SGP 024: @Arsenal content strategy and @WestCoastEagles digital plans

Here is how @MrRichardClarke sees an @Arsenal game - check out Arsenal PlayerRichard Clarke is the managing editor for Arsenal Media Group driving all the content for Arsenal fans around the world, we chat with him on ABC Grandstand.  In a recent visit to Perth I sat down with Matthew Gepp to discuss what has worked for West Coast Eagles and what they have planned for 2014.


On this podcast you’ll find out about:

  • What are key drivers for Arsenal Media group?
  • Why Arsenal is in the global fan development business
  • How Arsenal fans compare around the world
  • Importance of appealing to your aspirant fans
  • How Arsenal integrate players into Twitter engagement
  • How West Coast Eagles use Eagles Vision to connect with fans across Western Australia
  • Importance of educating athletes on positives and negatives of social media
  • Understanding your fan demographic when posting content
  • Value of social media promotion for your branded content

We chat to Matthew Gepp from West Coast Eagles from inside Patersons StadiumResources from the episode

Congrats to @Arsenal


Social Media Post of the Week

This post is from from FC Augsburg, why don’t more teams use puppets?  Please tweet in your nominations for social media post of the week to @SportsGeek or @seancallanan.

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Podcast transcription

Sean: Welcome to episode 24 of the Sports Geek podcast. On todays’ episode we talk content with Richard Clark from the Arsenal Media Group and we sit down with Matthew Gepp from the West Coast Eagles to talk digital and fan engagement.

DJ: Welcome to the Sports Geek podcast, the podcast built for sports digital and sports business professionals. And now here’s your host, who introduced Twitter to Australia, Sean Callanan.

Sean: Thanks Dj Joel and yes I remember Twitter Brekky as it was known on Twitter quite fondly running a couple of events at Etihad Stadium and at the SCG where we helped Twitter introduce itself to the Australian market and the sports entertainment market, so that was a fun couple of events and I’ll link the show notes back to those events. My name is Sean Callanan from Sports Geek, hopefully after 24 episodes you do know that. Thank you again for downloading and listening to the podcast. We recently reached the 7500 downloads milestone, so very proud of what we’ve done so far. I’m looking forward to producing more content for you guys in the sports digital space to help you do what you do best. On today’s episode I’m lucky enough to chat with Richard Clark, the managing editor for the Arsenal Media Group and specifically talking about content and what they produce for Arsenal fans. And then recently I was over in Perth talking strategy and planning for next season with the West Coast Eagles. So I sat down with Matthew Gepp and talked about what they do from a point of view of digital, social and fan engagement. Later in the podcast a new segment for the Sports Geek podcast.

Grandstand Breakfast on Grandstands digital.

Francis: – Good day Sean how’s it going?

Sean: I’m good thanks Francis. Yourself?

Francis: Not too bad, I’d be better if you turn on you mike I reckon.

Sean: Is that better? Do you hear me now?

Francis: We can hear you now. How’s your week been?

Sean: It’s been pretty good. Spent some time over in Perth with the West Coast Eagles. Working with different time zones, but yeah it’s been a fun week.

Francis: It’s been interesting as a baseball fan, you know Red Sox fan, watching the world series roll through the last few games and just seeing some diagnostics as they call it in the industry on the world series on social media. Just the level that it reached. It’s a great game for people because you’ve got the time to indulge in the second screen experience.

Sean: Yeah definitely and I think also, just the fact that the amount of fans… you know the initial reaction as a classic photo where people are sort of showing their growth on social media. They’ve been using the Popes’ inauguration five or six years ago on the personal phone, in the last one everyone had a phone. That’s what I saw at the Boston Red Sox, it’s like baseball shared a wine in the stands. Everyone was jumping up and down, but they were all jumping with their phones out. So the amount of content that has being pumped out of fan way from that first person experience, and you as a mad Red Sox fan, gets to take in that experience. And even talking to Peter Stringer at the Boston Celtics, he was remembering 2008 as a Celtics fan, but just the amount of content that’s getting shared from even that short period of time from the fans point of view it just makes everyone feel a little bit closer.

Francis: Just the way that it’s presented though, the sport, there seems to be a pattern of genericsism coming through. And we’ve seen that in the major league baseball has a template for sharing content across all the franchises and it’s great, it’s accessible, it’s quick, it’s incredibly tactile, so you can use it really simply, but it looks very similar. And now we’re seeing that with the AFL. They’re doing the same thing; they haven’t come up with anything. It has quite the same depth to it, it’s not quite the same way, but it feels the same way. So the media’s gone inhouse and are now providing their own content to their fans by passing traditional media.

