Digital is the face paint of a sports fan generation

My presentation at SEAT in Miami was supposed to be a showcase of sports digital case studies around the world as I meet with, work with and talk to sports business executives through my consulting work and podcast interviews.  As I pulled together the campaigns it become obvious that the sports fan is changing and digital is the driver.

Fans no longer need to paint their faces to show their support for their sports team.

Digital allows them to support them on whatever platform and manner that suits them all from the comfort of their home, mobile or for some at your stadium.

Each fan uses digital to fit their personality and how they use each platform.

Digital is the face paint of a sports fan generation

Here is my presentation from SEAT

This presentation was given at SEAT Conference in Miami on July 22nd.

Full eBook available to SEAT 2014 (#SEAT2014) attendees and subscribers to @SportsGeek News for a limited time.

Presentation given by Sean Callanan, eBook includes stats and quotes from campaigns explained in this presentation.

Teams include Tampa Bay Lightning, Portland Trail Blazers, AFL, UEFA, Adelaide Crows, NASCAR, Arsenal, Melbourne Storm, Golden State Warriors, NBA, St Louis Rams, Football Federation Australia, US Soccer, Detroit Red Wings, University of Miami, Mountain West, LA Kings, Houston Rockets, Hawthorn Hawks and Super Awesome Micro Project.

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Over 70 pages of case studies and examples for your next digital campaign.




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SEAT2014 Thanks to these people who helped with case studies and quotes for eBook

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Why audiences hate hard news— it’s all about cats – ICYMI – @SportsGeek News

In case you missed it – Reprint of Sports Geek News – Wednesday 25th June 2014

NBA Preseason appearing on Warriors LiveWhat @SportsGeek reads…..

What to look for in killer digital campaign

Why audiences hate hard news— it’s all about cats

The NBA’s Instagram team doesn’t need LeBron to score

San Francisco 49ers roll out reward program in lead up to new stadium launch

FIFA’s Chinese own goal

The key Twitter stats from #AUSNED

Facebook dominates #WorldCup chat

Dear Red Wings: Detroit’s Twitter account offers solid relationship advice

Don’t Let Your Website Rebuild End in Tears

Seven #WorldCup data takeaways so far

Infographic Friday: Most social sports on Twitter

Funny stuff again with Jimmy Kimmel with NBA stars reading out mean tweets

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SGP 051: Building a Digital Team

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

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On this podcast you’ll find out about:

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

Resources from the episode

What World Cup is like from the stands

This is where Sounds of the Game came from

Don’t miss SEAT 2014!

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

Register for #SEAT2014 now

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

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Podcast transcription

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

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

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

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

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

Harf: Half past eleven?

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

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

Sean: It is a bit of a struggle.

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

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

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

Sean: But you have watched the first game.

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

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

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

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

Harf: Yup.

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

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

Harf: Can you do that?

Sean: Of course you can do that.

Harf: Can you plan a tweet?

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

Harf: Is there really?

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

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

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

Harf: It’s like SMS.

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

Harf: And #Socceroos. Thank you Sean.

Sean: No worries Harf.

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

Sean: So the one thing that was missing in that interview with Harf, sort of previewing the soccer, and I’m no football expert, I’m anything, but was the content that was to come after that interview. So, what I’d done in chatting with the guys there earlier in the week, sort of reviewing that first game, and also really picking apart that interview from Tim Cahill. They pretty much do want to draw; part of their strategy is to draw fans to the new stars. We’re able to take that quote from that interview and really make it part of the content going forward. So the afternoon in preview mode before that match against Netherlands we made a Facebook video because we had really good success putting up a video before the first game. And it’s really interesting that just today Facebook news room released a post sort of really promoting the fact that they’re giving video, especially native video and they post these to YouTube, they’re really giving video a big bump, which is sort of what I was saying and what we had seen in seeing a lot of teams put up video. So, pretty much what we did from the Socceroos point of view. We created a short teaser video, if you will. And we really used those words of Tim Cahill. “You know, you have to show up”. So one, it was that content about everyone fired up before the game. And it also was used throughout the game in showing in images that we put up on Twitter and on Facebook to say “Who has shown up?” Who will step up to really take it from that next level? So I guess it sort of leads me into the question around scaling up the digital team and who you should get. It has been a real journey in this space. When I started Sports Geek there were a lot of people running what would be now Digital Departments as one man operations. So people were the web guy. They had titles like Web Master, those kinds of things. Whereas now we have got fully fledged digital teams and they’re really content businesses, much like my discussion with Richard Clarke at Arsenal. Their focus is producing content. So when people say “we’re looking for someone for our team”, it’s like “Well, what are you looking for? What need do you have and where are the gaps?” So as we’re sort of coming into both of the drafts in the NBA and the NHL and there’s always that, “Do you go for a certain skill need-based type of thing? Or do you go for the best skills available?” You sort of have the same conundrum when you’re looking to fill out your digital team. I guess the first thing that I would do is sort of break down what a team might look like. And then it’s a matter of how many you might have in that role for what you are trying to produce. So, some of the things that you would have now as standard, and again five years ago this was normally a one person team or a combination of the comms team and the IT department. But now they’re fully fledged digital media teams. So you’ll have writers, whether they be a beat writer or someone to write features, someone that can write the articles. We need content up on the website for people to read. Match reports, in depth interviews, those kinds of things, so journalistic background. And we’re seeing a lot of journalists moving from print and radio and other medium to move on to the club side of the business. Because it’s definitely a skill needed. Which leads to the other side of it, on air talent, so both for video and audio. So being able to hold a microphone, have interview skills, go backwards and forwards with players, with the players, the coaches, those kinds of things. Really important to have some media savviness about them. Then the other kind of things that you’re looking at. Video, as I just said. Video is getting bigger and bigger. All the numbers from across the board, from producing video, from a team point of view, are blowing up. Especially now that a lot of teams are making sure that their video is able to be played when they’re mobile. All the views are going up. So being able to have someone who can cut together some great video content is a must. But we all know that it is very time consuming. So it has been one of the jam bottleneck spots for digital teams. You know, wanting them to produce more video but those people are only having certain bandwidth. Then the other types of roles are obviously graphics, graphic producer. We’re seeing a real rise in style graphics, info graphics, those kind of things. As well as obviously they can provide resources internally to the marketing team and things like that. So it’s really important to have someone with those graphic skills. And the last one is social media content and community manager. And I really think that second part of that role is really important. Like the execution of social media, the tweeting and games, the posting of Facebook posts. That can be done with someone with a lower level skill like an entry level type person. But it’s the community management side that’s really important. And then the other side of it is how you go about executing that. How you do the tweets. How you cover the game. What kind of engagement you’re going to have with your fans. How are you going to talk to your fans? So that, the skill of the community management side of it and engaging a community is more, to me, more important than just the executing and the broadcasting on social. Now, can one person do all those roles? No. There is no super human, you know, sports geek injected type person to do that. But what you want to do is pick people that have the skills where you need the skills, where you need the resources in place. So might get a video person and they might be able to cover some of the social. What I like to do in working with teams is to make sure that there is a spread that. That everyone in your team is multi-talented, that your writers and your beat journalists and the guys doing all the match reports do see social and are tracking what’s happening on social. Because the listening side of things is terrific for one, content curation and creating articles from that content. What are the fans tweeting about? What are they posting on Instagram? That kind of thing. And also it gives you that feel and that pulse of the team. And the other thing is if all your team is involved in that social side of things, both personally but also looking at it from a professional point of view, it just gives your team a wider spread of people and content, pushing it out, but also puts more of human face behind the team. You’re always going to have the team account pushing out content. But it is good for the fans to know the people behind the scenes. So, there’re some of things if you are looking, one, if you’re looking for people keep that in mind. Have those roles to find. And if you’re looking to get in, you know, look at the gaps. Look at where teams are struggling. You know, I hear, I do get asked a lot, you know, “How can I break into sports? What should I try to be learning?” Obviously video is a big one. If you can cut video and you’re good at video it’s really important. But also work with the platforms that you’re going to work with. So if you’re going to be pitching for a social media role and those kinds of things you’ve got to use the platforms. And use the newer platforms that no one knows about. Play around with Tumblr and Snapchat and all of these, and Vine and all of these newer ones. Figure out how to use them on your own personal accounts because that will make it far easier to translate when you’re running a fully fledged team account. So that sort of leads, so there’s that part of it. Then the other part of it, I think, when you are looking for anyone in the sports base, is the creativeness. I think that’s really important. If you’re going to go pick someone that has similar types of skill I’ll always go with the creativeness, the enthusiasm, that kind of thing. But someone that’s always got ideas and always coming at it from different angles. Yes, I think I’ve said it previously, imitation is better than innovation. You can always copy other people. But where are they looking for it? Are they looking at the sports teams? And they’re looking at how music bands are doing it? Are they looking at how big brands are doing it? Are the watching the world cup and looking at how Nike and Adidas are battling it out and what sort of campaigns they are doing? What can you twist? What can you take into, bring into your team? So look at that creative person that comes up and says, “I want to do this video series on this” or “I want to do this photo shoot in this particular way and push it out to a certain platform like Tumblr” or doing something specific on Instagram. That stuff is, you know, stuff you have to keep encouraging. And if you have stuff that pushed those limits, your fans will love it. Which leads me to some of the stuff that I’ve been collating and putting together. Both my presentation and an eBook around killer digital campaigns around the world for SEAT. It’s pretty much a remix of what I did last year with Philippe Dore at NASCAR where we sort of looked at the digital campaign Trifecta of content, data, engagement. I put up a post on LinkedIn and I sort of dived into some of the things that I’ve been looking for. And I’ve put out the call out to some of the people who have been on the podcast. And I’m lucky enough to have 74 people who have been on the podcast so far. So they’re coming back with some great content, so the different areas that I’m looking for. I’m looking for video. I’m looking for how people are doing different video whether it’s feature series, behind the scenes, or even different ways of using it, anyone that’s doing long form articles. I really do feel they’re making a comeback. I think sites like Grantland; Bill Simmons’ Grantland.com has really given rise to that longer form, longer read. Media.com is another one that’s sort of encouraging people to read more. I’ve seen a few sports teams do that. Other things like Infographics. As I said, you’ve got the graphics people working it. Audio, as you know, I’m on podcast. I’m doing podcast. I’m loving podcasts. And I’m interested to see how teams are using it. We’ve heard how Arsenal used SoundCloud. But, you know, how are you using audio clips? How have you engaged your fans? Those kinds of things. So again, if you’ve got a campaign, I’ve had some great ones in from NASCAR. The LA Kings, check out the LA Kings site right now with the thank you messages coming in from all of the fans after their Stanley Cup win, those kinds of things. Some stuff from Chris Freet at University of Miami. That is some killer stuff. So I’m putting this eBook together. I really would love to be really profiling people who are listening to the podcast but who have been on the podcast obviously. But if you’ve got a killer campaign that you’ve done in the last 12 months. Or if you’re a fan of the team and your team has done a killer campaign, please send me a tweet. Sean@SportsGeekHQ.com, and just tell me what it is. Tell me what you loved about it. And I’ll follow it up and get some stats and behind the scenes stuff from the people involved. DJ Joel: Find all Sports Geek podcasts at SportsGeekHQ.com/SGP. Sean: Got a listener question. Alexandra sent an email by the Sports Geek mailbox. You can do that by SportsGeekHQ.com/contact or just send me an email Sean@SportsGeekHQ.com. Alexandra writes, first of all the subject. I love this subject, “Alexandra. Hashtag very over hashtag”. That was the subject. So, definitely caught my attention. And she’s asked me, “How much is a single tweet worth when a celebrity tweets it out to their x many followers? How much is it worth to a sponsor?” And to mine, I sort of go back into my IT days when people would ask me “How much is it going to cost to build something?” It depends on what they’re asking for from an IT point of view. But from a sports sponsorship it’s a little bit the same thing. It’s “where’s the value for the sponsor?” That’s more the question. What are they looking for? Are they looking for brand awareness? And they want that athlete to do one tweet and post it out? Now if it’s just one tweet, tweets are so disposable. It gets sent. I think the average lifespan is three or four seconds these days for a tweet. There’s so much, people are seeing so much content it might just fly by and never get seen. So I’d be a single tweet would be part of a campaign for mine. And I’d be looking more to how can you best leverage that athlete. So can they share an image with the product? Can they do it out to their Facebook? Can you amplify that post, whether it be Twitter or Facebook? And this is where, for mine, Facebook provides a really great return from an advertising point of view to amplify that post, because you have the same problem in Facebook. It has a short spike. But can you extend it by promoting the post to the target demographic of the sponsor? So it is hard. I can’t say “yes, it is $1,000″ or “yes, it is $100,000″ because it does depend on the sponsor and what they are looking for. So that noise you are hearing is from the stands of the game from the Socceroos second match that I was previewing earlier. Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak, not Mike Tony Abbott, is lining up on the penalty spot. Thanks to James for catching this one. Who else has envy for James and all of his career? I’ve got a few mates that are over at the World Cup and have been to a lot of the games. A lot of the Socceroos’ games obviously. But there have been a few games. And Francis Leach, who I usually do a grandstand on, he’s over there posting photos. Jordan, Steve, James, very jealous. I’m sure that you’re like a lot of the listeners, wishing that they had gone down to Brazil to catch a few games. That clock is telling me to wrap this episode up and get out. You can grab the show notes, as you can always, at SportsGeekHQ.com/51. That wraps up this episode of the podcast. Don’t forget you can still get tickets to SEAT. There are a few more spots available but they will be stopping selling soon. They’re nearly full. You would have listened to episode 49 when I spoke to Christine Stoffel. This is going to be the biggest seat yet. Simply go to SportsGeekHQ.com/seat2414. And a big congratulations, I don’t believe I did it last podcast, to everyone at the LA Kings, especially Aaron LeValley who’s been on the podcast before. Congratulations on the Stanley Cup win. It’s worth noting that the LA Kings jumped 2.5% in Facebook numbers after their win, and comparatively the Socceroos 5.3 and US Soccer 5.1 in the week around the World Cup, so terrific job there by the LA Kings. Also, a quick note, I had a chat with Neil Horowitz this week that he’s podcast, digital and social media in sports podcast. Give me Neil a follow @NH2H7 on Twitter. I will post the link when that chat with him is up and about. My closing two cents this week. Going back to scaling up the digital team, I’m a big believer in drafting for need. Fill those gaps but always be looking for that ideas person.

