had created with five followers chosen to win a signed ‘Linsanity Movie Poster’.

This contest also had a dual purpose. Not only did it promote fans to interact with Lin, it also created an avenue to promote the upcoming ‘Linsanity Movie’. We have also seen this occur in posts from Teams such as the Golden State Warriors, where they promoted sponsors while engaging and interacting with their fans, providing the ever present dual purpose of social media. As we can see from the graph below the @JLin7 handle was mentioned 941 times during the day two contest.

Jeremy Lin - Fan Appreciation Week - @JLin7 mentions

Instagram Impersonation Contest

Fan Appreciation Week Day 3: Rockets Impersonation Contest! Post (and tag @jlin7) a picture on instagram of you impersonating a Rockets player(s). Heres my sample of @jharden13 on the left and @chandler_parsons on the right. Be creative and winners announced tonight!

Let the impersonations begin! Day 3 featured a Rockets impersonation contest via Instagram.

SINA Weibo Q&A

Lin hosted another Q&A, this time on the Chinese micro blogging site SINA Weibo. It was evident that Lin made a major effort to maintain his global appeal especially in Asia. In 2012 Lin returned to Taiwan to participate and instruct a local youth basketball camp with the assistance of NBA player David Lee – making good on a promise he made earlier in the year.

Multiple Choice Quiz via Facebook

We are back on Facebook for the final day of ‘Appreciation Week’ and the fans have to answer a Multiple Choice Quiz and the first person to answer them all right wins a signed pair of shoes.

Jeremy Lin - Fan Appreciation Week - Day 5 - Facebook Quiz

While this post received 7518 Likes, 137 Shares and 629 Comments, it didn’t experience the same success as the Day 1 Q&A. Besides the dilemma of going through the comments to find the winners of the competition (Lin mentioned he got a headache looking through the submissions), the quiz format would only reach those who waited for the post, thus limiting it’s reach. When social media competitions prompt followers to be the first to answer or post you are neglecting your casual followers who aren’t constantly connected. Having a competition which allows followers to post a simple entry such as the Twitter art work and Instagram impersonation you are now allowing the majority of your followers to participate.

Looking over the events of ‘Appreciation Week’, Lin has proved how simple it is using social media to interact with his fans and in the process thank them for their support. The ‘LINSANITY’ craze may have been lighting in a bottle with Lin’s move to Houston but through the use of simple and effective competitions and the continual interaction on a regular basis, Lin has be able maintained his popularity globally. The great use of social media combined with regular visits and accommodating his Asian fan base has in turn increased his marketability and improved his chances of garnering endorsements.

Lin’s Volvo Commercial

Lin heads out for some ‘street-ball’ with David Lee

Athletes in many sports worldwide have a short career span. What social media has provided is another avenue off the field or court to develop an athlete’s brand. It has also allowed middle tier players in many leagues to increase their popularity with their personality and social media savvy competitions to increase their name recognition to heights only reserved for the superstars.

Have a read of the ‘Social Media Guidelines’ post, which outlines what athletes need to consider when posting to maintain a positive image.

What other athletes do you feel have done a great job in maintaining their personal brand through Social Media? We would love to hear your thoughts.

Lin takes part in #HerosHangout on Google+

Lin also recently took part in a Google Hangout as a part of the Veteran’s United channel, where he discussed life as an NBA player and conversed with military heroes from across the US.

SGP 008: Twitter Ads, #Origin, YouTube and #NBADraft [Fixed Podcast Link]

Sports Geek Podcast available on iTunes and Stitcher[Apologies for reissue, accidentally linked to Ep 7 and podcatchers picked it up before we realised, thanks to InAllAirness for letting us know, if you love old school NBA give them a listen]

In this week’s Sports Geek Podcast we have a good chat with Daniel Pinne from Melbourne Storm about using Twitter Ads as part of the advertising mix, look at NRL Origin series and discuss YouTube and where it fits in sports digital landscape.  We also catch up with Ed Wyatt on ABC Grandstand to discuss the NBA Draft from a TV and digital point of view.


More specifically, in this podcast you’ll find out about:

  • How Twitter Ads compare to Google and Facebook ads for Melbourne Storm
  • A look at Snappy TV used by Telstra during Origin
  • Why sponsors are best placed to ambush sports teams and events
  • How Melbourne Storm used a freakish Billy Slater video to develop awareness for membership
  • How YouTube nearly secured rights to
  • What the AFL can learn from NBA Draft
  • Why the NBA Draft is a perfect opportunity to engage fans for lottery teams

Thanks again for the feedback, very humbled to see Sports Geek Podcast listed at #3 on iTunes Management & Marketing page.

If you have a question for the podcast please leave it using Speakpipe plugin on the left of this page.

Melbourne Storm leading the way using Twitter AdsResources from the episode

Here is an example of a tweet using Snappy TV

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Podcast transcription

Sean: Welcome to Episode 8 of the Sports Geek Podcast. On today’s episode, we’ll talk to Melbourne Storm’s Daniel Pinne on Twitter Ads, #Origin, the relationship between sports and YouTube, and we take a look at the NBA draft with Ed Wyatt on ABC Grandstand.

DJ: Welcome to the Sports Geek podcast, the podcast built for the sports digital marketer. And now, here’s your host, who is now wearing only one custom Sports Geek Adidas, Sean Callanan.

Sean: Thanks, DJ Joel. My name is Sean Callanan from Sports Geek. Yes, very happy to be wearing the one custom Sports Geek Adidas, or adidas, as we say in Australia, DJ Joel. Looking forward to getting Version 3 of the Sports Geek shoes once the moon boot comes off in six or seven weeks. But I’m happy to be more mobile, and the fact that I can get down to my local cafe for a coffee has improved my life tremendously.

In today’s show, we’ll have a chat, a good long chat, with Daniel Pinne from the Melbourne Storm. As you know from previous episodes of the podcast, we have been working with Twitter ads for ticketing, so I thought it would be good to catch up with Dan to discuss how they are going, as well as a few more topics around the NRL and Origin.

Later in the show, I catch up with Ed Wyatt from ABC Grandstand, filling in for Francis this week, to discuss the NBA draft from a TV and digital coverage point of view.

But first, here’s Daniel Pinne from the Melbourne Storm.

Sean: Thank you very much, Dan. Dan Pinne from the Melbourne Storm is joining me here on the Sports Geek podcast to discuss all things sports digital around the Storm and talk about Twitter ads. We’ve been talking about Twitter ads the last couple of weeks on the podcast, so I thought I would get Dan in to have a chat about how they’re going, and we can also touch on things Origin. Two of the Origin games are out of the way, and Dan’s been looking at it from a Storm point of view.

So, welcome Dan.

Dan: Thanks, Sean. Thanks for having me.

Sean: No worries. So first of all, like the people who have been listening to the podcast about some of the stuff that we’ve been doing with Twitter ads in testing them out and seeing what they can offer from selling tickets for the Storm. In last week’s podcast, I talked about the two different types of ads that we have been running, one being the keyword base, so targeting fans who are using specific keywords, and then the other one is targeting fans who are following specific accounts.

We’ve been a little bit hamstrung because we don’t have the GA targeting in Australia as of yet, so we can only target Australia. We kind of target Melbourne, and obviously we’ve done some things that we don’t want to send a promoter tweet to people in Brisbane. They’re not going to be able to come to a Storm game.

How have you found the Twitter ad so far, and what kind of results have you seen comparing them to other ads you’ve done?

Dan: It’s definitely been a really big learning experience, Sean. It’s obviously news for a lot of different brands out there, and we’ve tried a number of different things around some games past and some games coming up, and it we spoke about the keyword targeting and the camps targeting.

I guess, like you said, one of the drawbacks is trying to find the balance of targeting people in Melbourne because we’re pushing tickets and push coming along to a game. So it’s a fine balance in asking that, but we’ve had some really good results out of it as far as the engagement.

Twitter obviously measured the cost per engagement – that’s the term they referred to – it’s comparable to our other digital advertising. We do Facebook advertising, Google remarketing and Google keyword targeting as well, and it’s definitely comparable. We’ve had a lot better results than the Facebook advertising that we have had, which has been really interesting, and it’s up there, if not a little bit better, than the Google keyword targeting that we’ve done. It’s definitely better than the Google remarketing as well. It’s been really interesting for us. It’s completely new.

But we’re trying some new things, and we’ve been really pleased with the results, definitely.