Sean: Yes, so the major league baseball model’s the one that’s trying to be replicated, so there’s major league baseball advanced media, they’re the tech company behind it and they produce a lot of content for a lot of the teams, so that’s why there’s a little bit of the sameness. It provides a shared services model and yeah we’re seeing leagues sort of follow that. The NBA has something similar. All of the sites are the same and AFL is following the same path, sort of the same department. It’s a model that lets you provide league wise system and a certain level of service. Whereas if you look at the UK and Europe and the big football power houses, they all have their own media organizations in their own rights. They set up their own website, they’ve got their own TV channels and producing absolute mountains of content, but without the restrictions of ‘It’s got to be in this framework. It’s got to be in this style website, or it’s ‘all gonna be in this style app’. So there’s a lot more flexibility that the football teams in the UK and Europe have.

Francis: And they can control their editorial direction.

Sean: Well yeah exactly. And they get to tell their own story and produce content that’s specific to their fans and customize it however they want.

Francis: With that though it probably does create you know haves and have nots. Clubs that can’t do and clubs that can do. We’re the biggest one’s currently in the world who are making the most of social media as a way to reach out. Particularly goes with the global branding.

Sean: Well from a UK football point of view… and I think we’ve got Richard Clark on the line. We’re trying to get him as we speak. He should be at the phone, he’s just putting the kids to bed. Arsenal are doing a great job I don’t need to tell you that.

Francis: No I’ve been a member and subscriber to the Arsenal flyer so I use it as a first point of view for the call a lot of the time when it comes to information on the club.

Sean: Yes, so they’ve got a… from the digital point of view, they’ve got digital membership and they’ve got a bunch of programming that is specific to the Arsenal fan. Whether it be around match day, or with previews, and highlights to the location specific content to setting up country specific pages from a social media point of view to reach out to those fans.

Francis: So they do it literally region by region?

Sean: Yeah they do and that’s what it does offer them, but the thing is, where it is different, they’ve got a whole content strategy about ‘’Well we’ve got to deliver to our fans’’ and the idea is to build that relationship with your fans so you can upscale them and sell merchandise and all that kind of things. The commercialization comes after it, but they’re just producing absolutely awesome content and the fact that they’ve got that platform with the Arsenal player… if you haven’t signed up and haven’t looked at it… every time I come in here you’re showing me off different things and I was actually showing the guys at West Coast they had slow motion recap of the game and it was very pretty.

Francis: That was the Arsenal-Tottenham game from early in the season. It was an eight minute mini film that took you from walking through the front door with the players into the change room, out on the pitch ground level, footage of the game itself which was different to word by word description of the match and it gave you a sense of being on the stadium. It was a really nice, concise and, as a fan, totally captivating vision. If you can never get to the Emriates Stadium at least you felt like you were there. It was a really smart move.

Sean: Yeah and so the difference is, unlike other teams, we can look at the NBA, and Major League Baseball and AFL, a lot of that is getting cut from the vision the broadcasters are doing, whereas Arsenal’s got their own entity, their own cameraman, you’re getting a completely different perspective.

Francis: They also provide their own in house commentary too, so you can listen to the Arsenal call of the game with an Arsenal perspective. Richard Clark the managing editor at Arsenal Media Group in London there in Highbridge house and he joins us here on Grandstand. Good day Richard how’s it going?

Richard: I’m very well. How are you?

Francis: Really well. Just quickly, well we talked about the film, as an example, that the team there at Arsenal Media made, around the Tottenham Hotspur derby, the north London derby, earlier this year as an example of how smart or misspoke media content for the website. Tell us about putting that together, it looked like an enormous amount of resources went into that.

Richard: There were a lot of resources going into it. We have an international television show. It goes out to a hundred countries, twenty six broadcasters tape that. And that was part of that, it was actually produced for that, but we produced a different cut which went on the website. A slightly more extended cut. So resources were thrown into that. We had maybe three or four people working on it, two cameramen, two producers. We have a huge team on a match day because we’re doing a tone of content across all of our media, from TV, certain media, digital, everything. So everyone chipped in on that particular piece.

Sean: So Richard just from an overall content and strategy point of view. What’s your key driver, running your apartment? What are you trying to get out of everything that you are delivering over all the platforms?