DJ Joel: Please leave a review on iTunes. Go to SportsGeekHQ.com/iTunes.

Find all Sports Geek podcasts at SportsGeekHQ.com/sgp. Want to maximize returns from your digital team? Contact Sports Geek about content and commercialization workshop. Thanks for listening to the Sports Geek podcast.


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SGP 026: Digital and Crisis Management with Essendon FC ‘s Justin Rodski & Marc Bertieri

Digital & Crisis Management with Essendon FC 's Justin Rodski & Marc Bertieri on Sports Geek Podcast episode 26This week on Sports Geek Podcast we head out to see the new digs for Essendon Football Club in the AFL now named True Value Solar Centre.  I chat with Justin Rodski & Marc Bertieri about the tough year the Bombers had with the ASADA investigation dominating their season and how they plan to bounce back in 2014.  On ABC Grandstand with Francis Leach we look at two sides of social media with the #SFBatKid and Sydney FC dealing with trolls.  We take a look at new platforms available that teens are migrating to.

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On this podcast you’ll find out about:

  • How Essendon plan to use True Value Solar Centre to better deliver content to fans
  • Why Essendon started #EFCListens in response to ASADA investigation
  • How Essendon comms team handled supplements investigation using social media
  • Bombers Birthday app built on Facebook to give Bomber fans personalised birthday messages
  • How social media helped the world rally around SF Bat Kid
  • Why Sydney FC’s Frank Farina spoke out against social media trolls
  • How athletes like Socceroos can leverage social media to build their personal fan base

Social media allowed the world to join in with #SFBatKid journeyResources from the episode

Social Media Post of the Week

Richard spoke about Arsenal Twitter Takeovers last week’s episode, here they recap #AskArsene with a video post on Facebook.  Please tweet in your nominations for social media post of the week to @SportsGeek or @seancallanan.
Honorable mention to Dallas Mavericks for parody of Volvo Van Damme ad with owner Mark Cuban.

Well done to FFA’s Brian Gibson on sharing the Socceroos Team sheet with Player Twitter handles.

But Shane Harmon’s Westpac Stadium takes out the Social Media Post of the week by trolling Mexico with this tweet, getting press around the world.

Closing 2 Cents

SGPP26Closing2Cents.034-001

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


 

Podcast transcription

Sean: Welcome to episode 26 of the Sports Geek Podcast. On today’s episode, we talk crisis management and fan engagement with the Esesndon Footy Club out of their new facilities. We also look at where are teams moving online.

DJ Joel: Welcome to the Sports Geek podcast, the podcast built for the sports digital marketer. And now, here’s your host who wrote the intros while flying across country, Sean Callanan.

Sean: Thanks, DJ Joel. That’s right, my name is Sean Callanan and thank you very much for listening to the Sports Geek Podcast. This is episode 26. You can find all the show notes at sportsgeekhq.com/26. Really looking forward to this show; had a good chat with the guys at Essendon, Justin Rodski and Marc Bertieri. We had a video chat about what happened over the last 12 months.

Just to give my international listeners a bit of background before this interview, the Essendon football club went through effectively what was called a supplement scandal where the AFL investigated them and there were a lot of legal proceedings and very much a cloud hanging over this season. The findings came in and they were eventually suspended from participating in the finals or the playoffs and their coach has been suspended for 12 months.

So it was a really big news story and one that did take a lot of crisis management, so we talk about that with Justin and Marc. And then a little later on, I chat to Francis about dealing with trolls and some recent development with the guys at Sydney FC and how they handled it, and also where the team’s moving online. Are they moving away from Facebook, and what can sports do about that? But first, here’s my chat with Justin Rodski and Marc Bertieri from the Essendon Football Club.
[Music]

Sean: So here I am at the new facility for the Essendon Football Club with a couple of savvy digital guys, Justin and Marc. So first of all, can I get you guys to introduce yourselves and tell us what you do at the Essendon Football Club? So first, Justin.

Justin: Yeah, I’m Justin Rodski. I’m the general manager of communications and digital media at the club.

Marc: I’m Marc Bertieri. I’m the digital marketing manager, so I play a role in social media, the endgame presentation, also the onsite advertising management. We do a mobile app and a bit of email communication as well.

Sean: So I guess the first thing is this new facility. You’ve only just moved in. Justin, do you want to tell us about the plans the Bombers have had, and obviously there’s still construction going happening here.

Justin: There is, there is.

Sean: You can hear the banging in the back of the move out here, the move from the traditional home at Windy Hill and to the new facility.

Justin: Absolutely. It was a massive move, you know, nearly 90 years at Windy Hill. A lot of tradition and heritage there, and a lot of connections with the local community. It very much started as a pipe dream to come out here about three years ago. Unfortunately, Windy Hill with the footprint size just couldn’t cope with the demands of what the football club needed.

Out here, we’re on about three times the footprint size of Windy Hill: 100,000 square meters, largest flexible indoor training space in Australian sport. It’s got our own pool, rehab facilities, hot and cold baths, there’s a basketball court, a massive gym, two ovals – one the size of the MCG, one the size of Etihad. There’s a one kilometer running track around the precinct here, huge admin facilities, community space.

You’re sitting in the board room here, which is a lot bigger than what we had at Windy Hill. In terms of a multigenerational outcome for the Essendon football club, the performance here has been absolutely fantastic – 26 million dollars’ worth, this is what you get and it’s something that the club desperately needed. We’d fallen behind the rest of the competition and in this day and age, new facilities aren’t going to win you a [promanship], but having the facilities and the resources to attract the best people to the club – not just the best players, but the best people to work here both in administration and football is critical – and that’s why we made the move.

It’s been really exciting. In all of the staff and the football department and the players that are starting to filter back now, there’s a renewed energy, and obviously off the back of everything that happened this year, the timing of this just couldn’t have been better. So as I said, we’re really excited to be here, and there’s really a great sense of energy and excitement about the future.

Sean: Yeah and Marc, you were telling me, you took me through a bit of a tour before about the admin stuff and the marketing stuff and the football department and the players are in a far closer proximity than they were at Windy Hill. Has that made your job a little easier from a digital point of view?

Marc: Yeah, I mean, it’s really easy to access here. You have the coaches and the players downstairs, and just the flow of the building is just fantastic for that. It’s just a lot easier touch points as far as having administration. We used to have administration on a different floor. With everyone in one place, you know, in one office, it’s been fantastic for that, and it just makes it easier for everybody all around and, as Justin said, it’s extremely exciting.

Sean: So Justin, you did touch on just before about the year that you guys have had. It’s been highly publicized, the supplement scandal and the investigation and all the media hype around it. I was also watching it from your point of view and sort of seeing the kind of managing that comes. You know, how hard was it embracing your fans and taking them through that journey and also having that, I’ve said before I think I said it on Harf, digital media and half lawyer. Does that work well together? What’s it like trying to manage that crisis?

Justin: Extremely difficult. There’s no doubt that from the very start, we’ve been on our back foot. Often, in any crisis situation, rule 101 is to know the facts, and unfortunately from day one, we didn’t know the facts. We were continually learning new information every day and every week as the public was. There was an enormous amount of speculation, rumor and innuendo through the media.

Thankfully, and it’s something that’s been overwhelming in terms of response, our fans have been incredible. We decided from the very start that we would be as open and transparent with them as we could through all our channels; understanding that the most direct way was through social media. We made a point to try and communicate with them as often as we could.

At times, there was information that was too sensitive and we couldn’t, but ultimately the challenge of the whole communication piece around what took place was extremely difficult. There was an extraordinary set of circumstances unprecedented in Australian sport. So we just did the best we could to inform them with the information we had along the way. I don’t know if you want to add to that.

Sean: Yeah, I mean, Marc, I mean, I work with a lot of guys like yourself and whether it’s going through a losing streak and you’re, you know, you get to read, fortunately and unfortunately in some cases, everything gets taken. How did you step back and not take everything so personally? I know I’ve had a few digital guys who, going through a bad losing streak, they start feeling defensive and want to defend the club or defend the player. It must have been very tough for you because you were reading, and you were right on the front line of everything.

Marc: You’re exactly right. I used to work at a digital agency previously, and some of my friends were saying when they were meeting their clients and stuff, “Imagine being the Essendon social media guy at the moment,” like that was a joke, and they were like, “We actually know that guy.”

It was extremely tough. You know, I’ve supported the club my whole life and you’ve just got to try and inform to the best that you can as far as if there’s a view out there that’s not just your standard troll out there saying whatever they say. You’ve got to try to inform and keep people educated as best you can with whatever devices you have that are available such as a website, as far as a press release or anything like that. It was extremely difficult, and I think I’m desensitized to a lot of words that come through now.

Justin: It’s critical working in a footy club or in sporting environment with fans and media that you remain objective and above all of that. It’s so easy not to, but it’s just critical and the volume of media interest and requests and I’m sure social media activity was just incredible. I remember one night, Mike [Shehan] was talking at a sports event, and apparently he said – and I think he might have been joking – but he said, “James [Heard] is going to stand down tomorrow.”

And of course, someone who was at the sportsman’s night sent out a tweet or something along those lines and before you know it, social media is abuzz with the fact that James is standing down. It started to circle into the mainstream media guys who start then to call me. This was at eleven o’clock at night. So I rang James straight away. I said, “James, what’s the deal?” And he said, “Mate, there’s no truth in it.”

So I just tweeted and then from that tweet, it was used to quiet some stories the following day. Social media went nuts retweeting it. It was just incredible. It was great to be able to have that immediate opportunity to squash a rumor like that.

Marc: I think from a news reporting and media point of view, I think social media sort of became very mainstream this year, and to a certain degree with what I had with you guys. Prior to that, traditional media wouldn’t report on things being said and rumors and that sort of thing, where they’ve sort of said, “Well, hang on. It’s getting out there anyway.” So The Herald Sun and Fox and all those guys now are starting to report that it’s fact, and it does make a job like yours 24/7 in that instance, and to a certain degree, there’s that “Got to break it, Got to be first.”

It’s very tough from a club point of view, because if there is no news, all you’re doing is saying there is no news, and again, you’re trying to be transparent and you come across as, “Oh, they’re hiding or they’re not revealing.” And it’s like, “There is no news.” How often can you defend news that’s not there?