Sean: I guess, again, I spoke about it last week, one of the things we’ve been doing is doing these limited release, or limited only advertising only tweets that seem to be working quite well and allow you effectively to test different copy to find out what fans will click on.

Do you want to talk a little bit about just the strategy behind using those, and how you think they’ve gone?

Dan: We actually just tried it the other night with State of Origin 2. We ran some campaigns while the game was on, and we just used those hidden posts mainly trying to find out what people are engaged by. We tried a couple of different tweets around the game when obviously we’ve got some Storm players that were partaking in the game, so talking about their performance, and seeing the immediate impact of Twitter advertising worked really well because it’s all live and it’s all as you go.

You can actually be there in the back end of the Twitter advertising console and add a new tweet, remove another tweet, and it’s all immediate and it’s all real time. So if you see something breaking, then we’ll try that with any story that is more Melbourne based, and we can actually target those posts, and say, well, I’ll get the best thing with the keyword targeting, but people don’t know that we’re actually targeting various keywords around different stories. So it doesn’t actually show the user exactly what we’re targeting with those things, so we can really play around with it. The backend is really dynamic.

So yeah, we’ve done some good results, and that’s obviously not – the tweets we’ve put out, we try to be engaging as possible, and those hidden tweets probably aren’t as engaging.

As you’ve explained, Twitter charges you per engagement for also what’s within the tweet, so if you put a hashtag or you put a different user name, then you’ll actually pay when people click on those hashtags, or they’ll click on another user and they’ll follow them. So we came from those engagements. They’re really basic tweets just explaining, obviously, the game, and then just put a simple link there and pretty much provide it in the only option so it gets people to click on the link.

So they are exactly the same as the rest of the tweets that they’ll see from our normal account on a day-to-day basis, but because they’re so immediate, and obviously it relates to what’s happening in real time, that they’re getting some really good engagement, and we found that the other night during State of Origin.

Sean: Yeah, and I think the thing, before we move on to Origin, but the thing with the little Origin campaign that we did which was effectively one day, it does really show, one, how easy it is to burn through the cash from a Twitter budget point of view. I mean, it’s great you’re getting the people clicking through to your ticketing site and you’ve obviously got to track the actual ticketing sales on the other side of it, but it is very easy and very quick for people to be clicking on those ads and coming through.

So I don’t know if that’s related to the Storm because we haven’t got other things to compare it to, but we definitely can see that if you want to do a quick one-day campaign, it actually works a little bit better than trying to spread it over, you know, we wouldn’t even try to spread it over a week because those tweets are going to date pretty quickly.

Dan: Yeah, and with Twitter as we were setting up the pacing options we’re still testing at the moment. We’re not sure whether it might be actually affected by when you launch an actual campaign as well, so we’ve generally launched our set up campaigns towards the end of the afternoon. If we set a daily budget, Twitter actually grabs that budget and then tries to burn it up until midnight that night, so it resets at midnight every night Australian time.

As you said, that daily budget can quickly burn through that cash in the first few hours. But in saying that, it is effective for a short term campaign, such as a couple of hours around the Origin game that we ran the other night. So it worked really well.

Sean: So moving on to Origin, we had you on the podcast on halftime talking about Origin around Cam Smith’s milestone game in the Man Of Steel jersey. We’ve now had two Origin games. From a social point of view, and watching it from the Melbourne Storm account, how do you think the NRL have gone activating Origin from a social perspective?

Dan: It’s been obviously a huge improvement for the NRL, which is a credit to them. They’ve put in a lot of work to improve their digital presence, and as you would have seen from their account, they have their mission control of the last two Origin, and Origin being as big and productive as it is now, they’ve had some really good results from it. The guys up there have been doing a really good job.

So it’s been interesting from their point of view as far as what content they’re pushing out. I’m sure you can, relating back to that Twitter ad point of view, as I’m sure you’re going to talk about, the Origin hashtag, as we noticed the other night with the Twitter ads at Sportsbet, maybe we put some money behind it. So it’s interesting seeing the different brands compete during a really peak time for Twitter while Origin is on.

Sean: Well yeah, that was a bit of a concern for me. I actually thought that the NRL had promoted Origin. I thought it was a great idea. I actually did suggest to the guys at Twitter to, if they really want to solidify the Australian market, to put some Twitter dollars and some ad dollars behind some key hashtags, like #GoSocceroos when the Socceroos are playing, or the Wallabies when they’re playing, to stop the confusion and really get everyone to rally behind it. But yeah, it’s pretty obvious that sponsors are going to get on board and effectively hijack those type of hashtags.

We saw that Sportsbet guys do a really good job, and I’ll put a link in the show notes with their big ad underneath the flight path between Melbourne and Sydney with the hashtag #rootingforoz. Very much Australian humor, but they’ve got a lot of press for it and they’ve got a lot of outrage and a lot of news reports. But they went and bought the promoter train for the day, and if you clicked on the Origin, it would have sent you to Sportsbet.

It’s one of the dangers that I guess sports teams are going to have if they don’t keep control of their own hashtags and if they don’t get their sponsors onboard to promote their hashtags. It may be a case that many more sponsors will now just go and steal your hashtag effectively by using advertising, and that was a concern early on with Facebook ads where people could just say, I want to target Melbourne Storm fans or Origin fans, and I won’t bother becoming a sponsor because I can target them by Facebook ads.

So that’s a real concern. It makes the sports marketer’s job all that much harder. We had the case in Sportsbet, and in a sense, they actually did a good job in that they were at least promoting the hashtag that the league was going to do. I mean, if you’re going to do a promotion, it makes sense to be leveraging off that hash tag.

One of the ones we did see was actually with an NRL partner. It was quite strange to see, and I did send out a tweet. Telstra news, or @telstranews was the Twitter account. It was one of Telstra’s sub-Twitter accounts. It was actually promoting a Twitter battle, which again, would be great, except they were running with a different hashtag for Queenslander, and the NRL was pretty clear in sending out its, here’s the hashtags, guys. Origin is the hashtag, #uptheblues hashtag and #queenslander in its shortened form was the hashtag, and there was a little bit of Telstra news promoting the different hashtag.

Again, it just splinters the sports fans who are online and just makes more confusion around the hashtags. So I felt that was a bit of a silly move by Telstra, especially being a partner of the NRL. Now, they’re still trying to develop their fan base, because really, with a Telstra news account where you’re meant to get product updates, so it’s not really somewhere where you would expect to be getting Origin news. So it was a bit of a strange play on that sense.

You have seen potentially ambush marketing from a Twitter point of view, sometimes with the Storm. A lot of brands going and writing on your Facebook page and people jumping on tweets. How do you look at that as a guy running the digital at the Storm?

Dan: Yeah, I noticed that on Wednesday as well, the Telstra news promoted tweets. It was there, and we actually noticed it during the day when we sent out a tweet using PopTip just to see what the fans were voting on between New South Wales and Queensland, and in the PopTip options, we actually put both of the hashtags that we saw out there, the Queenslander in the short form, the QL there, and then obviously in the long form as well. The majority was the QL there, but it was interesting. The people were still using that long form hashtag, so it was just confusing a bit in the marketers’ world, which was disappointing I think from NRL’s perspective as well.

But I did keep an eye on the Telstra news account throughout the game as well…

Sean: Yeah, I don’t know if you caught that they were running with Snappy TV, which allows – I don’t know if you have seen it and you probably did catch it during the night, but they were effectively showing live clips as the digital rights holder for the NRL, and they hold the similar rights with the AFL. So it will be interesting to see if they continue that in the AFL space. But Snappy TV is something that the NBA has used with some of its partners.

It allows vision and replays quite quickly. It can be put up in a social sense. It’s using Twitter Cards, so if you click on the link form, you can see there’s the first Origin trial, that kind of thing. It makes for very compelling social content. But yeah, it was a little bit strange to see that coming off what I would see as a sub or secondary account for Telstra, when it would have been maybe better to run that kind of campaign, especially when you’ve got a social media command center, which I thought was a great set up.

I did take a few potshots on Twitter saying it was overkill, but I’m sure a lot of leagues would love to have that kind of setup around their major events and finals. But I thought it was just quite strange that that Snappy TV content wasn’t being pushed through the NRL channels. Now, it could have been branded by Telstra, and maybe it would have been good to actually put it out on the Telstra handle if you really want to showcase, you know, this is what we’re doing with the NRL.