Richard: We’re trying to reach and engage with Arsenal fans all over the world. We’ve got… fortunately we’ve got one of the most historic football clubs to work with and arguably the most global sporting league in the world. And that’s a wonderful asset to have. I’m an Arsenal fan; I grew up as an Arsenal fan. I love the club and I see my job as trying to create Arsenal fans around the world, all over the world and to give them that love of the club that I grew up with.

Francis: And doing that I guess there were different expectations across borders and culturally and that must be difficult to manage sometimes, because you’re not speaking to a homogenous audience at all.

Richard: You know what. I’m not sure I agree with that because I’ve been all over the world watching Arsenal, and covering Arsenal, working for Arsenal. Whether I’ve been to China, or whether I’ve been to the USA, or whether I’ve been to… wherever. If you go in a bar and watch Arsenal play what you will see is fans, tens of fans, hundreds of fans, depending on where you are, they will be wearing Arsenal shirts and they will be singing exactly the same song you hear in the stadium, because they are aspirant in my opinion, to the fans within the stadium. So I actually try to appeal to them in the same way, because those fans around the world, when they go into the bar, they are trying to be those fans in the stadium. Be as close as they can, dress the same way, talk the same way, discuss the same things, chant the same songs, and that makes it a little bit easier than you would expect.

Sean: So Richard what are some of the content types and I guess segments that are really hitting the mark for Arsenal fans?

Richard: Well we have something called Twitter takeover which is something we’ve developed ourselves, or at least twisted our own way. And that is… we have an hour where we do this Twitter take over and we’re gonna have six players coming in. And we will not give you notice of who it is. But we’ll tell you for example: ‘’Thursday morning ten to eleven’’. So just before the first guy comes in we’ll say: ‘’Ok, it’s Olivier Giroud, get your questions in now’’. It’s an immediate thing, it’s a rush, it’s a buzz. We set up a hash tag #ask Giroud’ we’re giving them a little bit more of a close up experience, so he does ten minutes of q and a with the fans and then we say: ‘’Ok the next guy is, Santi Cazorla’’, and the hash tag is #ask Cazorla’ in he goes. That has been a fantastic driver for us. Fans actually love that. We’ve managed to have that hash tag ‘ask Giroud’ ‘ask Cazorla’ or whoever it may be, very often out trending number one globally. So that’s (12:43 not hearable) social media, piece of content at the moment.

Sean: Well you must be doing something right. I think you’re about to take over three million Twitter followers which will put you at the fifth most… fifth biggest football, or sports team in the world.

Richard: Yeah that’s right. We’ll be… we’re pretty much been the biggest Premiere league team on Twitter and we are very, very excited about that. Eight thousand away, I think, at I speak at the moment from three million, and we’ll be the fifth biggest sports team in the world. That’s a big thing for us and we know that we need to grow and develop that particular presence, because obviously social media is the easiest way to talk to your fans, directly to your fans, engage with your fans, and we need to get a bit more sophisticated, we need to do more; I’m not satisfied with that three million figure. I want grow it and develop… as I say create those Arsenal fans around the world. That’s really what I see my job to be.

Francis: Richard Clark’s with us, managing director of Arsenal Media Group in London. Richard what about the buy in? You need the buy in from the coach and from the players. Do they get it and is it hard to have them? You know there are so many demands on their plate and sometimes twice a week travelling, a hell of a lot. How difficult is it to have them fully engaged with this, so that they provide such an experience for the fans?

Richard: Players are very, very amenable. Yeah they’re obviously under time constraints, and pressure, and the play lots of games a season, sixty games a season, between the middle of August and the middle of May. But you’ve got a player like Lucas Podolski who… another piece we did, we did learning London with Lucas Podolski. We got him into a black cab and drove him around London for a couple of hours, filming it for our TV show. A piece of it went on the site. He was tweeting as he went, and posting pictures, etc, etc. and that created a buzz in itself. He wasn’t really supposed to be a live event, but it turned into a live. That’s just one of the examples of our players basically going with us in what we want do and the way we want to contact and engage with our fans. So they’re a pretty good bunch I’ve gotta say.

Sean: So if you’ve got them aboard then you’re half way there. Good of you to talk to us and good luck with the game coming against Liverpool this weekend.

Richard: Thanks very much. Cheers now.

Francis: Richard Clark managing editor at Arsenal Media Group. On the grand thermometer of sports teams actually using social media as a main cut through when it comes to building their supporter base and their brands.

Sean: And the thing here is it’s about driving traffic and checking out their website. I mean works on mobile, sponsor design, all that kind of stuff. If you haven’t checked out what Rich and the Arsenal guys are doing I’d definitely suggest you do so.