Justin: That’s right, and if there’s an article that’s 75% accurate but 25% inaccurate, do you respond to the 25% that’s inaccurate and just not respond to the 75% that’s truthful? It became very difficult to manage what was wrong and right and, in the end, we needed to go down a path, especially early on, and the strategy was that we wouldn’t comment on anything. We thought it was going to eliminate any of that, but it left us open to a lot of speculation.

Sean: Yeah, I mean the thing is if you don’t put up a Facebook post, people are going to comment on that. If you don’t put up that tweet… So there is a bit of that batten the hatches mentality. Moving away from the media stuff, you know, the key thing for you guys is your fans. They’re kind of throwing you their support. So, what kind of initiative came out of the crisis? I talked about how you were helping your fans grieve almost, taking them through this process, letting them vent and letting them be upset, but saying you’re still part of the club. What kind of things came out of that?

Marc: Well, I think the biggest thing that we did was that we launched a campaign with the hash tag #EFCListens. That also included an e-mail address where fans could essentially contact the club through e-mail and also on Facebook and Twitter to let us know how they’re feeling, tell us they’re angry, essentially, like you said, grieve about what took place this year, missing finals, ask us any questions they had of us and that’s been a really important body of work that we’re still continuing.

We’re still listening, and soon we’ll be going back to the fans and letting them know that we’ve listened, and here’s our plan moving forward. So, I think [post-saga] and post-season, that’s been the biggest thing that we’ve done and the fans have responded really well to it. They’ve responded really well to the club in general. We had a sell out – over 1500 people. We haven’t had those numbers for ten years.

At times, it’s amazing. Fans are very loyal and passionate people, as you know, and through adversity, that’s often the time they come out and support you the most. And we’ve got a lot to thank them for, and we’ve got a lot of faith to repay them, because they certainly showed it to us this year. The club, the players, and the coaches are all extremely committed to making sure that happens.

Justin: That’s a really good point, and as far as our open training sessions as well, it was more of a process of getting our fans together so they could see the team they love so much and be close to them and meet other supporters that are maybe going through the same thing, and we really just tried to promote those as sessions, come and see the players, come and be around your fellow supporters that are going through the same thing. Toward the end of the year, I think we had an open session every single week, and the turnout was fantastic. It gave us a chance to talk face to face to our supporters as well, so those were really pivotal at the end.

Sean: And I think as we said before, the new venue does provide that change of chapter, the new leaf. What kind of fan events and ways you can activate… What does this offer you from a digital point of view? Not only the access, but also new content and the ability to produce content.

Justin: Well, the biggest thing, Sean, is at the moment it’s just a shell, but we’ve got the space to build a new virtual studio. Currently, plans are well underway to delivering that outcome to the club. We very much share a vision to have a 24-hour digital channel at the Essendon Football Club which would include live broadcasts of shows, panel shows, training sessions, field reporters around the club.

We ultimately want to take Essendon out into the world and as one of the biggest clubs in Australia, we want to have a similar output to the bigger clubs around the world, and we think a virtual studio here will certainly take us to that next level.

Video growth, as you know, is certainly increasing year after year, and I know the mobile app for us has gone through the roof, but when the NBN finally keeps rolling in – and everyone keeps talking about the NBN, NBN, but it’s true – video is growing, but not quite at the same level, compared to overseas. And we want to be prepared for when that does arrive to be able to produce content at that level and give our fans a platform choice, essentially.

So that’s one of the main things, building the studio. We’ll continue with our TV show, “The Hangar,” which will clearly be filmed on location around the club and the players and the coaches have bought into that and that’ll be on Fox Footy again next year. From the digital point of view, eventually the show would end up on our own digital channel, so there are a lot of exciting things happening around the digital space. Marc do you have anything?

Marc: Yeah, just with the more space. You know, you’ve got the indoor training hall and the ambition that was there at Windy Hill. We can bring bloggers, we can bring people from Twitter, ask them to come out to the new facility, maybe watch an open training session, give them live session reports, and really embrace them in this space, because at Windy Hill we didn’t have the technology and we didn’t have the space to operate, whereas out here we’ve got the space and we’ve got the technology. So Wi-Fi capabilities and stuff like that. It’s all very exciting and it’s a dream to get a projection screen where people can come to the club and watch the boys. It’s just the kind of club and facility building together. It’s very exciting.

Sean: Well, you’ve got the similar facility to the guys at Golden State Warriors who ran that Google hangout live from practice without interviewing the coach while the guys are doing three-man weaves up and down the courts. You know that your fans look at that and want to be part of it, want to pick which camera I’m watching at the minute, whether it’s the rehab group over in the corner or the guys doing kick to kick or that kind of thing. I guess just having the size of the venue.

The last couple of weeks ago, I was at West Coast, and the guys effectively called it a dungeon because it was the old equipment, which is what you’ve moved away from, from Windy Hill. You’ve got this space and room to grow.

One thing I wanted to talk to you about is an app you launched a couple of weeks ago on Facebook called the Bombers Birthday App. Do you want to take us through what that was and the idea behind it?

Justin: What it basically does is users on Facebook can enter their data on their birthdays, so that’s their full name, e-mail address, birthday, and also, whether they’re a member of another club. They then go into a selection panel where they can select five or six players from the team, and on their birthdays, they actually receive a notification that goes straight to their Facebook notifications. They also get an e-mail with a discount or a special offer from the Bomber Shop, and also they get birthday greeting that has the code also for the Bomber Shop whatever discount we’ve got going on at the time.

It was kind of brought about from how popular I saw that birthday cards were in the club. A lot of the complaints we received were people who were saying they didn’t receive their birthday cards and people love to interact with the players’ birthdays as well. So there was an opportunity there, I felt, for our largest online audience being Facebook, we should try to work out that user a little more.

It works just via their data, and it’s gone really well so far. We’ve had one Facebook post I believe that’s gone out as a news story and I think we’ve had uptake of about 4,000 people so far. It’s just something we see that’s going to be built out. It’s going to be bigger. It’s going to be better. We’re going to work out all the…

Sean: I guess the other good thing is it’s not a 124words or less campaign; it’s an annual thing. You sign up and you’re going to get a customized e-mail from Joe Watson saying happy birthday, so as a Bombers fan, you’re going to go, “Yeah, cool.”

The other side of it is we’re collecting the data, we’re qualifying our fans, we’re finding out who our members are. Like you said, from a promotion point of view, you pretty much say, “Yeah, here it is,” you know. Is there any plan to extend that using other kind of advertising products?

Marc: Yeah, we’re just trying to iron out all the kinks in it at the moment, just to see what the reaction is. We’ve had good feedback. We’ve had negative feedback, but the main message that we’re talking about at the moment is that it’s something that can be built up.

Ideally, I’d love to get those five or six players together in a room before the season starts and get them to go through every single name we can possibly think of under the sun and actually have a video message to send out from Joe or whoever it might be. That’s the extent I’d like to take it out to, but it’s something new as far as the pace of technology.

I haven’t really seen brands use that personal Facebook notification before, and I thought it would be a really good combination with the birthday greeting. As soon as we get those kinks ironed out, I hope it can be something that will remain in the club for the next five years or whatever so we can really build it into something special.

Sean: Well that’s the thing. Once everyone has their birthdays, you know, if you haven’t had a birthday in nine months, you have to wait until next July or whatever to get the notification. It is going to be drips and drabs as people have their birthdays and say, “Oh look, here’s my card. You better sign up.” Looking forward positively with the new facilities, what sort of plans do you have for next year with Bob Thompson at the helm and the new plans coming up? I know you just announced a new naming rights sponsor this week.

Justin: Naming rights of the new venue will be announced shortly and we have a new co-major sponsor with Fujitsu coming onboard for the next four years. It’s a very exciting time for the club. The playing group and the team is in a good place to challenge next year. They’re certainly on the cusp of a really exciting year on the field.

For us, it’s about continuing to engage with the fans and give them the best possible digital experience they can have and take them inside. It’s a little bit cliché, but it’s true. We want to take them inside the hangar, inside the locker room, give them insight into what happens on match day, and provide them with the analysis and the summary of a match by the coach straight after the match on their mobile phones. These are the sorts of things we want to continue to deliver to our fans. We have an amazing culture of digital engagement with our fans ever since Essendon got its own website. You know, with Danny Bishop and -

Sean: For those of you who don’t know, Essendon basically opted out of the AFL website deal and had their own website for 13 years, and you only just came back two years ago?

Marc: Yeah, we did a half-transition two years ago and now we’re fully reintegrated into the Telstra network. [Brad Patton], I should mention, was the original developer and Danny Bishop, they came on. That’s been a little bit of…. That’s involved some communication and education around that transition back, but our fans have always engaged with us extremely well through digital platforms and we think now we’ve really started to provide them with the sort of content that they want and with Collingwood, we dominate the digital matrix and we want to continue to do that. Most importantly, we want to continue to give them the best possible digital experience they can get.

Sean: Well, thank you very much for joining me on the podcast. Good luck for the offseason. We look forward to seeing plenty of content coming out of the hangar, or whatever the hangar may be called when you do get a naming rights sponsor. We’ll make sure we’ve got links to all things Essendon in the show notes. Thanks for joining me.
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DJ Joel: Sign up for Sports Geek news at sportsgeekhq.com/signupnow.

Sean: Thanks again to Justin and Marc for having me out at the newly-named True Value Solar Center. It was christened just a couple days after the interview, and also what happened a couple of days after the interview is they changed their Twitter handle. They lost the underscore. They were @Essendon_FC and now they’re just @EssendonFC. A little bit cleaner; doesn’t require a change in keyboards to get to that pesky underscore.

Which leads me into another question: Matty_Stevens follows me on Twitter, did email me, asking me a few questions around personal branding and how he could break into sports digital media. And he did ask, could he change his Twitter handle and get rid of the underscore. I don’t have any underscore. I was lucky enough to get rid of my account from the get-go. SportsGeek originally was @_SportsGeek_.

If you can get rid of it you can, but to a certain degree it doesn’t really matter in the wash-up of everything. It is a bit tough to type at times, but really the content you share and the connections you make are far more important than underscores. I can only quote Will Anderson, whose handle is @_WillAnderson, who joked that he’s going to legally change his middle name to underscore. I don’t think it matters too much, Matty.

I think what does matter is the content you share and the connections you make on Twitter and even more so on LinkedIn. Make those connections now. Connect with the people you want to work with, and then share the content that forms your opinion, what you’re reading and then share the work that other people are sharing to make those connections.

My other suggestion would be to use the tools and the platforms that you hope to be working on, so Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Really dive in deep and try to understand the inner workings of them. If you want to work in sports digital, I’m a big fan of the term, from my IT days, dog-fooding. It’s a term that’s a means of eating your own dog food, which means as a developer you have to use the applications and tools that you’re building. That way you can figure out all the thins that are wrong with them so you can fix them. I’m a big believer in that as well. If you’re going to work in the sports digital and the sports social media space, then you must be a person who uses them every single day to really understand how it can work because you really want to do the testing on your accounts and now when you get given the keys to a team or a brand account.

Okay. Now onto my discussion with Francis Leach on ABC Grandstand.
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Francis: Live and direct from Sports Geek HQ, Sean Callanan with the world of sport in the digital realm. Hello, Sean. How you going this morning?

Sean: I’m good. Thanks, Francis. Doing well.

Francis: We’d both rather be in San Francisco right now, wouldn’t we?

Sean: Yeah, we would be. If you look on #SFBatKid, you’ll see something pretty special happening. It’s not great for radio, but I’m showing you the front page of the Gotham City Chronicle. A young boy fighting leukemia, he had a Make a Wish come out, and he said he wanted to be Bat Kid. They started to put something together and put an ad out to the public, and it’s actually happening now. He’s already stopped a bank robbery. He’s had a tour down the main street with thousands of people cheering him on and I think he’s headed out to meet up with the guys with the Giants. I think he’s saving one of the team mascots.

Francis: Have a look at the hash tag #SFBatKid and take it in, the size of the crowds involved; the costume this kid is wearing is just extraordinary. He looks like he just walked off the set of the latest Batman franchise flick. He does have a car. Yes, he does have a Bat Mobile, and this is all sort of organically taking on this massive momentum through social media.