It was a little bit off-Broadway for mine when you’re trying to do that kind of innovation, and again, they were using promoted tweets and Twitter ads to push those tweets out.

Dan: Yeah. So they’re obviously putting a bit of effort into it, Sean, using that Snappy TV and using promoted tweets. So yeah, I find it really interesting that it was coming from that Telstra news account and not from the official NRL account, which, like you said, had that mission control center and were doing a great job throughout the game as well.

Sean: But hopefully, at least, from the Australian landscape, and if you look at the States, there are many digital managers like yourself that get frustrated when there are restrictions around video. Video seems to be a very contentious point with both the TV rights holders and the video rights holders on what you can share and how much you can share, whether it be, you know, social is still the new frontier. It’s probably not in the half of the agreements that have been put together if they’re over a couple of years old. The big one in the landscape is YouTube, and that’s the one that’s constantly a battle.

I know it’s been a battle in the AFL and in the NRL of how much match footage can be put on YouTube. There are similar restrictions in the NBA, in the NFL. You’re very restricted because they’ve done that really big deal. They’ve taken the cash from Verizon, I think it is, rather than being able to free up their video.

But for mine, the more video content that you can put on a channel like YouTube, which still remains to be the number one video platform in the world, we’re not all jumping to watch 6 second videos and 15 second videos on Vine and Instagram. If you want to watch video, you’ll go to YouTube.

What’s your feeling of how you would like it if, you know, if I was your digital wish master from a video point of view, what would you like to see, you know, options for yourself with the Storm and access to online video and how your fans would like to consume it?

Dan: Oh, well, I’d love to start using Snappy TV for starters, Sean. That would be fantastic throughout the games. I thought that was really engaging. But yeah, look, it’s a huge issue for clubs at the moment and for the league as well in balancing what’s on the club website as opposed to what’s on YouTube. We are restricted across the league as far as what we put on YouTube at the moment, and it’s getting to the point now where we’ve got to stand up and really take notice of YouTube at the moment.

Until recently, the MLB have been staunch against YouTube for many years, and just recently they finally bit the bullet and started putting highlights on YouTube and really delved into it. That was really interesting from that aspect. We’ve seen some really good results from their YouTube channel.

That is hard for us on YouTube, because we can’t use match footage on YouTube at all, and we’re limited as to how much we can actually use on our own website as well. So we can only use a certain amount per video clip. But we can’t use any on YouTube, but we have seen some really good results from YouTube such as early this year, when we’re over at the World Club challenge in the UK, and Billy Slater and Cam Smith were on the sidelines just mucking around at the end of training one day and I happened to get the video camera out and Billy Slater kicked this amazing goal from the sideline, and I knew straight away it was going to be a really impressive video. People love Billy, they love to watch what he’s doing. He’s one of the most searched athletes in Australia and on Google, and also on YouTube as well.

So we took the approach, I also had to think about how we were going to push this video out to maximize its impact. And on, I think it was February 17th, we pushed it out onto our website. We were going to push it out there first and give it first rights and make sure people are coming through our website. And as predicted, it went absolutely gangbusters. I think in the first week , it had 6,080 views, I think, in that first week.

But what was really interesting, and one thing that YouTube does really well is that obviously with being Google’s partner and the virility of videos as well, and that a video can constantly – it actually extends its lifetime. So we saw that video on our website in that week go from 6,080 views to the next week actually go down to a simple 46 views in that whole week. So it was a staggering drop, and the lifetime of our videos is really short on our website.

So we gave the video on our website a good 24 to 48 hours worth of air time before we then put it onto YouTube. As predicted, again, on YouTube in the first day it posted over 2,000 views. But then what was really interesting and from then, and it’s still up there, and I just checked it before, it’s got I think just over 53,047 views since February of this year. And while there was this immediate impact at the start, it’s actually been maintained ever since then. So that video on our website, when we first uploaded it, I think it totaled just under 7,000 views in total since February, and on YouTube, it has just gone over 53,000.

So it’s an interesting case study in the comparison between putting video on YouTube and putting video on our website. We’d love to be able to put fashion footage on our website, but obviously yeah, there’s a balance there from the commercial aspect, and every digital manager not listed in the NRL but around the world has to compete with as well.

Sean: Yeah, I mean, if there’s fans listening and trying to figure out why can’t we put it up, it does come down to one of the key terms in sports is monetization as everyone tries to make money off what they’re trying to do, so it’s the ads that you can put on the videos on your club site, and the advertising obviously has around your site.

But there are other opportunities for monetization. Obviously putting club and sponsored branding inside your videos, having specific videos that are brand sponsored, you can put the top and tail and put your adverts embedded into the YouTube ads, and then the other option is obviously getting the ad revenue from the YouTube videos themselves. Depending on the deal that has been done by the leagues or the clubs, it will decide where that money goes. I think it’s the case in both Australian football codes and the AFL/NRL that that money, that monetization from the YouTube channel actually goes back to Telstra as the rights holder. They’ve paid the big bucks to get it, so they’ve got to try to recoup their costs in some way.

Just a bit of a backstory, and I know I have told you before, just a little bit of backstory on YouTube trying to get into sports, and we’re definitely seeing it more and more. But if we sort of go back to ancient history from a digital point of view, if we look at the NBA, and I got this story from some of my friends in the NBA, when the NBA was looking at its current – well, it’s not its current, it’s the deal before the last one when they first took out and they eventually ended up with TNT. But initially they did have some initial discussions with YouTube about YouTube and Google becoming partners with, with a vision that the video is the key platform. At the time, YouTube and Google weren’t ready. They just did not think that was the space they wanted to be in. They said, thanks, but no thanks. We don’t do sports. We don’t do sports websites. And in the end, the NBA did a deal with TNT and Turner, who were at that time a TV station. They weren’t primarily a sports website business, and TNT had done an absolutely amazing job of building out the NBA site, and then they’ve got some really great video options there as far as streaming and the work they’ve done with the game time app.

YouTube actually came back to the NBA, I think it was about eight months or two years later and said, yeah, we’re ready to talk, while the NBA was in the middle of a five-year deal. So it was a little bit too late, but that sort of pushed YouTube into what they did with the Twenty20, where they initially did live streaming of theTwenty20. We see they’re now really pushing hard into the sports space.

I actually had some initial discussions. We talked to YouTube to say, you know, they should be involved in discussions with the AFL and the NRL and use that as a platform to give them a platform to go back to the NBA and the NFLs of the world. They didn’t want to get involved at that level either.

But yeah, YouTube is still an amazing place to catch a video. And finding that balance both from a commercial point of view as well as delivering to the fan, because it’s pretty obvious just from those numbers, and while you were talking, I put in ‘Billy Slater Kick YouTube, and it was the third one on Google.

So it just shows you the options that you have, and then what you’ve got to be able to do is make sure you can leverage that. And you can do things like putting your own adverts that send people back to your site, whether it be a membership site or back to your website, you know, putting on annotations to videos that say, subscribe to our videos, come to our channel, check us out, or daisy chain that really popular video with another one.

We did something similar with the Perth Wildcats, who actually are allowed to put match footage on their YouTube channel because that’s their deal with the NBL, the national basketball league here in Australia. Their biggest video was when Nic Naitanui from the West Coast Seagulls was there at half time and decided to dunk over someone at the half time break, and so again, perfect video. Not often you know that a video is going to go viral, but occasionally you can pick it with a freakish goal by Billy Slater or a Nic Naitanui dunking over a water boy at a basketball game. Putting it up on YouTube and activating it as best as you can, can really make sure YouTube is a great channel.

I think it’s just a matter of time. If you look at the numbers from the ICC and the case study from YouTube, they pretty much said fans who watch – and this is one for the broadcasters as well, even the TV guys, fans who watched clips on YouTube watched more cricket overall, both the combination of YouTube and TV.

So the miss, and I completely believe that it’s a miss, of if we put our vision up on YouTube, they won’t come to our site and they won’t watch our games and they won’t buy our products, or they won’t buy our game pass because they can watch clips, I think products like NBA game pass, you know, the fact that the MLB, like you said, has loosened their rights on their video and put something on YouTube just proves that if you give fans a taste and wanting more, they’re going to want to upgrade themselves to a higher end product, and that might be a live match on your website, watching your games via mobile.