Francis: Sean where can people find you in the digital realm?

Sean: or if they just look up Sports Geek in iTunes.

Francis: It will be there. Thank you very much sir.

Sean: Thanks mate.

DJ: If you need help with your content look in for a content brainstorming session with Sports Geek now. Go to

Sean: Thanks again to Richard Clark from Arsenal Group for joining us on ABC Grandstand. I was hoping we would open with a long time listener-first time caller, but again great to have you on and congratulations for reaching that three million follower milestone on Twitter. And if you haven’t checked out what Rich is doing there at Arsenal go to and check out some of the contents that their playing. There’ll be some links in the show notes to some of the things that we discussed, like the slow motion video effect that they put out. So I hope to have Rich back on the show, maybe for a little bit of a longer chat later in the Premiere league season. As mentioned on that Grandstand view I was in Perth catching up with the guys of the West Coast Eagles. They’ve been a client for a couple of years so we’re doing a little bit of a review of 2013 and looking forward to 2014 and what we can do in digital and social over the next twelve to eighteen months. So I was able to sit down with Matthew Gepp from the West Coast Eagles and discuss those planes for the podcast. Here it is.

Sean: Very pleased to welcome from the West Coast Eagles, been working with him for a couple of years now, Matthew Gepp. Welcome Matthew to the Sports Geek podcast.

Matthew: Thank you very much for having me Sean.

Sean: First of all just introduce yourself to the Sports Geek podcast listeners. Can you tell us a little bit about how long you’ve been with the Eagles and what your role is at the Eagles?

Matthew: Sure. So my title is that I am the coordinator for social and digital, so all the fun stuff we’ve got around the football club to do. I’ve been here for nearly three years now. I was the first person in this role, they created it out of need I would think.

Sean: Yeah you can thank me any time.

Matthew: I will. So Sean was laying the ground right before I actually started here, so I was like his first protégé to look after when I first came on, so we’ve done some good work together.

Sean: In that time the digital department from the Eagles point of view is really growing, as it has with all the teams, so what’s the makeup of your digital team and the production at the Eagles.

Matthew: It’s all done through our communications department. Compared to some of the footy clubs we’ve got a pretty small communications department. There’s myself in charge of all the website and all the digital. We have another guy that’s in charge of all multimedia. We’ve got a media liaison who’s also now doubling as a multimedia guru as well. We have two camera guys. And we have a media liaison over in Melbourne dealing with the Melbourne press. Obviously we’re so far away we need to kind of keep ourselves relevant and that is his job over there.

Sean: Thank you for providing us… we’re actually over at West Coast Eagles. We’re recording this in; I think you turned it into the dungeon where you record a lot of your digital and audio video.

Matthew: It’s exactly what it is and that’s what we refer to it. The players know…. That’s the dungeon, that’s where we record all the content for the club. We work at Paterson Stadium which is a blessing cause we’re right near the Oval, but it’s also negative because we run out of space, so we converted an old property storage closet…

Sean: So that’s the smell?

Matthew: That’s the smell. …into this recording studio and we record all of the Eagles Vision which is our TV program, all the interview, player interviews are done here. We record the podcast, so there’s five guys in here sometimes. And just outside those doors is where the players will record all the challenges and all the stuff that we do for the website and for the TV show and bits like that. So yeah all the content’s filmed and recorded in here.

Sean: So you’ve got Eagles Vision and we had a chat with Jonathan and gone down the path of doing a TV show. You guys have Eagles Vision that runs on Channel 7 locally and then you sort of follow that similar path of taking those pieces cause a lot of it is storytelling, featuring the players, featuring what they’re doing in the community, a bit of back story. You want to tell us a little bit about Eagle Vision and sort of where that’s positioned in what you guys are doing?

Matthew: Eagle Vision is indicated on the 7 network and on JWN site. It’s a half an hour program that normally runs prior to a West Coast game on the weekend so ties in well with obviously what they’re showing. As you said it tells the story from inside the footy club. Now not like the club in Hangadoo in terms of the other kind of football orientated programs we’re seeing. We kind of tell the stories about the guys going out to school, they show us what’s in their fridge, we do a tour of their house, catch out with their pets… So it’s a kind of a light hearted look. It’s different then a football game on the weekends. It’s a side of the guys that you probably never normally get to see. So we like to holler that, and all the pretty blokes, most of them. So we like to give them a bit of air time and let people get to know them and especially the fans that live down in Cumberland. They can’t get down to a game and try to meet these guys. This is probably the best chance they’ve got, apart from jumping on Twitter, to converse with the guys.