Sean: That’s the thing. The Make a Wish Foundation said they do get wishes all the time, and this one was a little bit extreme, that he said he wanted to be Bat Kid. Nut once they started putting it out there, the whole of San Francisco got behind it and it just, the sporting and the flow of information coming out of San Francisco… Why wouldn’t you? I mean it’s this kid’s one wish and they all want to get behind it, and the fact that people are cheering from five stories down to watch this kid run down the street is really a good story.

Francis: It certainly is, and it reminds us of the positive impact social media can have because elsewhere in the world we do tend to find out the negative effects. And one of them was in the world of sports. It’s interesting, we had Frank Farina in on the program last week and he wanted to talk about this as well, and he responded last week to some nasty and toxic comments last week via Facebook towards his players and some of the people involved with Sydney FC. He wrote a blog about it and talked about the impact it had on them, and it was an interesting discussion around that. Did he fuel the fire of the trolls by doing so or did he actually raise a serious issue in relation to conduct online and personal responsibility. And I asked him about it yesterday when he joined us here on Grandstand Breakfast Radio and the reasons why he went to the lengths that he did to keep this to light

Frank: It’s the new beast in sport. It’s another thing you have to deal with as clubs, coaches, and players. Twenty years ago, it was not around so it wasn’t an issue, but sometimes there’s a schoolyard mentality where if one person says something and you’ll have a few that will jump on board, mostly anonymously. It’s a necessary evil we all have to deal with.

Francis: Frank Farina there, and you actually work very closely football club franchising and sports people who are trying to navigate their ways through this.

Sean: Yeah, it is very tough because everyone does get a voice and it is the anonymity that the internet can provide. It gives some people a puffed out chest.

Francis: It appeals to our lesser angels, let’s put it that way.

Sean: Yeah, it does. I guess one thing I do when I’m talking and working with athletes particularly because they get the brunt of this more than a club, is they have to have a pretty thick skin about it. I try to embrace the positive side of it, because there will be those fans. I like to think sports fans online are mostly, and I’ll use Seth Godin’s term, positive deviance, most of them are, “I’m a supporter and I want to show my support,” but there is that vocal minority. That’s the thing that can appear to be far bigger than it is.

I’ve done it before where I’ve spoken at an event and you see 100 tweets of, “That was great. Good work. Love that talk,” and then you have someone say, “Oh, that was hopeless.” Human tendency is to look at that kind of thing. It’s something you’ve always got to manage and remember to put in that box. If you can amplify the ones that are positive and showing that support, you can turn that around a little bit.

Francis: So you can kind of choose what to focus on.

Sean: Yeah, exactly. There’s no reason for you to be following those people, there’s no reason if you’ve had a bad game to go check social media. From a psychology point of view, you’ve got to realize. You know there’s going to be that kind of vitriol in some cases. And in some instances, you go, “I don’t need that.”

Francis: Do you advise your people not to respond to trolls in the way Frank chose to?

Sean: Primarily, because trolls really thrive on oxygen. They really do want that recognition of, “Ha! I’ve got to them”. That’s what they’re going for. But there is a certain part of it of don’t give them that air, don’t give them any oxygen and don’t acknowledge them. There is some point where, and I think this is where Frank was trying to get to, where you say it is very difficult. The people who are behind us, you support us. That’s where your community can come in and say, “Hey, that’s out of line. Pull up.” Your fans can be the ones that are effectively providing that first level of defense.

We do see that with a lot of clubs where a post goes up for a club or for a player and there will be a few, and sometimes it’ll be opposition supporters who actually are supporters of your team. They’ll just say, “Oh, there’s an easy beating.” You’ve got to, as fans of your club; you want to show a bit of spine and say, “That’s not on.”

Francis: We’ve looked at traditional forms of social media to say that now, because it hasn’t been that long in the realm that we’ve had these Facebook and Twitter, but they’re becoming, in some ways, a first generation platform, aren’t they? Younger people are moving away from them altogether, which is going to make it harder and harder for that conversation to be curated by sports organizations.

Sean: Definitely. More of the platforms that we’re seeing…and when I was doing research for this, there are articles saying teens are moving away from Facebook. That’s the reason why, because parents and grandparents are on there and it’s not cool anymore. But when I was looking at it, those articles have been written for three years in a row. It’s sort of like, “It’s September, October or November. Let’s write that article.”

There is a bit of movement of teens across to new platforms like Tumblr, where it’s a little bit darker, to a certain degree. And they can be a bit more of themselves and express themselves. And then there’s a big move to mobile apps and more of these messaging apps, like WhatsApp and SnapChat, those kinds of ones that aren’t public and aren’t open.

Francis: What’s different?

Sean: Well, SnapChat, fortunately and unfortunately, it’s sort of known for the whole sexting realm because the whole idea of SnapChat is you are friends with someone and you can send them a picture. They get to see that picture for however long you can say. So I can send you something and say you get five seconds. You’ve got to hole your thumb on the picture to see it. If you take your thumb off the picture, it goes away and it’s destroyed. It’s sort of meant to be a little message and, boom, it’s gone.

They’ve obviously had a whole lot of issues around sexting and people sending inappropriate photos with kids thinking, “Oh, cool. Because it’s going to get destroyed, I wont get done.” But people were screenshotting it or taking another camera and taking a photo of their phone. It lends itself to a whole raft of issues. Because of the non-public nature of it, the fact that it’s all completely private, does lend itself to that bullying mentality and makes it really tough as a parent, if you’re looking at teens and that kind of thing, to help police that and keep an eye on what your kids are doing.

Francis: I guess also, in the realm of what you’re talking about, the sorting context, the idea that you can have some sort of community that can self-police those sorts of behaviors gets even more difficult in an environment where there’s a proliferation of platforms and also the instantaneous nature that means it’s going to come out and get out really quickly.

Sean: That’s the danger of these platforms themselves, but the other danger from the sports point of view is that if teens and younger kids are moving away from these platforms, how are sports going to connect with them? That’s something to be seen. I don’t see the benefit of SnapChat.

They’re trying to move into telling stories and public type of thing, so a sports team could be on SnapChat and put it up and say, “You want to see a picture inside the room? It’s going to be up there for 24 hours.” And you can see it. So they’re trying to move into that space, but it’s sort of built on a private messaging system.

Again, digital natives, Athletes that are coming up the ranks that are using these products, and again, they’re probably using them with their friends, if they start letting fans leach into that group, then they’re getting into that problem territory.

Francis: You’re about to take off to Sydney to talk to the Socceroos?

Sean: Yeah. The Socceroos are in camp. So we’re going to go up and talk to them about some of the activations that we’re going to be doing, We’ve done Socceroos before and we’ll do some things on Facebook. SO really just some ideas for them as athletes to be really good digital citizens, how to engage with fans and how they can leverage what is going to be an absolutely massive opportunity at the World Cup next year.

We really want them to be primed to be able to share that inner sanctum experience. What better way than coming from the players themselves? Especially when who knows when FIFA and all them will come up with what you can and can’t do. I think the players will get a free pass on a lot of that. It’ll be really advantageous for Socceroos to be able to get their content from the players.

Francis: Sharing a once in a lifetime experience. Good on you, mate. Have a good trip and I’ll talk to you next week. Sean Callanan. We can find you on Sports Geek HQ?

Sean: Sportsgeekhq.com or on iTunes.

Francis: It’s Grandstand Breakfast.

[Music]

DJ Joel Follow Sports Geek on LinkedIn: Sportsgeekhq.com/LinkedIn.

Sean: It was good to catch up with the Socceroos a couple of days before their match with Costa Rica. It’s really good when you’re trying to train athletes to give them some actual examples of what they can do. Rather than just say engaging and talking to the fans, it’s really good to show them how to do it. You’ve got to remember they’re not digital marketers, they’re not content producers, they’re athletes first and foremost. Giving them a few tools around, “This is how we’re going to do it. This is how we’re going to do a chat session. This is how we answer fans. This is how we favorite a fan’s tweet to show them you’ve seen it,” is really valuable and just gives them some simple tools for them to take away the big thing that we do with athletes is time management and understanding where to keep social media in their schedule.

Speaking of time management, that clock is reminding me that I need to wind up this show. This is episode 26, and you can get the show notes at sportsgeekhq.com/26. And whom do I dedicate this episode to? I had a few nominations come in via Twitter for Gavin Brown, Wade Boggs, and Rod Woodson. Because I talked to the guys at Essendon, I’m going to have to go with Marc “Bomber” Thompson who wore 26 with distinction for the Essendon Footy Club and is now going to coach Essendon for the next 12 months while James Heard is suspended.

This week, social media post of the week? Wow. A few big nominations this week. There are a couple honorable mentions I have to throw out first. One to Dallas Mavericks who do a great job with parody music videos. If you haven’t seen the Jean Claude Van Damme Volvo commercial yet, you’re living under a rock. But the Dallas Mavericks were very quick with their parody, which is really a key thing when you’re doing a parody is to get it out there quickly so you can sort of catch the viral juice of the original video. They did a Mark Cuban version of that video. . So they get an honorable mention.

Also, another from Brain Gibson who runs the Socceroos. We actually came up with this idea on the morning of the Socceroos match, where we put the twitter handles and Instagram handles on the official team sheet and put it on twitter and that got a little bit of press and a pretty good response from the fans on Twitter, just to see the different Twitter handles of the players.

Really, I cannot go past Shane Harmon and Westpac Stadium’s tweet where they trolled a whole country. They sent out a tweet in the lead up of the New Zealand-Mexico World Cup qualifier. It got a stack of retweets and press coverage around the world. Really good job showing that any account, even a stadium, can have a little personality and have a little bit of fun on the Twitter.

This week’s sounds of the game comes from the Socceroo’s match, this is Terrace Australis.

[Recorded cheering]

So well done there, Brian Gibson, for capturing that one and getting out in the crowd. Get out of the media box and get pictures and sounds from the game. Thanks to those of you who checked out my side project podcast, Beers, Blokes and Business. This week, it hit number one in the business category in Australia on iTunes. Again, if you’ve been listening or reviewed it, thank you very much. For those of you who want to listen, I suggest you listen to episode four, especially yourself, Matty. It’s an episode on career jumping. I talk about how I started Sports Geek and how I got there.

Also, episode 13 is a good one on motivating staff. Episode 10 is on building apps. If you go to beersblokesbusiness.com, you’ll find out more. You can go to beersblokesbusiness.com/iTunes to get it on iTunes. Thanks again for your support. I really do appreciate the ITunes reviews, both on this podcast and Beers, Blokes and Business. Those reviews and posting it on your own social networks, Facebook and LinkedIn, really do help spread the word and help me to get a wider audience for this podcast. You can always go to sportsgeekhq.com/sgp and share any app that you like on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Closing two cents. Since social media does allow to provide personality for your team, live it, breath it, and more importantly know it.

DJ Joel: Please leave a review on iTunes. Go to sportsgeekhq.com/iTunes. Find all Sports Geek podcasts on sportsgeekhq.com/sgp. Check out which teams work with sports geek at sportsgeekhq.com/clients. Thanks for listening to this Sports Geek podcast.

SGP 007: #GnominAround, Wallabies & Socceroos, Twitter Ads

Sports Geek Podcast available on iTunes and StitcherRecorded this Sports Geek Podcast from the couch as the achilles is on the mend, this week we chat to Travis LoDolce from Oakland Athletics how the activated fans and local sponsors with a Grant Balfour #GnomingAround promotion.  We also look at the Socceroos qualifying for World Cup and at the Samsung Stadium activation for the Wallabies Lions Tour.

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Thanks again for the feedback, tag your tweets #SGP, check them out on Sports Geek Podcast page.

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

  • The difference between bobblehead and gnome for MLB promotion
  • How the A’s used Twitter to raise awareness for Father’s Day game
  • How the A’s measured the social media efforts of the #GnominAround campaign
  • How many followers the @Socceroos gained when then qualified for World Cup
  • Did HG Nelson have a Oprah moment?
  • How the Samsung Stadium could improve social interaction
  • A review of the different style of Twitter Ads available for sports teams

Thanks for helping us be profiled in New & Noteworthy in iTunes and we’ve passed the 1500 downloads mark and over 30 countries.
If you could leave a review on iTunes and share the podcast with your networks it would be greatly appreciated.