So I think gradually that’s loosening. I think the fact that you’re seeing Telstra, especially in your space with the NRL, is showing live footage in game, that would be a really interesting discussion to say, how did it go? Did people watch it? What if we gave those options to clubs, because we know we’ve got those super avid fans that will really consume that content. It might be just a matter of a Telstra pre roll or branding that tells the fans that it’s brought to you by the right partner. You might see that that wish may come true in the future.

Dan: Yeah, and we’re finding, obviously being a Melbourne club in a non-rugby league state, for us being on YouTube is as much about promoting our brand as anything else, and promoting our game, we’ve got some of the biggest superstars in the world, but unfortunately we can’t show them playing on the field. So other Melbourne people that might be on there watching NFL or another sport in there, and as [indiscernible 29:06] spoke about escalating them along that fan letter where they might just watch a clip on YouTube, but they might eventually buy a ticket or a membership down the track if they really get interested in the game.

So yeah, it’s going to be a really interesting space down the future, and see what happens with it.

Sean: Well, thank you very much for joining me today.

DJ: You’re listening to Sports Geek Podcast. Send us a tweet to @sportsgeek.

Sean: Thanks again to Dan for catching up. One thing we didn’t cover was the brand protection side of YouTube, which is another reason for sports to be, in my belief, to be uploading more content, as there’s many illegal uploads up on YouTube. Now, they do have the fingerprinting technology to help protect the rights of the rights holders, but one of the ways of doing that protection is actually making the fans go to your official channels. So it’s definitely a watchers space and still a developing market for sports digital managers as the rights and the agreements sort of catch up to one another.

The NBA draft was held this week, and one of the benefits of working from home as I recover from the Achilles surgery is having ESPN on in the background as I work away. Currently Jamie, Curtis and myself are looking at a bit of an NBA draft recap on what social media digital initiatives some of the NBA teams went with over the draft, so keep an eye out for that on

But this week I caught up with Ed Wyatt, who is filling in for Francis Leach on ABC Grandstand, to discuss the NBA draft and why it presents such a big opportunity for the NBA, but also the teams involved, and what the AFL could learn from it with its own AFL draft that it holds after each season.

Here’s Ed Wyatt on ABC Grandstand.

Ed: But now it’s time to do a little looking into the future. I use the present and also the future and talk to our old friend Sean Callanan, the Sports Geek. How are you, Sean?

Sean: I’m good. Thanks, Ed.

Ed: Other than your leg, your Achilles.

Sean: Yes, the Achilles. The Achilles is coming on well. I’m glad to be back in the studio. The crutches have served me well, so I’m a little bit more mobile. It’s starting to get back to normal.

Ed: It’s funny, if I say Sports Geek, I always have to force myself to say it because it has this kind of negative stereotype, and everything you’re doing is far from negative. It’s incredibly positive.

Sean: Well, actually, there was actually an article on the Internet where I ply my trade and someone actually compared geeks and nerds, and actually called Sports Geek an oxymoron. For a second there, I was offended. I said, what did you call me?

But, yeah, they are two diametrically opposed things, you know, the jock and the geek, but from a sports digital point of view, it’s the right fit for me and what I do, and what people are doing right now.

Ed: It’s very catchy, I must say, and I agree, there is that bit of an oxymoron thing that actually works really well.

The NBA draft was yesterday. We talked a little bit about it in here. We spoke with somebody in New Zealand about Steven Adams, the big Kiwi who was picked. From a digital standpoint, what sort of things did you see as this went on?

Sean: Yeah, well, I was watching it. Again, I think ESPN did a terrific job from a TV coverage point of view.

Ed: Yeah. They do.

Sean: And the fact that they’re starting to tell their story, they’re interviewing the players, they’ve got the prepared clips and stuff like that. From an individual team point of view, especially the lottery teams, the guys that have had a couple of months off, who have just gone through amazing playoffs, the NBA draft is a little bit strange compared to other leagues. There’s no break. There’s no, we’re craving for information. They’ve pretty much come straight off . . .

Ed: It’s a great point.

Sean: . . . a messy finals and then straight into the draft, but we’ve got all these lottery teams that have been planning activations and promotions and really building buzz around these new players coming in.

So the TV coverage provides a really good launching point where people are following along. There’s also trades, which makes the night more exciting, but they’ve got the people talking about the draft picks and that, but after your team has peaked, you’re like, I want more information, I want more information.

So it really plays into the hands of the teams that are getting those high picks. So the Cavs had the number one pick. The Suns were very active yesterday. The Portland Trail Blazers were doing stuff with their group city draft. The Timberwolves did their live stream. So most of the teams actually aren’t at the draft. They’ll have a representative that makes sure they get the player, they put a hat on him, they get some shots, they Instagram, those kinds of things.

But most of the activity is back at the team’s venue with either a fan event, so a few of the teams had fan events where they were getting season ticket holders to rally around, and obviously tying digital into that, and then the other thing is, how can we make some money?

So whether it’s – the Bobcats put a special season ticket offer straight after their number 4 pick, Cody Zeller, here’s a season ticket offer. Because again, they know that’s where the traffic goes. Once you’ve rated everything you can rate on ESPN and you find out that there’s no, in this case, Michael Jordan is not going to do a trade of some sort, and you go, well, what are they going to do? So you go to their source of information.

So the teams at different levels, the teams did different activations or set up their website in a different way. They all had some sort of draft central. You know, the Kings have it with sort of a live blog format sharing all their content. As I said, the Timberwolves had that live stream with the talking heads talking about everything happening, and they had trades going on, so if you wanted to get the Wolves’ point of view, that’s where you’d go.

Digital is almost nirvana to a certain degree for their teams because you get this immediate interaction with your fans, which you haven’t, especially ones not in the playoffs, you hadn’t had an opportunity to engage with them for a couple of months because everyone’s focus has been on the teams that are winning.

So it’s about that. It’s about building their engagement and getting them back into the season, getting season tickets, but then also explaining who these guys are.

Ed: Yeah, absolutely.

Sean: And starting that storytelling side of things. That is, to us, social. That’s what social provides really well. That’s what digital provides, and that should flow from the TV coverage.

I had some good discussions with people on Twitter yesterday comparing the NBA draft, which had three million people watch it yesterday, with the AFL draft, which is sort of like a baby giraffe over the last couple of years. It has sort of stumbled; sort of slightly walking and trying to find its way.

Ed: I’ll never forget when I first saw that. I was in disbelief. My eyes just like went, what are they doing?

Sean: Yeah. So we discussed the NFL draft, which has now become a three day event, and the first round is prime time. I think our lesson there is, yes, I understand the fact that from an AFL point of view, people don’t know the players, and they have as much exposure as the NCAA, so you don’t have that familiarity, but all the more reason to really bring in that storytelling element to say, Jeremy, Cameron, all these young kids that we’re just really finding out about, when their name is called out, you know, have some sort of package prepared that profiles them. Actually interview them. Have someone who actually knows who he is, or talk to a recruiter. That kind of thing.

So then you can walk away, because from a club point of view, at this point when you’re getting your draft pick, whether the kid is going to play or not, and a lot of those guys who were interviewed last night wearing their hats, and we did see the Wizard’s pick wearing the Google Glass.

Ed: Yeah, Oladipo.

Sean: Yes. I actually wanted to see if he was going to tap the side of these glasses as he shook hands with David Stern. I thought that would have been a top pick. I thought David Stern as well did a terrific job in his 30th draft playing the heel, pretty much, telling the crowd that boos are a form of encouragement and a sign of respect, and just giving it up.

Ed: How about the pause before he announced the number one pick? That was absolutely brilliant, because he knew that it was a surprise. It was Anthony Bennett, and no one had picked Anthony Bennett, so he did the old, with a number one pick, pause.

Sean: Yeah, exactly. He learned it best from Ryan Seacrest there, I think. You know, the American Idol is . . .

Ed: Very much so.

Sean: I thought the NBA did a really good job at the end of that first round when he did announce his last pick and they brought out Hakeem Olajuwon, which was David Stern’s first pick.

Ed: In that same suit.

Sean: And he’s wearing the same tuxedo, so I’m sure – I don’t think Charles Barkley or someone like that would be able to fit into the same suit they wore on draft night, but that was a nice touch by the NBA, and the fax that automatically went out when Adam Silver starting taking the picks, they started booing him just to continue the tradition.

Ed: Yes, it does. As far as that AFL draft, I think it’s interesting because as we see expansion, Greater Western Sydney, Gold Coast, these younger kids are more marketable than they were five years ago. They’re playing more, so you have to know who these people are.