Sean: I guess it’s useful to point out for people who are listening overseas, just the space size of Western Australia. We’ll put it in the show notes, but Perth is at the bottom corner of Western Australia, pretty much a third of West Australia. Very spread out as far as the population goes. But for a long while you were Western Australia’s only AFL team. The Dockers have since come on to also compete in this space. From a digital point of view and some of the content that you’re putting out, you mentioned there that obviously the players are getting engaged on social. How do you try to leverage what they’re doing in sort of keeping them in line, but also use their content with in you’re trying to do?

Matthew: Keeping them in line is always fun. I always look at it.. and when talking to other people… when you have a younger brother, the one that’s twenty years old; the way that he uses social media and the way that I use social media is very different and these guys are in the same age demographic, most of them. Some of the guys are a little bit older and they don’t use it at all, but, with the young guys for us it’s all about education. The more they now about it, the more they know about the dangers and the pros and cons of social media, the better. We’re trying to educate them as often as possible, and if there’s any changes, these things can change, putting platform in a couple of weeks and you have to be across what it is, how it works and how you report on those kind of things. So keeping them up to date with everything what they’re doing in terms of that, and then I encourage them to go on and use it because it’s good for them, it’s good for the footy club, and it’s good for their brand. We’ve got Nic Naitanui who’s one of the greate users of social media in the AFL. He has 4100 Instagram followers and however many thousand Twitter followers for him it’s great for the footy club. Showing what he’s been doing in the off season. Obviously he’s been injured last year, but he’s used it to illustrate to his fans the work he has been putting in the press and that’s just good for the footy club. So we encourage things like that.

Sean: I did notice, even in the paper yesterday three Instagram providers from Nic Naitanui and a couple of tweets became a page 3 article, so it just shows the intense focus that all your boys are under as far as understanding that social is another media platform, and anything they send can and will be used against them in the court of public opinion.

Matthew: And it will be. Here especially with one paper in town and it can get a bit of a slow news with only two footy teams. If they got a chance to write about anything footy related, if the boys got a comment on the game or something like that it will make it into the press. The boys have become very adapt in understanding that everything they write, they might as well be writing straight to the journalist. I’m happy to say I feel a lot safer with the boys using social media now than I did when I first started.

Sean: Yeah definitely. Cause they’re learning all the time. What I wanted to touch on, you seem a little in what I’m doing in heading over to the US and investigating what teams are doing over there. I’ve been on a few Sports Geek trips and caught up with team just to sort of see what they’re doing. Couse you can’t study so much from far. I mean you can study everything from the Internet, but it’s also a bit of actually meeting people and seeing what they do on the ground. You’ve been over to the States a couple of times now. Can you give us an insight on some of the things you have found out and learned from those visits?

Matthew: Sure. Let’s just say, Perth most oscillated city in the whole entire world. So trying to learn what’s going on and keep your fingers on posts can be quite hard from the computer experience. I’ve lucky enough that the Eagles have sent me on a couple of fact finding missions to find out about who are the best users of social media. I’ve been to New York last year in October about this time and spent six weeks there, touring around with different sports teams and organizations. Meeting with the Jets, the Giants. Baseball was finished so I couldn’t do that. Meeting with the Rangers. Going and experiencing game days over there. I found that to be one of the most enlightening experiences that I had. Just seeing all the activation, different things they’ve got going in the game. Obviously their sport differs a little bit to ours in terms that it’s a bit stop-start, time-outs. Especially with the NFL way they break for a player come backs. So there’s a lot of things that I took from what they’re doing at Met Life stadium; using the screens, using sound. All that kind of things I think we can come back and roll out to an Australian market. It’s also great just to sit down… and I sat down with the guys from Miami Heat. They were the NBA champions the year before and to listen to them that they have the same kind of battles getting access to the basketball department, the way here getting access to the footy department. Made me sigh a big sigh of relief because they were facing the same challenges and they’re still trying to figure out whether they need a full digital sponsor or whether they’re going to break it down. Made me feel a lot better about what we were doing over this side of the world. We went so far behind the eight ball. At the same time it also gave me the opportunity to attend a few conferences and things like that and hear the social guys from ESPN speak. I took a big thing about second screen applications for companions while watching sport. I think that’s going to be a big market over here over the next few years and those guys are already well ahead of the curve in the way we should be doing and how you go about it.