Sports Geek Podcast talking with Oakland Athletics about #GnominAroundResources from the episode

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Podcast transcription

Sean: Welcome to Episode 7 of the Sports Geek Podcast. On today’s episode, we’ll talk to Travis LoDolce from the Oakland Athletics about their gnoming around promotion. And we’ll look at the Wallabies and Socceroos in action this week and we’ll dig deeper into Twitter ads.

DJ Joel: Welcome to the Sports Geek Podcast. The Podcast built for the sports digital marketer. And now, here’s your host who proves you can podcast with one leg in the air, Sean Callanan.

Sean: Thanks DJ Joel. My name is Sean Callanan from Sports Geek. You can find me on Twitter @Seancallanan. If you’re a first time listener, you might not know why I’m podcasting with one leg in the air. I’m currently recovering from Achilles surgery. And I’m looking forward to having the plaster removed this week and getting that moon boot on and being a little bit more mobile. If you’ve listened before, thank you for coming back, very much appreciate everyone who’s listening to the podcast, and all the feedback that we’ve been getting.

On today’s show, we’ll be talking to Travis LoDolce from the Oakland Athletics around their gnoming around promotion and how they boost ticket sales and awareness of the game. And we’ll also look back at what has been a big week in sport in Australia with two national teams on show with the Wallabies and the Socceroos. But first here is my discussion with Travis on ABC Grandstand with Francis Leach.

Francis: Sean Callanan, the Digital Sports Guru is usually with us in the studio each Saturday morning to talk sport and the digital media. He’s on the DL, on the disabled list. But it hasn’t stopped him from catching up with us again here today as he recovers from his Achilles injury. Good day, Sean.

Sean: Good day Francis. How are you doing?

Francis: Progress report?

Sean: Progressing well, nearly, ready to have the plaster off on Monday so I’ll be moon booting in the studio next week.

Francis: Good to hear. Now this morning, we’re going to be talking about the use of digital media and creativity. Coming up with creative promotions and creative ideas to engage fans.

Sean: Yeah pretty much and really just about building awareness around games and streaming games. And we discussed the MLB games before and they’re very big on giveaway games and knick knacks and bobbleheads and the like. And what we’re going to talk about today is the gnoming around promotion from the Oakland Athletics. And I believe you’ve got Travis LoDolce there on the line from the Oakland Athletics.

Francis: Good day Travis, how are you?

Travis: I’m doing fine gentlemen. How are you?

Francis: Not too bad, how did you come up with this concept?

Travis: It was an internal idea, a couple of us in the marketing department.

Francis: How did it work?

Sean: And so Travis, yeah how did it work? And first of all, there is a bit of an Aussie connection there as well.

Travis: Certainly, so Grant Balfour, if you’re not familiar with him, he’s a Sydney Australian native. He’s the closer for the Oakland A’s, that means he’s the final pitcher that comes into our games. Sort of shuts down the other team and Grant is known for being rather animated on the mound. He comes out, sort of stomps around on the mound. And our fans dubbed him rage, Balfour rage, is a hashtag that we use.

Fans use it and just yelling and screaming and sort of the epitome of Grant Balfour when he’s in the game. And this season we wanted to try a different kind of promotion. We’ve tried bobbleheads and different things before and we’re doing that again. But we had an idea for a gnome, and we thought who better to fit a gnome image than Grant Balfour as a raging image. So he’s got his fist clenched and his mouth open like he’s yelling.

But it’s in small six inch tall gnome form that you can put in your garden or other places. And it’s a different kind of promotion for us. Bobbleheads are our A plus promotion. We get out numerous amounts of fans for bobbleheads. We know that we can upsell a game with a bobblehead promotion. A gnome promotion is sort of a B plus promotion for us. We think it’s attractive, but there’s no known quantity for it. It’s not quite a bobblehead, it’s not quite anything we’ve done before.

So we put it on a Sunday game which tends to be a popular game on the weekend. But it wasn’t a premium opponent; it was against the Seattle Mariners. It was an American holiday, it was Father’s Day. But we wanted to spread awareness for this game. So about a month, six weeks before the game we decided that we wanted to do a social promotion for the game.

And in order to do that, we needed to spread the idea that this event and this promotion was happening on this game and what better way than to harness the Oakland A’s followers to help spread the word for us.

Sean: What was the main, sorry about that, what was the main basis for the promotion and what did the fans have to do?

Travis: So what they did and what we did is we utilized some of our sponsors in brick and mortar locations. So we picked five sponsors in the community, location each day the week leading up to the Ragin’ Gnome game. And we blew up the gnome in an oversized way. So we blew him up to about four or five feet tall. Something you can stick on a wall or on a pillar and what we did is we informed fans each morning, Mondays through Saturday before the Sunday game.

A new location each day, so we’d say, “appearing today at Chevron Gasoline station. Go out to this place, this specific location, take a photo with this gnome, share it on your Twitter account, use the hashtag #gnomingaround, and you can win tickets for Sunday’s game.” And we had five winners each day, so it was sort of six different contest.

On the final day, we had it at the Oakland A’s game. We had the gnome in a portion of our stadium and it generated a good amount of success. About two weeks prior to the game, ten days prior to the game, we were behind in the sales. We had a certain figure that we wanted to hit. And we were trending down. I can’t say that this helped completely, but this definitely helped spread awareness that week leading up to the game. And we ended up selling out the game by game day.

And the response that we got from fans online was great. We had over 150 people share their photo with the gnome throughout the entire week. We went back and we looked at the engagement of those people that shared. Meaning, the people that shared their photo, we looked at the number of followers that they had, each one and tallied those up. That was over 24,000 different Twitter accounts. Meaning that potentially 24,000 new people who don’t follow the as might have seen that there was something going on with this gnome promotion.

Hopefully to bring people out to the game and we really saw the response on game day when we sold out the game.

Francis: Did anyone bring a gnome to the game in celebration and what happened to the Ragin’ Gnome? Was it given away to a lucky fan?

Travis: You mean the blow up doll?

Francis: Yeah.

Travis: The blow up piece? We had six of them, we had seven of them actually. We gave one to Grant himself…

Francis: Of course.

Travis: His wife actually asked for one, she wanted to put it on a wall in their home. We let the companies that we gave them to, they could do whatever they want with them. They might have given them away. We didn’t ask for them back. And the one that we displayed here at the ball park, I put it on my office wall, so it’s now sharing my space with me.

Francis: It’s fascinating to hear particularly in your market where there is so many games to sell. You have to come up with new concepts to keep people constantly engaged.

Travis: Oh yeah, certainly, definitely. I mean, every home stand, we have something new and different and we’re constantly trying to engaged people in social media. We don’t usually do a program for a specific promotion like this. Maybe once or twice a year. This was one that we felt we really needed it thought, but certainly every game, we’re trying to take different types of photos, interactive photos, either with our players holding their promotion, different kinds of things just to help spread awareness.

And the more interesting the photo or the more interesting the tweet or Facebook post, the more we think that somebody is going to share it. And like just today, it’s the first day of summer, summer solstice. And we took a photo of our mascot, Stomper with his feet up sitting in the stadium with sunshades on. We put it’s the first day of summer, when’s your next day’s game? We asked that question across social media today and it got a great response. A lot of people saying, “I’m coming next week, I’m coming on this promotion day.”

And hopefully their friends see that and want to come out with them.

Francis: Indeed, good stuff Travis, it shows just how you can engage fans and enjoy the time away from the ballpark with them as well. Thanks for being with us and good luck to the A’s this season.

Travis: Yeah thank you gentlemen, have a great day.

Francis: Travis LoDolce, Senior Manager of Digital Marketing at the Oakland A’s in major league baseball. And Sean Callanan still on the DL here. He’ll be back in the studio with the moon boot on next week. Sean quickly, where can people find you in the digital world?

Sean: They can find me at sportsgeekhq.com or Sean Callanan or Sports Geek on Twitter.

DJ Joel: Like the Sports Geek Podcast? Find us on Facebook.com/sportsgeek.

Sean: Thanks to Travis there for the interview and a very big thanks to Francis Leach for the save on that interview. It’s very tough doing an interview via phone, especially with two people. And you might have actually heard a couple of beeps during that interview, my call actually dropped halfway through. So Frank being a professional, picked up the rest of the interview and I look forward to being in the studio next week.

I did follow up with Travis after that discussion because I did have one question that I wanted to ask him. Especially now with the introduction to Instagram video on how he might have made changes to that promotion using Instagram video. He pretty much said that he would have liked to have done that. And he probably will do that in the future and most likely it would have been asking fans to submit Ragin’ Gnome videos. Obviously it does make it a little bit sensitive from a moderation point of view and have to moderate a few more things.

But yeah, he would like to do it. The promotion they ran was only on Twitter because they didn’t actually get the legal side done for Instagram pictures taken. But yeah it’s a really good way of just showing, not a massive amount of budget. But worked really effectively to build awareness for the game, get people through and make people aware of what they call a B class giveaway. It’s not quite over with the A class bobbleheads. We don’t actually have a big giveaway culture in the sports scene in Australia.

Okay, moving back to Australian sport, it’s been a big week of sport in Australia with two big national teams in action. As you know from our discussion last week with Rob Squillacioti, the Socceroos were trying to qualify for the World Cup. They did do that last Tuesday, just looking at some of the numbers back on what we were trying to achieve with Socceroos and what they did achieve.

The final game where they did finally clinch and congrats to Josh Kennedy for getting the goal that secured the spot for the Socceroos. Socceroos jumped 3,000 followers during the Iraq game compared to only jumping 1000 in the previous 2 games. They’re going to Brazil tweet was retweeted over 2000 times and it was really interesting to see Facebook hashtags starting coming into effect.

As we said, they’re just starting out. I had a bit of a chat with Facebook, couldn’t get as much data out of Facebook as I ought of like. They were I would say, the top topic on Facebook and it was a big adoption of actually the hashtag #gosocceroos. I am going to keep chipping away to see if I can get some more information out of Facebook on how fans or users of Facebook rather are adopting hashtags. But I definitely saw a big use of it and it seemed to be a bit of a moment for Facebook hashtags.

From the Wallabies point of view, they played on the weekend. Some of the quick stats out of that, but I don’t really want to go into too much of the social, might be having some of the guys from the Socceroos on a future podcast. They had over 15,000 tweets per hour in that first half and definitely the big star of the game was Izzy Folau. Izzy Folau now a three sport athlete. Formally he played Rugby League with a couple of teams including Melbourne and the Broncos and was a state of origin representative.

He was then lured to play AFL with the GWS Giants with a rather large salary I might add. And after one and a half seasons it would have to be said it was a failed stint at AFL. And now he is playing rugby union and only I think it is six games into his Rugby Union career. He has what has now been linked to, what has been one of the best day boos as a Wallaby in an international game playing for his country, so a fine effort. He’s played for his country, in Rugby League and now Rugby Union.

Definitely a big star and was definitely the big talking point of the game. The Wallabies game versus the British and Irish Lions. One thing I did want to do was an app and a sponsor activation that was done around the Wallabies game. The app is actually called Samsung Stadium. It’s obviously a promotion with Samsung. It’s primarily a social, compares to main features. The main feature is that it provides an alternative commentary to the game. So you can listen to the commentary by some famous sports comedians here in Australia. Roy & HG. They’ve been doing alternate commentary on major sporting events over the last ten to fifteen years. On normally the national broadcaster, the youth broadcaster, triple j.

But Samsung secured Roy & HG to broadcast, to do their version of the broadcast on the Samsung app. So it was a really great draw to get people to download it. I downloaded, the audio came pretty fine. There were obviously some issues with audio sync as you have with digital radio.

If you’re watching a live sport, digital radio is going to be a little bit out of sync. So that’s always going to be an issue but it isn’t exactly play by play. They’re pretty much conversational and talking rubbish over the whole game. Quite funny from my opinion anyway.

One thing I actually did, I was watching it on Fox and I paused the action until the commentary caught up. And then effectively I did the manual sync myself. So there was a few syncing issues. And also the app itself, you could have stayed in the app and you could see tweets and Instagram shots coming through.

And they were trying to promote people to use the hashtag #SamsungStadium which was purchases as promoted trend on the night. And sending people to the account, you didn’t have to stay in the account. You could listen to the audio and jump back into your Twitter app of choice.