I think five to ten years ago, I think it was more of like, you know, when there weren’t as many teams, you know, I mean, these Greater Western Sydney kids . . .

Sean: And definitely, I mean, we’re now in this fantasy football culture. It does cater for the die-hards, but then the die-hards will be going, oh, is this guy going to be worth $180 grand and a super coach, a dream team or whatever they play, and so they’re looking at that sense. But again, it’s also that club level.

Like, you know, I’m a Collingwood fan or you’re a Hawthorn fan or you’re seeing this young kid and you go, well, what’s he like? Who is going to be like? Will he play next year? You want to know that story. So the TV can tell some of that story, and they have the opportunity to do that better, but then it is the clubs that get to expand that story, whether they do it on the nod or going onwards. That’s where digital can offer it, because the general media and Grandstand will talk about five picks, the TV will talk about the top ten, and the papers will cover them all, but if you want to dig down and get that in depth, and your team is going to have six new guys, you want to see what the makeup is. That’s the opportunity that digital offers, because it’s effectively your niche. You’re catering for your fans.

So the NBA guys do it very well. We’re going to profile next week on what types of content worked well, so hand me Facebook posts to put out. That whole, did they use Instagram video? Did they use Vine video? Which one of those were they going with? Because social is great to get the buzz around, but then again, you want to drive people back to your website. You want to pull them back in to say, hey, sign up for this competition, or become a season ticket, or sign up for our interviews, that kind of thing, because then when November comes around, hopefully they start becoming a customer and not just someone who is double tapping a photo on Instagram and not attending a game.

Ed: I’m speaking with Sean Callanan with Sports Geek. We’re talking about the NBA draft, but a couple of things I noticed, how quickly highlights and things were up. As soon as the team picks somebody on Twitter, bang, there was a link from an SP nation or somewhere like that already with a YouTube highlight or something. And one thing the Blazers did when they picked CJ McCollum, and before they even had any articles about him, there were like 15 pictures of him in action. I think that was the Oregon live side, actually. It wasn’t the Blazers’ side, but it was the local newspaper, which is fantastic. I mean, in the past, you know, all right, let’s wait five minutes while we tap out a story on CJ McCollum. Bang, here’s ten photos of him playing.

Sean: And that’s the pressure of social media and breaking the news. The teams want to be in front of that as much as they can. They would have all done profiles of all the guys. They would have been given some sort of list, and we’re talking about a list of 15 guys, especially when a guy like Anthony Bennett goes one and everyone’s mock draft just go out the window, this guy is falling and guys rising up in the draft. So that’s just the way everything is now. They have to get something out.

So that’s where social does help. I click, there’s a photo, we’ve prepped it, it’s going out. Oh, stay tuned. We’re going to be up next. Then he’s going to be on the live chat or he’s going to be on a Google Hangout or whatever they were going to do to get a bit more information. But yeah, there is a lot of pressure. I know when I was hanging out with the Timberwolves guys in 2011 the pressure to get everything out and the long night that they put in, and then today it will be just as hectic because now all the draft picks actually do turn up.

Ed: Exactly. That’s the next stage.

Sean: The local press and all that kind of stuff.

Ed: Sean, we’ve got to move on. But it’s good to see you. Thanks for hobbling in.

Sean: No problems.

Ed: I really appreciate it. Sean Callanan, Sports Geek, with is here on ABC Grandstand breakfast.

DJ: Find all Sports Geek Podcasts at

Sean: That’s it for another Sports Geek podcast, Episode 8. You can catch the show notes at A big thank you for the iTunes reviews that have been coming in. Thank you Brian, Pat, Ben, Curtis, for the reviews on iTunes. You can simply go to to write a little review, give us some feedback. I know this episode has been a little bit longer, but hopefully you found the longer discussion with Dan of interest. But please let me know what kind of length and what kind of things you want on the podcast. This is built for you guys.

Also, just a reminder, if you didn’t catch Episode 4 of the podcast was actually made for TV and picked up by ABC News, so you can see it and view it with myself and George Rose on that if you go to

I’ve got some really good guests coming up. I reviewed my contacts over the last couple of weeks while I’ve been on the couch, and I’ve tagged over 60 people in the UK, US and Australia. So I’ve got plenty of people queued up to talk to in future podcasts. At the moment, still keeping it as a weekly podcast.

So finishing up, for the sounds of the game, please, if you’re at a game, please record some sound. This one I’ve dived back into the archive when I was at the Dallas Mavericks – Lakers game at the American Airlines Center on my first Sports Geek trip. I was lucky enough to be invited up to the suite by the emcee of the American Airlines Center, Brad Mayne, and I saw Dirk Nowitzki score his 20,000th NBA point, and this was the crowd’s reaction.

Until next week, my name is Sean Callanan from Sports Geek, and I will talk to you soon. Cheers.

DJ: Please leave a review on iTunes. Go to

Go to for more sports digital marketing resources.

Thanks for listening to the Sports Geek podcast.

Sponsor and Lottery Pick Activations at the #NBADraft

With the 2013 NBA Draft less than 48 hours away, here is a look at some of the interesting activations from teams ahead of the big night at the Barclays Centre, New York.

Pick 1 – Cleveland Cavaliers (#CavsDraft)

Draft coverage in American sports teams is always impressive. In preparation for the big night, the Cavs have put forward a sharp Draft page where fans can get all the relevant information they need to be informed and take part in the Draft festivities. The choice to showcase their recent high picks Kyrie Irving, Tristain Thompson, Dion Waiters, & Tyler Zeller is effective in getting people excited about the event as it focuses on the future of the team, rather than the current poor results. The Cavs’ Draft page serves as a great reference point for fans to help combat the wave of information that Immediately, fans can see the #CavsDraft hashtag, links to the team’s social media platforms and a list of the teams’s top four picks, while a countdown clock always adds to the occasion.

Cleveland Cavaliers Draft Homepage - Header

Fans can get even more involved with free tickets to the Cavaliers Draft Party, and Draft Sweepstakes which encourage fans to share photos on Twitter or Instagram with the #1 represented. Winning fans have the chance to see the Cavaliers’ Draft press conference in person.

Cleveland Cavaliers Sweepstakes

Pick 2 – Orlando Magic (#MagicDraft)

Pushing the slogan ‘Next Season Starts Now,’ the Magic have promoted their Draft Party via their website and social media. To encourage fans to RSVP to the event, the Magic were offering a 10% discount on food and beverage orders. They also saw a chance to promote season tickets for 2013-14 by incorporating merchandise signed by the team’s first draft pick. In the lead-up to the event, feature writer for the team John Denton, has been going back to see which players would end up where if each draft of the last ten years was redone.

Orlando Magic - Draft Party Info

Pick 5 – Phoenix Suns (#SunsDraft)

As has been done for other teams, writers for the Suns’ Draft page have undertaken mock drafts to try and give fans an idea of who to expect in the orange and purple next season. From there, prospective picks have been featured and profiled, and fans have the opportunity to tweet in to offer opinion and show support using the #SunsDraft hashtag, as well as browse galleries from previous drafts.

Phoenix Suns - Draft Prospects

Phoenix Suns - Social Stream & Galleries

Pick 9 – Minnesota Timberwolves (#WolvesDraft)

Minnesota Timberwolves Draft Day Coverage

In addition to featuring draft profiles, interviews and video of workout sessions, the T-Wolves will also host their own Draft party. For those unable to attend the Party in person, the team will again host Wolves Draft Live 2013 which has been a successful way of interacting with fans since it’s debut in 2010 (not forgetting 2011 when Sean was part of the coverage  (video) with Digital Cheer Squad, then Sports DP). According to the website:

Wolves Draft Live 2013, hosted by editor/writer Mark Remme and Timberwolves radio studio host John Focke, will feature an information-packed show focusing on the Wolves’ two first-round draft picks and providing a live look into the Wolves Draft Room throughout the night. Remme and Focke will answer questions from fans that are submitted via, Twitter (@MNTimberwolves) and Cover It Live. They will also welcome on media guests, show the top videos from the 2012-13 season and get fan react ion to the draft picks from those attending the draft party.