Sean: I do agree from a game day point of view. I think Australia and the Australian market does membership and ticketing exceptionally and I think we’re world leaders, especially in the AFL scene in selling that membership message. But I do think game day activations and really connecting with the fans on game day and then also tying digital to it is something that’s really key. So we spent a couple of days here at Paterson’s talking about twenty fourteen and trying to really tick that box on game day. Do you want to tell us a little bit about some of the plans you’ve got around the nest, sort of connect digital with game day? And give us a bit of an insight into the West Coast Eagles demographic, you’ve got a full stadium.

Matthew: That’s the important thing to understand about our situation here at the Eagles. We’re different to a few of the other teams here. We’ve got limited info structure, in terms of the stadium; it can only fit 40000 people and we have 67000 full members and a wait list of a 7500, so to begin with we’ve got a different audience we need to cater for. So yes we need to cater everybody that’s sitting in the stands and at the same time we need to cater to all the people that can get into the stands. When you talk about demographics of our user base and our membership it’s a quite old demographic. These people have held on to their ticket for years, and years, and year and they never let them go. So you got to serve that market and at the same time you got to serve the school kids who still love their footy, play their footy every weekend, but they can’t go to a game at this moment because there’s not a seat available for them. So you’re kind of serving to the masses.

Sean: So for the last couple of years we’ve done a lot of work to actually be serving those fans outside the stadium. One because of the restrictions of the Wi-Fi, the fans can’t get access to it, but we also want to develop that relationship. There are plans for a new stadium, more capacity… and you don’t want to lose that generation of fans that haven’t made some connection.

Matthew: Completely right. That was one of my key focuses when I first took this position, to engage these kids. They can’t get into the ground, but they still want to have a relationship with the football club. They still love the Eagles, they still love their favorite players, they just can’t look at the game like their mates so how do we make them feel like part of the football club?

Sean: So there’s the developing of the fear of missing out. You’re really tweaking that with that younger demographic. We looked at the stats yesterday around the social media demographic and the fan base for the Eagles and it’s very young. 75% of all your fans are under thirty five or something along those lines. But the graph on the other side from the membership point of view goes the other way. It’s a very older demographic. So do you want to talk about having that as a problem?

Matthew: It is a problem.

Sean: Cause for you as a social… doing social and digital, you’ve got a large quote of your fan base consuming this content you’re producing.

Matthew: We’re going to work on bridging the gap. I know it’s going to be one of the things as our focuses serving those members and educating the older members about the new ways to go and get this information. Obviously they’re all pretty comfortable with receiving email. We have a great hit rate on opening on emails blast. Are they consuming that content? Do we need to teach them how to go about consuming that content? That’s a big challenge. There’s people like your mom and dads. I have enough trouble trying to get my mom to use an iPod. Think about that mentality and applying it…

Sean: Is that where you sort of see the nest, keep coming in to give a visual… give a face…

Matthew: Giving digital a face is what we’re about on this stage now, so we’re going to have a few different bits of activation. You talk about the nest which will be a match day pre game center where we’re going to have a few iPods and people can come, and we’ll teach them how to follow West Coast on Facebook, how to jump on Twitter, we’re going to have a few photo boots, pushing photos on their social platforms and our social platforms, we’ll have a few players there. It’s just going to be one spot, a hub, for people that come to the game a little bit early and want to meet players and actively support the footy club on game day we’re just going to give them another way to do it. Hopefully by giving it that presence it becomes a little bit more prevalent in how they go about consuming media from then on forward. So it’s like an education session.

Sean: It is. So we did talk about doing it. I really think it’s important to always be training your fans, especially the different demographics. We’ve broken down the segments for you, and looking at the big number… you know we can all look at the big number, but we need to break it down. And so we are going to be focusing on how we can grow the plus forty fan base from a Facebook point of view. I just wanted to… one of the things we’re going to use in doing that is to try to engage them with the Swoop which we’ve had for a couple of years now. Which is digital Cheer Squad social media flyer system. What we did find when we first launched it, when it was very… the balance between Facebook and Twitter wasn’t quite there. It was really a good way to convert Facebook fans to Twitter to get them to understand what Twitter is. So we’re going to really change the focus of that and effectively try to hit those new fans. And what we agree to do yesterday with the guys at fan development is to help connect that older demographic with their teenage sons, or nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and sort of say well there is something that you can connect those generations a little bit that they’re both following West Coast Eagles on Facebook and they’re both seeing that photo on Instagram and those kind of things.