Just a couple of things, I think they just slightly missed the mark on just from a social point of view. And really making sure all of the things, all the I’s were crossed and all the I’s were dotted and the T’s were crossed.

I’d make sure I don’t muck them up. I get an occasional call from people with corrections and please send them in if I do make a stupid mistake like that.

One thing was, training a guy like HG Nelson who is new to Twitter how to use hashtags. He was tweeting prior to the event, telling people to come on board. And he was effectively connecting his hashtag to his last word and so Twitter search wasn’t picking it up. So just a minor thing that he has to put a space before he puts Samsung Stadium on his tweets so people will know that they can search for that tweet.

And then the other thing which is a little bit minor. But obviously the promotion is based around Samsung. HG effectively had his own Oprah moment where he has been tweeting from an iPad. Now I know that Samsung Stadium has built apps for the I-phone and the iPad, but it’s a little bit like, when I say Oprah moment when she tweeted her pleasure of using Microsoft Surface product, she did so from an iPad as well. So again, minor things if you’re going to ask someone to endorse your product, or really the key players using your product, or promoting product, should be using your product.

And the other thing I did try was an interface data capture component to the Samsung Stadium where you had to enter your details and then you had to be tweeting and potentially win prizes. I did go through it. It seemed a little bit clunky, especially in the mobile space. Which obviously most people are going to be using that app. I did see a couple of people tweeting that it completely fell over on the iPad.

That was one, it failed for me, but it did appear to complete. So again, it just makes user experience really important when you are building apps like that. So keep an eye on, if you haven’t downloaded Samsung stadium, I’d say give it a try, download and have a listen to Roy and HG. From my American, UK friends, if you want a different, completely different commentary of the game, tune in. It might not be to your tastes but it is very friendly from an Australian point of view.

We’ll take a quick break and we’ll be back soon to discuss Twitter ads.

DJ Joel: Sports Geek Podcast, available on Stitcher. SportsgeekHQ.com/stitcher.

Sean: Well as I’ve been talking about over the last couple of podcasts. We’ll starting to play with Twitter ads with the Melbourne Storm and look at some of the options that it can offer from a ticketing point of view. We are going to dive into a little bit of the stats from the ticketing vendor to see how they are comparing against Google and Facebook. And so far the Twitter ads are comparing favorably and on par with the Google ads, or as far as getting sales goes.

So what I really wanted to do was dive into the different types of Twitter ads that we are promoting. There’s three major types one is obviously promoted account. You assume that you can promote an account, we’re not doing that. The Melbourne Strom have a really strong brand and have followers so people know where to find them. What we’re looking to do is to target fans of the Storm and their friends. And people who might be interested in the Storm to come along to the game. And to know there is a game on, it’s as much a brand awareness play as it is ticketing selling play.

Obviously we want to sell some tickets. So one of the types is you can target users, Twitter users on their tweets. And the words and the keywords they use in their tweets. So this is one where we can target people tweeting about the players or specific hashtags. The only issue with Twitter ads at the moment, it doesn’t offer geolocation down to state and city level in Australia as yet. So we can only target Australia, so we’ve had to really focus in on keywords and hash tags that are very mobile centric.

There’s no point in us promoting a ticketing promotion to someone out of state. So that has been a bit of a difficult thing. The other type of way you can decide who you’re going to target is by the followers of certain accounts. So you can say, “I want to target followers of these accounts.” We ran that for the first week, sort of looking at how we can follow all these sports teams. We want other sports fans. So interesting stuff came out of it from the stats of where the impressions were applied. It appears that most fans, especially if you’re looking at AFL and those like, do follow all the teams. So it’s not, fans aren’t just following their team, they’re following the other teams for the information. They might not be following avidly and retweeting and the like. But we did see quite a big overlap on a lot of the key sport accounts in Melbourne. So there was thing that was interesting in as far as we targeted and who we were targeting.

The next thing was what kind of tweets were going to send out? And you have a couple of options here, you can decide to send out a tweet you’ve already sent out. So you might have put out a ticketing call or told fans about a promotion. You can simply say, “Yes I want to promote that tweet to that audience.” And that’s similar to a Facebook promoted post. So it’s going to get re send out in the faces of those fans.

The other option is to have a promoted only tweet. And so this is a tweet that just gets sent to the people you’ve targeted. And if you go to the timeline of the person who is doing the ad, you won’t actually see the tweet in the timeline. So it gives you a little bit more flexibility around what you can do and what you can say. And you don’t have to fill your timeline with potentially spammy tweets of plenty of ticketing options that you want to provide.

So it does give you a little bit of option from a provide variations on the tweets. A little bit of AB testing, because they are only going to get shown to people who are getting promoting to. And Twitter has this algorithm of sorts that will exhaust. So you won’t be showing that tweet too many times to the same people.

As I said in a previous podcast, the model is cost pairing engagement. Now if you are trying to do a ticketing call to action or a merge call to action, obviously you want them to click on the link and buy the product. So it’s really important to strip back any other distractions. So things like hashtags, potentially if people click on the hashtag, that’s an engagement. If they reply, that’s an engagement. If they retweet, that’s good, that repromotes your message. But that’s an engagement as well and you pay for that.

So there’s some of the things that we’ve launched so far on Twitter ads. What we are finding because there isn’t that many people and this is our assumption. And we’re going to check with the guys back in San Francisco. It is very easy to burn the cash on the Twitter ads because no one else there is competing against those spots, against those audiences.

You really can’t complain, you are getting the clicks but it is very easy to see the cash fly out the door. So if you are going to start up doing tweet campaigns, if you want some assistance. Be very aware of your daily limits, otherwise you might be in for a nasty shock if you don’t set that approximately.

So that’s it for today, if you want any more info on Twitter ads and you want to look at promoting your accounts or promoting particular tweets and events, please give us a call. We’re happy to help get you set up.

The other thing is that came out of Twitter this week. If you actually log into Twitter ads, you can see the analytics for your Twitter account. Now a lot of the promoted, a lot of the verified accounts and the sports teams have had turned on for a little while now. But if you haven’t checked it out, it takes you into some of the analytics. It tells you what responses you’re getting. What’s the most reach, what got the most retweets, what tweets are working the best.

Give you a bit of a feel of what’s working for you on Twitter. It’s pretty much the first version of the analytics, so I expect it to grow and get better over time.

So that’s pretty much it for today’s show. Just a couple of things that I wanted to recap. I don’t know if you know Episode 4 Sports Geek Podcast episode four with George Rose. Actually ended up as a made for TV interview. The guys at ABC Grandstand actually interviewed both myself and George on a piece for ABC Grandstand TV looking at athletes and social media which is a bit of an extension of our discussion on Episode 4.

If you go to the show notes for that issue, sportsgeekHQ.com/4, you can actually listen to the podcast again if you didn’t catch it. You can also see the video from ABC Grandstand. And that’s it, wraps up another Sports Geek Podcast Episode 7. You can get the show notes at sportsgeekHQ.com/7. Thank you very much for downloading the episode, we’ve just cracked 1,500 downloads over 30 countries so thank you very much.

If you have a question for the show, please go to sportsgeekhq.com/sgp, we’re using the SpeakPipe plug-in. So you can simply record your question and you’ll be on a future podcast. We’ll finish up today’s episode with a sounds of a game feature. I did catch a little bit of flack for using Collingwood last week. I will vary it up. It won’t be Collingwood every single week. But I do need your help.

I’m not getting to as many games as I would like. With my current Achilles injury, so please take some audio at your game, whether it be the opening bounce, the tip off, goal.

Whatever it is, just pull out your phone, record a little bit and send it into sean@sportsgeekhq.com. I very much appreciate to hear sounds from around the world of sport. So that’s it.

This week’s sound of the game is from the Melbourne Rebels game a few weeks ago when they beat one of the South African teams for a big win. And we get to hear their theme song which is actually from Les Miz, which is it sounds awesome once you get into it.

So that’s it for this week, my name is Sean Callanan. You can find me @SeanCallanan or @SportsGeek. And obviously everything else is at sportsgeekhq.com. Thank you very much, I’ll leave with the Rebels and talk to you next week.

DJ Joel: Please leave a review on iTunes. Go to sportsgeekhq.com/itunes. Find all Sports Geek Podcasts at sportsgeekhq.com/sgp. Thanks for listening to the Sports Geek Podcast.

SGP 006: @Socceroos connecting with fans and look at @LAKings trash talk

Sports Geek Podcast available on iTunes and StitcherOn the mend from achilles surgery, in this week’s Sports Geek Podcast we chat to Robert Squillacioti about how the @Socceroos are connecting with mainstream Australia over 3 weeks trying to qualify for World Cup 2014.  Since the NHL Finals we go back into our ABC Grandstand archive with our chat with Dewayne Hankins who at the time was working at AEG Sports with the @LAKings.

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Thanks again for the feedback, tag your tweets #SGP I’ve included some of your feedback on the Sports Geek Podcast page.

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

  • How the Socceroos are using digital to connect with mainstream Australia
  • Importance of understanding your audience around major events
  • Importance of understanding where digital fits when complementing sports TV coverage
  • Why the LA Kings took on the undertag into last year’s playoffs
  • How LA Kings used Twitter to develop a loud minority online
  • How the LA Kings dealt with the NHL Lockout with no access to players
  • Hashtags on Facebook, what effect will it have on sports?
  • A look at how the Melbourne Storm are using Twitter Ads

Very pleased to see it profiled in New & Noteworthy in iTunes and we’ve passed the 800 downloads mark with new listeners each week.

SGP006-SocceroosLAKingsResources from the episode

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Podcast transcription

Sean: Welcome to Episode 6 of Sports Geek Podcast. In this episode, we’ll talk to Rob Squillacioti about marketing the Socceroos, and we’ll back into the archives and look at last year’s Stanley Cup run of the LA Kings with Dewayne Hankins.

DJ Joel: Welcome to the Sports Geek Podcast. The podcast built for sports digital and sports business professionals. And now here is your host, whose professional sports career was tragically cut short at age 17 due to a lack of ability, Sean Callanan.

Sean: Thanks DJ Joel. My name is Sean Callanan from Sports Geek. You can find me on Twitter @Sean Callanan. I’d like to say I’m back on my feet, but at least I can say the Achilles surgery was successful. But I will be couch bound for a week or two.

Thanks to Dr. Jeff Tymms and the staff at Epworth Eastern for looking after me. Hopefully I can get back on schedule and releasing the podcast later in the week on a Friday. From next week, I didn’t want this podcast to be known as the one on the painkillers.

Also on today’s show, we’ll look at Facebook hashtags and also some of the stuff that we are doing with Twitter ads and seeing what actions and interactions you can get via those.

But to start things off, we’re going to chat with Rob Squillacioti from FFA, who runs the Socceroos marketing, and the Socceroos are currently trying to qualify for the Brazil World Cup. They won last week four nil and they need to win this Tuesday to secure their place, otherwise they go into a multiple playoff system. So here is our discussion with Francis Leach on ABC Grandstand.

Announcer: Grandstand Breakfast on Grandstand Digital.

Francis: It’s not so all right for a man, Sean Callanan, Sports Geek HQ because he’s in here with serious injury would lay him on the DL for at least about three months. What have you done, you dummy?

Sean: I’m following the lead of Kobe Bryant. I thought he was doing a great job sharing his injury with social media, so I thought I’d go and tear my Achilles, so I did follow his lead.

Francis: Basketballing?

Sean: Basketballing, and I was quite shocked. My brother sent me a text last night asking if I was going to be amnestied. So I’ve already been cut by my team. 12 months of rehab. I’m not looking forward to it, but what can you do?

Francis: Well, more time to spend in front of your computer or your tablet doing what you do best.

Sean: Exactly.

Francis: We are talking Sean Callanan, Sports Geek HQ about sports in the digital space, and around events such as the Socceroos rather compacted and important three-week period of time, no doubt traffic when it comes to the green and gold, and the round ball game goes through the roof.

Sean: It’s certainly does, a lot of national interest in the Socceroos at the minute. And the main thing is, when the national attention comes, you actually get different types of fans coming on board, fans that are just filled with national pride. They might not really be big football followers. One of the things they’ve been doing with the Socceroos, we’ve got a special guest here. He made us say his name so Rob Squillacioti, did I get that right Rob?