Pick 10 – Portland Trailblazers (#RipCityDraft)

The Trailblazers’ 2013 Draft coverage is nothing short of impressive. On top of hosting an array of draft-related articles, photos and videos for fan consumption, the team are breaking down Draft stats big time. Using 61 mock drafts from around the web, Portland have complied a consensus list of who is mostly likely to go at picks #1, #2, #3 and the all important #10, according to the wider NBA community. A heat map shows where Trailblazer fans are physically tweeting about the #RipCityDraft on Twitter, while a fans are also being asked that age-old draft question: Should we trade a top ten pick?

Portland Trailblazers - Mock Draft ConsensusPortland Trailblazers - #RipCity Draft MapPortland Trailblazers - Draft Poll   

So there you have it – some great ways that teams and sponsors can get active and get involved in Draft day coverage!

NBA Conference Finals Social Media Wrap

And then there were two.

With the Miami Heat’s game seven win over the Indiana Pacers, the 2013 NBA Finalists are now decided after the San Antonio Spurs swept the Memphis Grizzlies 4-0 in the Western Conference. In what promises to be an intriguing series, Sports Geek takes a look back at how the the four conference finalists utilised their social media platforms to interact with fans and sponsors during the East & West finals.


The Heat have consistently used their Facebook page to post PicQuotes containing encouraging quotes from players and coaching staff that are designed to get fans excited for upcoming games. For the series against Indiana, these posts have received over 300,000 likes and 26,000 shares to date. Interestingly, the like & share figures for each new post rose as the series progressed; illustrating that the deeper the series wore on, the more passionate fans were in keeping in touch with their team.

FB - Game One PicQuote

Prior to the opening game of the series, the Pacers utilised their Facebook cover photo to promote their ‘Beat the Heat’ wallpapers, headers and backgrounds that fans could download from, and use on their own social media platforms:

Indiana Pacers - BeatTheHeat Facebook Cover

The Spurs began their series by posting a huge infographic which compared the team’s success to past and present opponents and highlighted some great statistics, including Tim Duncan’s tie for 2nd with the great Wilt Chamberlain in playoff double-doubles. Infographics are a great way to display facts and figures in an easy to read format and are effective when it comes to reach. For the full infographic, click on the image below, or here:

Spurs Infographic - Western Conference Finals History

The majority of posts on the Spurs timeline were focused on directing fans to the team’s website. Simply adding a link to the end of posts and images descriptions is a great way to direct fans to a richer source of content and information such as in-depth previews and reviews of games.

Unlike the Spurs, the Grizzlies interestingly chose to live-post score updates during games. Their account was also used to promote pre-game events and cover the transformation of Fedex Forum Plaza. One of our favourite posts came from television anchor Valerie Calhoun who posted an update on some of the new menu selections available to fans at Grizzlies home games:

Grizzlies Home-Court Menu Update


In addition to providing fans with live score and stat updates throughout games and live-tweet press conferences, teams used Twitter to push specific hashtags to get fans involved in the online conversation. According to social media analytics website, #LETSGOHEAT was used over 140,000 times on Twitter during the Western Conference finals series, peaking during the team’s win in game seven with 40,000 uses.

Despite a significantly smaller online following than their Eastern Conference rivals (1.36 million followers vs 198,000), the Pacers more than held their own when it came to Twitter engagement, with the assonant #BeatTheHeat hashtag registering around 60,000 uses during the series, which went a long way in keeping fans engaged in relevant online conversation:

#BeatTheHeat usage during the NBA Eastern Conference Finals

The Heat also used their account (along with Instagram) to drive their White Hot Hoop contests, which required fans to tweet in photos from a specific location using the #WhiteHotHoop hashtag to go into the draw to win 25,000 American Airline miles – a great example of a popular sponsor activation:

Miami Heat using Twitter & Instagram for Sponser Activation

San Antonio encouraged their fans to tweet in photos using specific hashtags to share fan-produced content. These were then collated via the Social Wall which provided a great hub of interaction:

#SpursSocialWall on Instagram

Throughout the Western Conference finals the Grizzlies’ Twitter account provided pre-game coverage of fan events at home games, along with promoting sponsors such as Ashley Home Store, which supplied limited edition ‘Believe Memphis’ shirts and supported the Super Fan giveaway. Memphis City Mayor AC Wharton Jr even got in on the action:

Twitter has also come in handy when establishing individual fan relationships as forward Quincey Poindexter found out when he was able to land a date with Miss Tennessee, Chandler Lawson.


Instagram continues to be a leader in offering fans a behind the scenes look at the inner workings of sports teams. Prior to the opening match-up of the series, Heat fans were given a glimpse at the #WhiteHot t-shirts that would be on offer when ticket-holders found their seats before Game One:

Insta - Heat T-shirts

The tables quickly turned when Indiana had the home-court. Prior to Game Four, the team’s account posted this amazing shot of over 18,000 seats draped in Gold t-shirts to drive home advantage as a part of their #GoldOut strategy:

Indiana Pacers show off their #GoldOut campaign via Instagram

YouTube & Vine

The Heat and Spurs are consistently active when it comes to sharing content on Vine, dishing up many of the team’s behind the scenes pre- and post-match activity.

One of the best posts came in the lead-up to Game Seven, with this LeBron James dunk in the warm-up:

Despite being still fairly new to Vine as a medium, the Pacers have managed to do a reasonable job in offering their fans a glimpse into the team’s inner workings; posting pre-game warm ups, team announcements and giving fans who couldn’t attend the game a great insight into feel and atmosphere at ground level:

Unfortunately, the Grizzlies don’t seem to have a Vine account.

In contrast, while each of the conference finalists possess an official YouTube account, there doesn’t seem to be any consistency when it comes to the frequency of uploads. That’s not to say that NBA teams aren’t concerned with fan and community engagement. Rather, teams seem to be favouring platforms such as Twitter, Instagram & Vine, that make it easier for fans to access and get involved in the action. It’s something we’ll be keeping an eye on.

So there you have it, some great examples of effective ways in which major sports teams can best interact and utilise their online fan bases.

Case Study: Golden State Warriors – Playoff Ticket Scavenger Hunt

GSW Scavenger Hunt

This year was Golden State’s first time in the playoffs since their incredible run in 2006-07.  The years between appearances resulted in placing of 3rd and 4th in their division and missing the playoffs.  Sean was lucky enough to be in town just as they clinched for the 2013 playoffs.  Their absence over the past couple of years has elevated fan excitement and the Golden State Warriors have used this to their advantage and have taken to Social Media to interact and engage with their fans through an exciting competition.

The Playoff Ticket Scavenger Hunt is a contest which the Warriors ran giving away a range of prizes in the ten days leading up to their first home playoff game.  The contest revolves around all social media and digital platforms for the Warriors including: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Mobile App, Insider email, Insider mobile and Youtube.  Each day there would be clues and challenges published on one of these platforms, which required you to respond to win.

Having a contest which incorporates all digital platforms has given the Warriors an opportunity to develop and improve their reach with their fans. If fans wanted to increase their chances of winning, the best opportunity is to sign up or follow all of the Warriors 8 digital platforms so they don’t miss out on the clues or challenges posted. This in turn possesses as an incredible opportunity for the Warriors to develop their fan base in a digital sense, but more importantly allows the organisation to interact and engage with followers in the future.

Let’s now look at how the Golden State Warriors used their Social Media platforms for the Playoff Scavenger Hunt.

Day 1: Engaging Facebook Fan Base

The Warriors started the scavenger hunt contest with Facebook, which has the most amount of followers at 458,384. Starting with their most popular platform is a great way in informing their largest base of followers of the competitions commencement. It also allows for Facebook users to become aware of other social media platforms the Warriors use regularly throughout the season.

The day 1 challenge started off with an easy assignment for followers which required them to ‘LIKE & SHARE’ the below post. Winners were chosen at random and announced the following day. The post received 6,983 likes and 6,815 shares.


Day 2: Driving a Twitter frenzy

Following Facebook the @Warriors took to Twitter, their second largest following at 219,348, for the hardest challenge in the competition. The Warriors did warn that this challenge was ‘Extra Challenging’ in their first tweet. The challenge required followers to find a clue within their ‘Gameday Photo Galleries’ from the season.

Golden St. Warriors  warriors  on Twitter

Followers on Facebook who don’t have twitter received a clue via a photo post of Stephen Curry wearing a ‘@warriors – #letsgowarriors’ t-shirt. The picture also featured the twitter logo over the top of the Warriors logo. For followers on Facebook who don’t know what twitter was, hand no idea what the clue was, as comments of “blue jays carrying them over the bridge” and “a mocking jay?” featured throughout the comments section. Other fans where nice enough to direct those lost to twitter to follow the challenges instructions.