Matthew: I think you hit it right on the head by saying that’s how you get those older family members involved and that’s how it happens in the household anyways. I was talking before about my mom with an iPad. That’s because I’ve gone and educated her on how to use it. So if we can get the kids educating the folks over something that they’re all very interested in I think that’s the best way of going about it. So as you say plans to get kids tagging their mom and dad who are on Facebook. Parents are on Facebook everywhere.

Sean: Yeah and it is growing like… I do joke about it, but they call the Silver Surfer, the Silver Surfers, the older generation on Facebook, because they are on there. They’re there to keep up to date with it. And their kids, they’re grandkids photos that are getting posted and reconnecting… which is what Facebook is there for. They’re not just as brand savvy and sharing as much as the younger demographic.

Matthew: I think you’re right again in saying that mom and dad don’t know how to go on and look at West Coast Eagles on Facebook, that they’ve got to go and find their kid. And that against is a learning process that they’re going through as we move on everyone is going to get more adept in using those platforms, but as you say we need to serve this market here and now, so coming up with strategies in which… you know it’s not intrusive if you have your kid tag you in a West Coast Eagles photo.

Sean: But it’s also telling them of the content that you’re producing, so part of that demographic is they don’t know what they don’t know. They don’t know that you’re producing this great content on digital. So talking from a social point of view, Facebook and to a less extent Twitter, is a broadcast channel for the Eagles. And so what we’re trying to do, and I think one of the things that you said that you already got their email address and you’re communicating in that way. But if you can increase the amount of points of communication with that demographic then… you’ve gone from twenty seven emails during the season to twenty seven email plus all the Facebook posts. It just allows you to get that content, cause they don’t know what they’re missing out.

Matthew: The more they see we can get that in front of them the more integrated it is into everything that we do from a match day to being on Eagle Vision, to being on our web, to making sure I answer the questions from the podcast. Creating that full strategy where it is integrating across everything, talking about putting Twitter handles and Facebook things on media backdrops and what not, and making sure the website is very fan friendly. As you say, the more we get it in front of them and the more that they see it, it becomes less scary and the more uptakes you can have. I think it’s scary to a lot of the older people… getting on Twitter and following the West Coast, getting on Twitter to begin with. Especially with Perth, we talked about it being the most isolated city in the world. The east coast started picking up Twitter probably a year and a half before it started taking on here.

Sean: But even from what we did with the Swoop we did find that once fans signed up, they followed the Eagles, they followed Rick the mascot, then they followed all the players. They were quite happy. They had a West Coast Eagles branded Twitter. And so a lot of those will be consumers of your content. They want to engage, they want to retweet all your hash tags and those kind of things, but it’s a means for them to get the dialogue.

Matthew: Gamefying fan engagement like we did with the digital Cheer Squad with the Swoop. It was surprising that they were sitting on a traditional media back droppers and hosted on the website, these older generations still check the website for news starting to see this platform that was on a website, something they can understand and by the time they clicked it they’re going to start learning about Twitter and Facebook, and we might be the reason that they’ve gone on to that which is great. As you said now they’ve got a West Coast Eagles branded news feed and timeline because we’ve directed them to go on and follow and they go and they get all their info. So they’re learning and it evolves from there. They’re watching videos on YouTube and they’re posting it to their sons personal page.

Sean: That’s what you want. Talking very much like Zuckerberg now. So I guess the final thing is that you built up an audience, you’ve got a really avid fan base. They’re consuming what you want. I think the next thing that comes under the pipe is how do you go monetize this? How do you get money out of this? We’ve been work shopping the last couple of days, here about how to help a commercial team put these proposals together. That’s still a working progress.

Matthew: And I think it will be for quite some time. I don’t think anyone in the world has the formula, the exact price tag ‘see that’s how much a post should sell for’. And I think it’s… I think we’re learning about it as well. We’ve gone from shopping out Facebook post where it’s just an ad to getting it integrated into something we do within the football clubs, so it’s not such a hard sell. I think that’s the key for us, getting integrated, figuring out how much each property is worth.