Rob: Squillacioti is very close Sean.

Sean: Rob is marketing manager of the FFA and looking out for the Socceroos, so we’ve got these three games. And what we’re really trying to do is to reach mainstream Australia, because we saw last night, last Tuesday, especially from a social point of view, a lot of interaction. A lot of people were watching. We saw the highs and the lows of sport. So what are some of the things that you are trying to do to get the message out about the Socceroos over these three weeks?

Rob: I guess what we’re trying to do is connect fans with the team and make them close as possible to the team. We’re trying to bring that to life in the digital space. So either through sharing a loads of behind the scenes content or just getting the players to share their experiences with the fans out there.

Francis: How do you get the players on board with that? They are so focused on this really important three weeks in their career where they’ve got to try to qualify for Brazil. I guess that the last thing they want to worry about is anybody else. Are they mindful about that responsibility to the wider public?

Rob: They certainly are mindful about what they have to do to get the nation behind them. I guess in the world we live in now, it’s not as simple as being able to lock yourself away and train and be focused. Of course that’s important for the players, but they certainly understand the job they have to do.

Sean: And they are doing a lot of community stuff anyway, social and digital, so it’s just an extension of that. They went out to schools and they do a lot of things out of those three weeks, because you can’t just be sitting in your hotel room the whole time. You will get bored, and we did have some workshops yesterday with the guys just to explain to them, one, how you can use social at a time like this, because this is when they are going to get the attention.

But also to be very mindful of, I know you used the Australian swimming team as an example yesterday, is to not let social media take over. You don’t want to be reading tweets as you’re walking in the stadium on Tuesday. You want to manage your own social, but the key thing is, and have guys like Timmy Cahill to really understand how important it is to after the game say thanks everybody, that’s great. His brand, but it’s also great for people who are trying to feel like they’re connected to the Socceroos.

Francis: And Rob, the job that Sean points out is interesting, because you’ve got people such as myself and Sean, who are diehards who will be there regardless. But there are also people who will take an occasional interest in it around major tournaments who might not know a lot about the game, but do have a keen interest to see the Socceroos do well. And to make sure that they don’t feel excluded by providing information that you assume they would know or talking about things that they might not know, you’ve got to sort of find that balance act between being an open door, a broad church, but also being savvy.

Rob: Yeah, so the way we look at it is I guess we call it the fan scale. So you’ve got that casual fan that sits with a load of national pride that may not necessarily know too much about football, but is certainly interested in Australia making the World Cup, and then down the other end, you’ve got the active supporters, who we now have a nearly established Terrace Australis Group, which will be driving the active support for the Socceroos moving forward. I guess as a result of seeing that fan scale, we have different ways of connecting with different audiences, so with the general fan, we make sure we don’t just football speech, and we’re making sure we keep it human, if that makes sense.

Sean: And the thing is, the really avid football fan, they are terribly engaged with the TV, and the thing is from a social point, you’ve got to remember that you’re the sideshow. It’s not look at me, look at me. But the casual fan, they are looking at Twitter and their social streams to get their commentary from people that they know and respect. So they might be looking for your commentary on what’s happening, because they know that you’re a football fan, but they’re also looking at the Socceroos, and they are also looking for people to have fun with, so it’s helping them enjoy that game.

So yeah, you want to make sure that you’re not tweeting about trying to explain the off side when people don’t know it. Maybe we need to provide it as an animated gift. That might reach the casual fan. We want to give it, like you said, a broad church and reach everybody.

Francis: Sean Callanan, our Sports Geek is with us. Robert Squillacioti is also, the marketing manager of Football Federation Australia, talking about digital sport, sport and the digital media and how the Socceroos are managing this very busy period of time. Just with the Socceroos’ brand and the way that it is perceived, you must be getting an interesting new window on what people think of the Socceroos because of the interactivity of the digital space, and they can talk about what they expect of the team and what their perception of it are. Has that been a bit of a revelation Rob?

Rob: Yeah. With social I guess exploding and coming to life over the last couple of years, we’ve, rather than see it as a barrier; we’ve seen it as an opportunity to engage our fans and start to talk about and actually research and seed bits and pieces about the Socceroos brand.

So for example, I guess there are loads of discussions about where we play and the stadiums we play in, and so over the last 12 months, we’ve just been seeding questions and asking our fans where they actually want to see the national team playing. It doesn’t mean we are necessarily going to change it straight away, but it certainly allows us to work on the brand and work on the overall experience, because the way we look at it, it’s end-to-end experience.

It’s not just the moment you leave your front door or to the moment you come back in. It’s actually the moment you start to connect with the brand and then maybe drop it off as it peaks around matches. How do we bring that back to life?

Francis: And I guess with the Asian Cup just now less than 18 months away, the long-term goal is to educate and get people excited about what’s not only the Socceroos journey through that but hosting the tournament as well.

Rob: Yeah.

Sean: It’s going to be, yeah. The Asian Cup is still an awareness thing. You know as we were talking about before on that fan scale, the avid fans will know that it’s coming and know the significance and the size of this tournament. But yeah, it’s the casual fans, but they are going to find out about it over the next several months, if I have my way, that know what this tournament is about and know that they’ll be able to see some great football.

Rob: And we have a great local organizing committee that’s headed up by Michael Brown, the CEO of the Asian Cup, their main job at the moment is to build awareness, so to build an understanding of what the tournament is and what it is all about. It is the most watched event in Asia when it comes to any sport. So it’s certainly got great global scale, and we’ve just got to make sure that we educate the Australian market and our fans on what it’s all about.

Francis: Can I ask from your point of view is there a particular social platform that has been the most busy for the Football Federation, for the Socceroos? Are you getting a sense of what platform fans are gravitating to more than the others?

Rob: Yeah. I think that’s an interesting question. I think Twitter is the answer for us. We have a great positive in being that everyone wants to talk about football. So we’re not trying to poke you and prod you and get your comments on the game. So Twitter allows us to be instantaneous as you both know. It allows us to essentially just have that conversation. The way I talk about it is like the conversation we’re having right now, just facilitated through Twitter. So we’re certainly seeing more success. I think we’re getting better at Facebook with the help of . . .

Sean: Yeah, I think it does lend itself to Twitter. I mean Twitter lends itself to live sports, and it’s conversational. Facebook is still a little bit one way. Still a little bit of broadcast and you engage. Whereas Twitter is everyone’s all in, and you will definitely see that this Tuesday and next Tuesday.

If you don’t know the Socceroos game is on and you’re on Twitter, then you’re doing something wrong, because you know, seven degrees of separation, you will have a Socceroos fan in your feed that starts talking about the game. We were talking to the guys at the SBS about the tune in factor and the broadcasters, it is really powerful. I’m sure a whole bunch of people change channels, when Tommy Orr kicked that goal to find out what happened.

Francis: Is there a case also that once you had engaged people through social media, the challenge is to make them feel like they belong and therefore, they are engaged for the long haul? It’s one thing to invite them to the front door and it’s another thing for them to come and sit inside the house.

Rob: Definitely. From our point of view, I guess a lot of brands try to commercialize social and we a long time ago, realized that’s not the way to do it.

Francis: It’s a turn off.

Rob: That’s right. So we are more about telling the story. So once we have you engaged, we want to tell you the story. We want to educate you more and bring you closer to the brand, not necessarily always the players, but bring you closer to what the Socceroos represent.

Francis: Well, it’s going to be a great night Tuesday night and then the following Tuesday as well. So you are going to be a very busy man, Robert.

Rob: That’s right.

Francis: And hopefully the trip to Brazil on the back of that, and then I guess that’s when it goes to a whole new level if the Socceroos qualify for 2014 in Brazil in terms of the public engagement with the team and with the concept of football.

Rob: No doubt. Making the World Cup is certainly our objective. We’ve got two big games as you say, one on Tuesday night against Jordan and then the following week against Iraq. We are very, very excited. The team is very, very excited as well and very focused, I must say. When we get to the World Cup, we’re certainly do and we’re already working on planning how we can try and gravitate ourselves towards that interest and bring people together and directly connect with them through digital.

Francis: Devastating news for the whole team is that Sean Callanan is unavailable for the remainder of this series though with this nasty injury. Sean, thanks for coming.

Sean: Thank you very much Francis. I’ll be tweeting photos as I do, following Kobe Bryant’s lead.

Francis: Good luck, mate. Thank you very much for coming, and Sean Callanan, our sports geek. Robert Squillacioti from FFA, Marketing Manager, Rob, thanks for being here, and good luck over the next few weeks.

Rob: No problem.

DJ Joel: You’re listening to the Sports Geek Podcast, tag your tweets, SGP.

Sean: Thanks to Rob for that chat and congrats to the Socceroos for winning last week against Jordan, 4, zip, and they play Iraq this Tuesday night. As I said before, if they win, they’re in. Some of the other things we’ve been doing with the Soccerros is some definite influence and outreach, making sure that celebrities and influences, but the main influences are the players. Using the main hashtag, which is Go Socceroos, it’s good to have the guys at SBS and Fox Sports onboard pushing that hashtag and getting the players involved.

The other one was actually having a Socceroos Chat, which we ran on Wednesday when we had the Socceroos captain, Lucas O’Neil actually answering the fans questions for a quick half hour chat with the fans. It went very well and was very well received by the fans. But when we’re talking about Twitter, pretty much everyone was talking about the LA Kings last year during the Stanley Cup and the way that they took a brash trash talking attitude all the way to a Stanley Cup win.

Francis and I caught up with Dewayne Hankins from the LA Kings. He was at the LA Kings when we spoke to him. He is now at the Portland Trailblazers. So here is our discussion with Dewayne about what the LA Kings did and why they took that strategy during the playoffs. I hope you enjoy.

Francis: Good morning Sean Callanan, sports geek, digital guru, how are you this morning?

Sean: I’m good, thanks. Good to be here.

Francis: Good Sean. It’s good to have you on. I wonder if the Leeds won. I did a bit of an old fashioned on Twitter. We should check.

Sean: I haven’t checked. I do know that the Storm, Dan from the Storm is over there providing live tweets from the game. Check the hashtag WCC. I sure do think the leagues are on Twitter.

Francis: It’s so old school. I thought they’d still be sending telegrams.

Sean: Yeah, no. I would put a bet on that Leeds are on as a guess.

Francis: Most good sporting franchises around the world do use it, but sometimes, that’s funny, Manchester United doesn’t.

Sean: Manchester United is still one of the ones that’s standing alone in not having a twitter account.

Francis: What’s that about?

Sean: Officially they said that they didn’t see any commercial benefit for that, and it’s actually a strange one. Occasionally I would sort of hear people say that about different platforms. Why should we . . . Manchester and I were saying why should we be on Twitter?

Francis: Well, apparently you can make any money out of it.

Sean: Yeah, exactly, or why should we be doing Instagram. And sometimes we don’t have a direct commercial benefit in that. Oh, we’ll send out a tweet or we’ll sell stuff. Now, that said . . .

Francis: Is it because Alex Ferguson can’t operate a mobile phone?

Sean: Again, he doesn’t need to do it. It’s not necessary for Alex to be on. But there definitely is commercial benefit to building that relationship with your fans, building their brand and then there is that opportunities to put that Call to Action to sell tickets, sell merchandise, all of those kinds of things. But the main thing is building that relationship with your fans and you’re communicating with them more.

So that’s the commercial benefit for all of these forms, whether it’s Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest or whatever it is. It’s like that’s the opportunity to do it right. You can find those different markets and build up that fan base and if that fan base, and then if that fan base comes more enamored with you, that’s what you want to do.
Francis: And I can confirm that Leeds United have moved to the digital age, with 30,000 followers, and I just joined to be the next one.

Sean: We just might have to have an assessment of how they are going against the Melbourne Storm online while the match is actually happening and look a little bit at their game day coverage.

Francis: If you use it clever, and you’re funny and witty, and you know how to connect with your tribe, as you call it, you can get massive mileage out of it, and we’re going to speak to somebody whose job it is to do just that with a couple of American sporting franchises.