This is where the challenge gets tricky. There are 24 galleries per page and 17 pages of gallery photos since the start of the season with numerous amounts photos in each gallery, I guess the Warriors really wanted fans to work for their tickets. I have to be honest I didn’t manage to find the clue through the galleries as I gave up after close to an hour of searching, as did many others who didn’t have time to search.

Day 3: Driving Fans to Mobile App

Mobile App Clue

Day 4: Everyone loves Bobbleheads

The day 4 challenge was for Oakland residents to head down to a specific Lucky Supermarket and find a Klay Thompson bobble head. Once found you were required to take a photo with the bobble head and post it on Twitter or Instagram with the #FoundKlay hash tag.

This is a simple challenge which incorporated Lucky Supermarkets, who are the official grocery store sponsor of the Warriors and the Oakland Raiders. A great way of using sponsors in the social media competition to increase brand awareness for the grocery store.

Day 5: Show some love on Instagram

Instagram was the sole target of the day 5 challenge via their account @officialwarriors. The challenged prompted fans to be as creative as they can while impersonating player Kent Bazemore’s famous three point celebration named ‘Bazemoring’. The photo had to be tagged with #bazemoring hash tag for winners to be picked. Entries featured poses on top of cars, outside Oracle stadium and where ever the opportunity presented itself for fans.

#bazemoring Favourites

Kent Bazemore is known as the NBA’s number 1 towel-waver and bench hype machine, who continually displays his game long energy celebrating player’s shots. This signature move of celebrating 3’s was used by the Warriors as a Facebook check in competition for fans at a home playoff game to receive a 3 point foam finger, drawing on the ‘Bazemoring’ and ‘Splash Brothers’ hype. This is another impressive opportunity which the Warriors have used to their advantage to engage and interact with their fans. The Winner of the challenge was announced on Twitter and can been seen below

Day 6: Mobile promotion using SMS

Day 7: #DubNation pins down Pinterest

The Warriors Pinterest page has the least amount of followers out of all social media avenues used for the Warriors. As a result the scavenger hunt competition stands as a great way of promoting and increasing followers. The challenge was for users to create a ‘board’ labelled ‘#DubNation’ and required you to post 20 things that creatively display your Golden State Warriors pride.

As Pinterest is continually growing and relatively new to sports teams, the ways in which teams interact and engage with fans and supporters is different. Pinterest has a large female following and the inclusion of this platform in the scavenger competition is an excellent way for the Warriors to reach their female fans and supporters.  Check out our Sports on Pinterest board.

Pinterest Pin board #DubNation

Day 8: Share and Like the team you love on Facebook

We are back on Facebook with the 8th challenge looking at fans relieving their favourite moments from the season. To officially enter the challenge followers needed to again LIKE & SHARE the post and provide a comment on their favourite moment.

An easy challenge to complete which provides an opportunity for fans to talk about the amazing season the Warriors are having so far and continues the hype and excitement leading into game two of their round 1 matchup against the Denver Nuggets.

I thought i should also provide my favourite moment of the season. I feel sorry for the rookies . . . . .

Day 9: Crowdsourcing fan video on YouTube

The final day of the Scavenger Hunt continued on from the favourite moments challenge from day 8 and fans needed to get the camera out for YouTube. An extra two tickets were up for grabs and fans needed to film a 30sec clip of a re-enactment of their favourite play, people #Bazemoring, the Landry flex, putting up some 3-point goggles or wearing some Warriors merchandise.

Final Challenge

This challenge was promoting their YouTube channel and needed fans to submit their videos via the Warrior’s website. Riding their playoff excitement fans really produced some impressive videos in the short time they had. Below are two of my personal favourites

Day 10: Integrating Adidas with Twitter and Instagram

The Warriors weren’t done yet and threw in a BONUS day, giving away a Harrison Barnes jersey. The final challenge used Instagram and Twitter once again getting fans to take a photo of themselves with a mannequin wearing the jersey at the Adidas store in San Francisco. Once again we see an opportunity for a sponsor to be involved in the competition.

Bonus Challenge

Final notes

In summary most of the challenges were fairly easy to follow and complete, the only challenge which maybe and should have been altered was the day 2 challenge. This could of been improved with the inclusion of a clue indicating which date the gallery clue might be from. This could have saved a lot of time for followers and been more engaging and positive, as many people commented that they had given up as it was too hard.

The challenges throughout the scavenger hunt were fair as most challenges were not a race. This made each challenge available to all fans and supporters as everyone who entered had an equal chance of winning. The majority of the challenges were different as some involved appearing at stores and then using Instagram to the basic sharing and liking posts on facebook.

Using their most popular social media platforms as the primarily avenues to inform followers of clues and challenges was a great way of promoting other developing platforms such as Pinterest and their Mobile app. Drawing on key moments through the year such as the #Bazemoring poses, continually keep fans excited leading into the playoffs.

The only question which remains is, how active will these users be if they have only signed up to win playoff tickets, will they be influencers in the future?

What did you think?  Let me know in the comments.

"First of all, great post Curtis I like how you followed the promotion from the fan's point of view.  Great job by Kevin Cote as his team at the Warriors for executing a campaign like this to engage in midst of a exciting (and very busy) playoff run."
Sean Callanan, @SportsGeek

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

#SportsGeekTrip Recap – San Francisco, Portland, San Diego, Los Angeles

Sports Geek Trip V4 - San Francisco, Portland, San Diego, LAOn Tuesday, I was able to recap on of my most successful #SportsGeekTrips, this marks the fourth trip to the US to connect with and catch up with sports teams and tech companies to learn more about what sports digital strategies are leading the way.

Here is a recording of the GoToMeeting I held with Sports Geek clients from Australia and New Zealand who tuned in to hear how it went after following the #SportsGeekTrip hashtag on my travels.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the recap in the comments and please fire any follow up questions in the comments below.

Want to watch a specific segment?
(Twitter 2:30, Tint 7:30, Pinterest 11:40, Golden State Warriors 16:15, 22:00, Oakland A’s 26:10, Chirpify 30:00, Ticketnet 34:00, Portland Trailblazers 37:30, Social Media Marketing World 13 – #SMMW13 42:00,Jay Baer 45:15, Pat Flynn 49:00, Brian Carter 50:30,LA Galaxy 53:00)

Want to skip through the presentation first?
Slides are also available on the Sports Geek SlideShare channel.

Sports Geek Trip – The tech side

Sports Geek Trip – The Sports side

  • Golden State Warriors
  • Oakland Athletics
  • Portland Trailblazers
  • Los Angeles Galaxy

Some Sports Geek Trip snaps

Would you be interested in joining me on next #SportsGeekTrip?

Stay tuned to find our when and where, make sure you’re subscribed to Sports Geek News.

Social Media gives us a glimpse into the heart and mind of Kobe Bryant


“What’s the purpose of social media if I won’t bring it to you Real No Image” - Kobe Bryant

As the regular season of the NBA comes to an end and the excitement of playoff basketball begins, there seems to be a familiar figure missing. Five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant will be watching, posting and tweeting from the sidelines while he recovers from Achilles tendon surgery.

Since the injury occurred against the Golden State Warriors, fans have been given a glimpse into the heart, mind and brand of an athlete who has over the course of his career, earned world wide status as one of the most recognised athletes in sport. Bryant has increased his online presence dramatically of late, and has proved an intriguing addition on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for Lakers and NBA fans alike.


Bryant joined Twitter on January 4th, announcing the ‘Antisocial has become Social #mambatweets.’ Yet given how forthcoming he has been via this platform, you could be forgiven for feeling confused by his ‘antisocial’ self-assessment. His tweeting habits have included words of encouragement to team mates, recognition of opponent’s performances and insight into his daily activities and rehabilitation. Bryant is honest and engaging on Twitter, and has a clear handle on hash tag use; first describing himself as a fine red aging #VINO, then incorporating #countonkobe in his tweets to illustrate, despite his setback, he was as competitive as ever:

That Facebook Post…

Following the Golden State game, but prior to receiving any MRI scans to diagnose the severity of the injury, a sleep deprived and frustrated Kobe took to Facebook at 3:30am to vent his thoughts:


This was a very emotional and raw ‘status update’, which gave fans and supporters a rare view into his thoughts at a time in which he was vulnerable and questioning the longevity of his career. Kobe’s desire to succeed and his forever present determination was also on display as he vowed to return, but not before affirming that for now he was to assume the role of the aforementioned ‘Coach Vino’.

Reading it over again, you can’t help feel the emotional outpouring in what was a genuinely heart-felt update. This is what social media platforms offer, an avenue for users to share their thoughts and feelings to their friends and followers. Sporting organisations and players are using these avenues more effectively to further develop their brand, as the many platforms allows them to have a ‘personality’ which fans, customers and clients can relate to and connect with.

Kobe on Instagram: 14 posts, 650,000+ followers & 1 person followed

Kobe’s all-star status as one of the greatest athletes on social media grew even more the following day as he started an Instagram account. His first post came as he was getting his MRI, followed by a shot of him getting ready for surgery. Kobe continued with his love of hashtags using #highasakite and #mambaout to humorously convey his pre-surgery thoughts:

MRI time!

Surgery prep time. Lookin like Mrs Doubtfire with a jerri curl cap lol Anesthesia next #highasakite #mambaout

Bryant’s personality is consistent through all his accounts. He is honest and likes to speak his mind, has fun with his hashtags and doesn’t shy away from showing his disappointment. This glimpse into the heart and mind in turn elevates Kobe Bryant as a brand.

Bryant has turned a tough time in his life into a positive and is taking us on the emotional ride with him. He has also done an incredible job in presenting himself professionally, which could not be said for other athletes (case in point, NRL Josh Dugan). As a result of opening the doors into his life, people can now relate to the Kobe brand on a personal level. They have seen the hardship and now understand what makes the superstar tick; solidifying the ideas of the #KOBESYSTEM and he will ‘Dominate Achilles’

YES! Dominate the boot. Dominate tendons. Dominate the cast. Dominate rehab. Dominate dominating demure dominants domination. Wtf u ask?!? "Your Welcome" #dominatehashtags

I’ll be following Kobe’s #mambaisms on Twitter and all his other social media activity and strongly advise you do too, as I am sure he will have a lot to tweet, post and share over the playoffs.

Breaking News: Kobe WILL NOT be tweeting during Playoff games

UPDATE: The unthinkable has happened. After receiving national attention during the ABC broadcast, Bryant announced that he wouldn’t be tweeting during games:

Upon hearing the news, the Los Angeles Times ran a poll to gauge fans’ reaction to the news. Six hours in, and it seems they want Kobe to keep live tweeting during games:

LA Times Poll

Fingers crossed he’ll still provide pre and post-game thoughts via his social media platforms; he may even decide to tweet during playoff matchups that don’t involve the Lakers, even if he still has a bit to learn when it comes to sharing images (and a sneak peek of the new Facebook timeline):

Kobe Phone screenshot of Facebook post of Tweet

But you’ve got to admire a man who has winning at the forefront of his mind and continually wants to do what’s best for his team.

Have a listen to the discussion Sean had with Harf on Harf Time about Kobe Bryant.

Download MP3

Subscribe to  or Sports Geek Podcast in iTunes.

Sports Social Media Rankings – April 2013

Sports Geek brings you a great way to stay in touch with Facebook and Twitter leaders for major sporting codes and teams from around the world.

Click on an image below to be directed to that code’s social media rankings page via


Collingwood and Essendon are dominating on Twitter and Facebook numbers, with 263,000+ and 260,000+ fans respectively, while the Crows, Lions and Eagles are also edging out their cross-town rivals when it comes to the social space.
AFL Social Media Rankings April 2013


While the Broncos are way out in front when it comes to their Facebook fan base, the reining premiers lead the way on Twitter with over 32,000 followers.

NRL Social Media Rankings April 2013

Big Bash

The Heat and Strikers possess a number’s lead on Facebook, but the battle for Twitter supremacy between the Melbourne and Sydney franchises is on!

Big Bash Social Media Rankings April 2013


The Victory and Sydney FC lead the way in the A-League, with the pair boasting online fan bases in excess of 107,500 and 83,900 respectively.

A-League Social Media Rankings April 2013


Clearly the two best teams on the court this season, the Breakers and Wildcats have also dominated the social space, each claiming over 27,000 Facebook fans and strong Twitter followings.

NBL Social Media Rankings April 2013

World Sports


As you’d expect, the Yankees are way out in front when it comes to online popularity, with over seven million fans. The next best are the Red Sox with four million and the Giants with a tick over two million.

MLB Social Media Rankings April 2013


Despite their up and down season, the Lakers still rule social media in the NBA with 16 million Facebook fans and over three million followers on Twitter. Chicago have the next strongest fan base on Facebook with 8.4 million, but only the Celtics, Heat and Magic can boast 1 million+ Twitter followers.

NBA Social Media Rankings April 2013



The Cowboys, Steelers and Patriots are the NFL leaders in the online space. Each have 500,000+ followers on Twitter, although Dallas has the edge on Facebook, with 5.3 million fans.
NFL Social Media Rankings April 2013



Boston, Pittsburgh, Chicago & Detroit lead the way on Facebook, with each boasting over a million fans. However, in a great sign for the NHL, over 2/3 of teams have 100,000+ Twitter followers and one in every three teams has over 200,000.

NHL Social Media Rankings April 2013


While Manchester United have twice as many Facebook fans as the next best supported team in Chelsea (32 million to 16 million), amazingly they’re still third on a global scale behind Spanish giants Real Madrid (37.1 million) and Barcelona (41.5 million).

EPL Social Media Rankings April 2013

Twitter Helps with Instant Marketing

Twitter has had the largest growth of any digital network globally as reported by GlobalWebIndexOne. They have experienced a growth of 40% in monthly worldwide active users from Q2 to Q4 in 2012.

Over the past couple of months we have seen businesses react with lightening speed in harnessing opportune moments in sports for their own benefit. Companies such as Oreo, Audi and Walgreens took to Twitter during the Superbowl power outage, while Under Armour created the #DeAndreDunkFace campaign on Instagram, following DeAndre Jordan’s earth-shattering alley-oop.

During the beginning of the third quarter with the Baltimore Ravens up 28-6 over the San Francisco 49er’s, the unimaginable occurred in the Superbowl, the lights went out. This delay was seen as an fitting time for brands to market themselves in a creative way through Twitter.

Oreo had an ad running during the Superbowl which was promoting their Instagram account, getting users to let them know which part of their famous cookie was their favourite.

But it was mission control with the brand team from Oreo and their agency, 360i, in a media type war room which stole the show, with their quick thinking Twitter post. The Oreo graphic (below) was “designed, captioned and approved within minutes” said Sarah Hofstetter, President of 360i.

The post was ‘retweeted’ and ‘favourited’ thousands of times within 15 minutes of it going up.

Audi, like Oreo had already aired an ad during the game, but decided to take on their competitor Mercedes-Benz. Now Mercedes-Benz, @MBUSA, is the naming rights holder for the Superdome, therefore Audi saw the opportunity to promote their unique LED lighting on their cars, by offering Mercedes-Benz some help.

Not to be outdone the supermarket giant Walgreens got in on the act with these two witty posts themselves.

These are just a few examples of companies which saw an opportunity to reach users on Twitter with their comical posts.

Another creative campaign which was aired last week via Instagram and Twitter was Under Armours “Show Me Your Dunk Face”. Under Armour saw an opportunity when their sponsored athlete DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers threw down one thunderous ally-opp dunk on Brandon Knight which was being labelled, ‘Dunk of the Year’ across the web. The video is below for your viewing pleasure.

This sparked Under Armour into action which created an Instagram contest, requiring fans to submit their best impersonation of the face DeAndre Jordan made at the end of the play walking back to the bench. A simple contest followed by the #DeAndreDunkFace hash tag.

De Andre Jordan Show Me Your Dunk Face

This has lead to Under Armour creating two limited edition graphic t-shirts to honour the ridiculous play encapsulaity the dunk and DeAndre Jordan’s face.

One of the limited edition t-shirts from Under Armour

One of the limited edition t-shirts from Under Armour

With the continual growth of active users on twitter and other digital platforms companies are able to become creative when attempting to engage with their audience. It also allows for instant communication and reach before the topic becomes saturated and losses its effectiveness. This means Sporting organisations need to be ready for any situation in which they deem or see could potentially become viral. It now comes down to how quickly they can turn around the production of the campaign as effectively as Oreo and Under Armour, but I am sure the examples given won’t be the last.

Let us know of a campaign which has impressed you within sports.