Sean: Well, exactly, and especially when you’re running a club account as opposed to say a league account. You’re really talking directly to your fans, and that’s how we sort of advice all of our clubs. I mean, you’re in our league, you’re our fans, and you’ll be deciding to follow it, but their key market that their talking to is their fan. Now they might have casual fans or someone that’s just following along to keep up with the news, but you really wanting to talk to your super avid fan that love everything you do. I love the term from positive deviance. It just describes sports fans perfectly. Like they are just so wanting to express their passions, say how much they love the team, do whatever you want as far as please retweet, use our hashtag, show how much you support us, so you want to be talking to those kinds of fans.

If the opposition fan don’t love what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter, because you’re serving your fans, the one’s that you’re monetizing, as everyone likes to say. They want to monetize social media. They are the ones that’s going to bring money in your club, and give love to your sponsors, and turn up to your events and games so they are your key customers. They are the ones that you have to look after.

Francis: And that’s exactly the job that Dewayne has.

Sean: Yeah, so I think we’ve got Dewayne Hankins from the LA Kings. He works at AAG Sports and is one of the guys behind the LA Kings and the digital strategy behind of what the LA Kings have been doing. Good day, Dewayne.

Dewayne: Good morning gentlemen, how are you?

Francis: Really well, Dewayne. The Kings had an amazing last year in the run to the Stanley Cup, and I guess when you come into focus, when you make the playoffs, did you notice at the time that the interest in the Kings’ Twitter account went through the roof around that time?

Dewayne: Yes. I believe our first sort of effort to kind of get the ordinary NHL fan to notice would have probably after Game One, when we tweeted to the fans at Vancouver. I think it was something along the lines of, to everybody outside of the DC, you’re welcome. And that was a bit of a dig at the Canucks, because, for those of you who are not familiar, Vancouver has an incredible following in their home province of British Columbia, but outside of their province, most of the other Canadian teams really don’t like them. So we fit right into that political minefield, if you will.

Francis: Did you cop a lot of hate for that tweet?

Dewayne: Yeah. I think if there wasn’t a line before, I think we definitely found the line then in terms of agitating our opponent for sure. But there was more written about the tweet the next day than the actual game itself in the newspaper. So that’s something that it’s funny and everything, and you can laugh about it, but really the story should have been about the guys on the ice and the win that they had over that team, not about what we were saying.

Sean: Hi Dewayne, there are a lot of teams that say that kind of thing and see the potential risk if you don’t continue to win, your account is going to cop it, but at the time, it was one of the most re-tweeted tweets of all times. And since, it was surpassed by T. J. Ford and his comments on the NFL for a Monday night football game. But obviously, your fans completely rallied around it, and it rallied around the attitude that you guys showed throughout those playoffs.

Dewayne: Absolutely, and I think for us, we took a bit of a tone going into the playoffs that said, you know what, we’re the eight seed. We barely made it into these playoffs. Let’s play the underdog card and let’s go out there. And again, you have to give most of the credit to the team obviously, because they went 16 and four and did not look like an eighth seed. We had a 3 and 0 lead in every one of our best of seven series. So they really allowed us to do our job really, really effectively, because our fans were just really enjoying the ride. There was really no point at which our team look like it was going to be in any kind of trouble until the Stanley Cup Final, when we actually did get pushed to a Game Six for the first time.

Francis: Dewayne, in this sports market credit is the one that you’re in even though LA doesn’t have a NFL team, they’re interested in the American football massive and college sports are big, and hockey has to find its corner probably more than almost any of the professional sports, do you have to look for a point of difference in your social media strategy to connect with fans to galvanize those that are onboard already and give them a sense of tribal identity, but also try to attract new fans?

Dewayne: Yeah, that’s exactly what we do. So we’re certainly not as large of a fan base as the Lakers, even the Clippers at this point, and definitely not the Dodgers, a very crowded marketplace. You also have UFC Football, but we have a very, very passionate fan base, a tribe. I like that term that you guys use to call it, because that’s exactly what they are to us and if we play to their strength on social media, especially on Twitter, we converse with them, if we get them to rally behind us, as a tribe, we can become a very loud minority. And we definitely saw that with the last playoffs season for sure.

Sean: After the Stanley Cup win, there was obviously the issue with the lockout. How much of that was very tough? We spoke to the NBA guys as they were going through the lockout. How tough was that as a team. You had all of this momentum that effective stopped with the work stoppage. How did you guys handle that and obviously how you are wrapping things up with the season progressing?

Dewayne: You know I think we had it easier than the other teams in the league, obviously coming off of the Stanley Cup title. The one thing that we did really well on the ground here in Los Angeles is, we had, the lockout certainly went on longer than it should have, but that meant we were able to have the Stanley Cup longer than we should had. So we had a lot of events locally to make sure that fans got their time in with the Cup. Although we obviously couldn’t utilize the players, we did want our fans to know that there was a passionate relationship that we share with them.

That honeymoon did start to die down, I’ll be honest, around December and January when the season wasn’t getting up and running. Once the season was announced, our President CEO Tim Leiweke, he did say, you know what, we don’t want to apologize over what we did, we want to go out and win another championship for you guys. And so what we did when the lockout ended, I think we donated a million dollars to local charities and said I hope this is the end of it, and now let’s go out and win another Stanley Cup.

Francis: Dewayne Hankins is with us. He’s the senior director of the Digital Strategy at AAG Sports, which includes the LA Kings, the current Stanley Cup holder in here in America’s National Hockey League. Dewayne, in terms of the fans that you attract, what is the demographic? Can you get a really good sense of who become King fans? And are you surprised? Does Twitter open your eyes to the fact that you might have a different fan base than to the one you thought you might have had?

Dewayne: No. I mean it actually does register pretty well with our actual demographics that we see on the ticketing side. It’s 70% males, that males 25 -40, so that plays right into the wheel house of Twitter. We definitely have a loud and loyal minority fan base that’s female as well. But yeah, those are the people that come to games and they engage with us in social media.

Francis: Great to talk to you. The season so far for you guys?

Dewayne: We got off to a bit of a slow start. Our team would not want to be referred to as a Stanley Cup hangover, because as our coach says, he did not have one. He knows what they are, but he did not have one. And I think the team is kind of getting off and running. I do think it’s interesting; the Kings were a team, as I said last year that barely made it into the post season. And this year, it’s a shorter season, a slower start, but I think they’ve won our last couple of games. We’ve got a game here on Saturday against Colorado, so we’ll see what happens. I think either way for us, it’s trying to keep it fun, trying to keep it entertaining. As much as we take digs from other teams and other fans of teams, we also know when we can take digs at ourselves.

Sean: That’s the thing now is that you can’t be playing the underdog tag when you’ve got the Cup back at the LA Kings headquarters.

Dewayne: That’s correct. So it would be like the Yankees, if they had sort of that mentality. So that still doesn’t mean we can’t be humorous, interact with our fans, have fun with our fans, and so we’ll probably become a bit more modest with our rings on our fingers, but we certainly still have fun.

Francis: Good luck with the remainder of the year, and we’ll follow closely on Twitter. Thank you for talking to us today, Dewayne.

Sean: Thanks Dewayne.

Dewayne: Thank you gentlemen. Always a pleasure.

Francis: Dewayne Hankins, who is as I said, Digital Strategy Manager at AEG Sports which includes the LA Kings, who are the current Stanley Cup holders. It’s good of you to come in again, Sean.

Sean: No problem.

Francis: How can we find you while we’re flipping through our Leeds rhinos tweets today?

Sean: @Sean Callanan or @Sports Geek or sportsgeekhq.com.

DJ Joel: Go to Sportsgeek.hq.com for more digital marketing resources.

Sean: Thanks to Dewayne for that chat. As I said Dewayne is no longer with AEG Sports. He’s now at the Portland Trailblazers, and I really should mention the other guy who’s behind the LA Kings, Pat Donohue, Jr., who is now still running things behind the Kings and doing a fine job, although they did go out before the Stanley Cup Finals.

So a couple of other things, big news this week from Facebook is to follow the lead of Twitter, introducing hashtags on Facebook. For mine, I think this is one where we are going to freak out the general public that are on Facebook that don’t know what a hashtag is. I definitely think that Facebook botched the launch sending out the press release saying that hashtags are on Facebook when they were not active for another 18 to 24 hours. I definitely think they should have just installed them, let people find them naturally as they have with other networks, and then done the press release to show off that they are working.

The other thing is Facebook privacy or little privacy options that they do have do make the hashtag a little bit harder to implement. Twitter, obviously everyone is in a public sphere unless you’ve got a protected account, but in Facebook, everyone has different privacy settings, so that will definitely change what you find when you’re using a hashtag.

But it will be interesting to see if you get your fans to be using your team’s hashtags in their Facebook feed. If that’s the case, I would say it makes sense to throw one of your hashtags on your Facebook post every now and again. But for mine, I would not go hashtag crazy, because if we know anything from Facebook fans, the do not like change, and putting more hashtags into your Facebook post might actually annoy more fans than bring them onboard. So that’s pretty much it for Facebook on hashtags.

Lastly, I’ve been playing with the Twitter Ads with Melbourne Storm recently in trying to sell season tickets and game tickets with Melbourne Storm. In just looking at their model, and their model is primarily cost per engagement so it’s not actually cost per click. You actually pay for replies, re-tweets, and the like so you’re not actually paying for the click, so there are definitely some options right there. You want to make sure you’re creating tweets that don’t enforce people to click on a hashtag or to do another action, because you might not actually get the action that you want.

From what we’ve seen so far, using them with Melbourne Storm, we’ve got some pretty good results as far as getting the impressions out there, and primarily most of the clicks have been on the link for the ticketing link. We’ve got a check ticketing data to see how they actually went from a sales point of view.

The main thing is the targeting options you have for Twitter Ads, and I’m actually thinking about doing a longer pod, maybe getting some of the Twitter Ads teams on to discuss some of the different products available. Primarily, you’re pretty much targeting on followers of other accounts. So you’re pretty much trying to target other accounts on who you want your message in front.

One of the things that I do like is the tweet that’s not a tweet. So with the Twitter Ad product, you can actually set up a tweet that won’t actually appear in your timeline and it won’t actually appear in your tweet, but it will appear as a promoted tweet to the people you are targeting. So it allows you to mix up your message a little bit and not effectively expand your timeline. Whereas most of the other tweets will be promoted tweets or tweets that you’ve already done, and just give them a little bit more life in the same way that a promoted post works on Facebook.

So as I’ve said, we were doing this for two weeks. I’ve got a little bit more analysis to do to come back to you, but so far it’s been interesting, definitely interesting to look at the analytics. We did see the Twitter release analytics. If you do have Analytics, you should be able to pin a tweet, and that tweet will appear promoted on your Twitter Page.

Never fear, that’s just an added extra for anyone who’s got Analytics. You don’t actually have to pay for that tweet. So if you think for some reason that Twitter is going to start charging you for promoting your tweets, that is not the case. It’s just the fact that you’ve got Analytics, and if you pin a tweet to the top, it will appear that it is promoted by you, but it really is just keeping that tweet to the top of your Twitter page.

So that’s it for this week. A couple of things just to wrap up, now taking listeners’ Q&A via SpeakPipe. So if you go to sportsgeekhq.com/sgp, there is a little icon on the side there, you can leave a voicemail. I would love to get some questions into this podcast and take them on board, so please send them in.

Alternatively, if you don’t like the sound of your own voice, just send us a tweet, tag it Sport Geek. And lastly, good luck to the Socceroos. That’s it for today’s show. As I said, hopefully next week, I’ll be back on track at the end of the week, and we’ll launching on Fridays from Australia in the States.

I’m going to leave you with at the end, there are bonus materials at the end just to give you an idea of what it’s like at the end of an AFL game when the crowd starts cheering and singing the Club’s song. This is from a couple of weeks ago before I lost my phone and had to put it in for repairs, but this is after recording with one, and you can a feel for the Australian culture of sports and the fact that we all get up and sing the Club song after the match.

My name is Sean Callanan from Sports Geek. Thank you very much for all of the reviews and comments from iTunes. I really appreciate them. If you can leave a comment or a rating, that would be great. Until next week, I will speak to you soon.

DJ Joel: Please leave a review on iTunes. Go to sportsgeekhq.com/itunes. Go to sportsgeekhq.com for more sports digital marketing resources. Thanks for listening to the Sports Geek Podcast.


#WriteTheFuture, Foursquare Search, Amare & Steele

New form of Athlete endorsement?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best On Ground

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

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

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

YouTube Clip of the Week

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

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

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

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