Sean: I think that some of the things we did when we were workshopping yesterday is really looking at what a property is, the podcast is the example. It’s a twenty two to twenty eight minute podcast. It has some ads in it for your properties. But we were sort of saying what we could sell, that is a sponsorship to a sponsor. First of all we need to find a sponsor that wants to be in that space. They want to be active in the social sense and those kinds of things. But what I sort of find when breaking it down, some people in a commercial sense will just look at that product and that’s it. And they’ll want the promotion that you as a social… that you will give it. So when we broke it down it was ‘oh this is going to be put on a Facebook post every week, twenty five Facebook posts’. That’s going to be tweeted multiple times by the team account. The players who run it are going to tweet it out which has a far higher engagement with fans than anything else. So when we broke it down to that, there is the value of the promotion of the product itself does have value. So I guess part of that is educating the sponsors and the commercial teams, I guess of the world not just the Eagles. Pitching that as a product in its own right, but making sure there is value for them. If we can do something that gets a partner for the podcast then we can do something that gets called to action, whether it’s turning out to a store, running an event to the store, so that’s multiple things you can pivot off a particular piece of content, or a game day activation that you want integrate across all things that you’re trying to do.

Matthew: I think you’re right. The podcast is an interesting realm. We’ve run it last year with no sponsorship just to make it a medium and just make sure we can do it properly. And it’s ended up right. By the twenty forth we kind of had a down path, but we weren’t selling any space or any advertising on our property. As you say we’ve come to the realization ‘we’ll they’re not just going down to the fifty eight hundred people that downloaded the podcast, that’s also going to out to the thirty thousand active Facebook users that we’ve got and pretty much everyone that’s on Twitter as well. Open your eyes up to realize you’ve got a much bigger rate; just the fifteen hundred that download that podcast are going to see it as well and if you integrate it properly then you’re looking at, instead of fifteen hundred, you’re looking at eighty thousand people that are going to go and see that post, and then being able to articulate that. That’s the important thing.

Sean: That’s some of the stuff that we’ve been working on the last couple of days so again thank you for having me out here.

Matthew: Thanks for coming.

Sean: I look forward to the next season. You got any trips planed going over to the States?

Matthew: There’s no fact finding. It’s purely, purely leisure. I’m going to escape the heat of Perth. It’s already thirty five degree her today. I’m going to go to the states for five weeks, probably catch some bass, a little bit of football, cooler weather…

Sean: So you already an NBA fan I did see you filing up a league pass today. So just for the podcast give us some prediction for the NBA season coming up.

Matthew: Brooklyn Nets, PG, KG coming across. If they can get them all playing together I think they’re going be really, really nasty out on the field. The Bulls the same. The Bulls look good. Rodes is back. Now he can drift back and not be the main point guy this time. And then Cliffers for total dominance over the Lakers this season. I’m going to go to the Cliffers-Lakers game in early January at Staples. I’ll be wearing my Cliffers jersey and just reveling in the fact that Lakers are gonna struggle this year. So that’s that.

Sean: Hopefully my scar brother Kobe Bryant’s on the court when you’re there. So thank you very much for being here on the podcast.

Matthew: Thanks a lot for having me.

Dj: sign up for Sports Geek news at

Sean: Thanks again to Matt Gepp from the West Coast Eagles for that chat and it was good staying a couple of days in Perth, although moving across country does mess with the body clock with the different time zones. I actually started the day, that Sunday heading out to Perth (42:00 not audible) at 4 in the morning and then I finished up in Western Australia. I think it would have been 2am in my time. So it was a long day, but a couple of fruitful days over at west coast. Just my keep taking away from the stuff that we did was really to be aware of targeting content for your audience. And that little clicker is my reminder to say let’s hurry up and get this show over. As I mentioned I have to dedicate episode 24 to my scar brother Kobe Bryant making his return from ‘achillies’. Hopefully we’ll see him on the court very soon. I’m absolutely loving the fact that he’s taking the fans on the journey from a social media point of view. So this one’s for you Kobe and hope to see you on the floor very, very soon. Also just to finish up I’ve got a new idea for another segment for the podcast and I want to call it Social media post of the week. That’s pretty much… I’ll have to give the head lead to Lee Ellis, the Aussie on the Stardust podcast who does the Tweet of the week looking at the NBA. So this one is really Social media post of the week. So if you see a sports team, or an athlete, anything that’s in the sport social media space put out a post on Facebook, Twitter, Vine. And it can be a fan engagement post, it can be a sponsor activation post. If you think it’s good work send it and I’ll put out nominations. Send me a Tweet @Sean Callanan or @Sports Geek with some nominations and I’ll share one each week. This week I’m going to give it to FC Augsburg which are a football team out of Germany. I did not understand this post, but they somehow worked a puppet video into Facebook, so I’m definitely giving it this week. In the show notes go to I will have a link. I’ll have that Facebook post imbedded in the show notes. I want see more sports teams using puppets in their video work. This week’s Sounds of the game, that noise there. We’re just doing these things to remind me of segments. That Sound’s the game segment. Thanks to Daniel Pinne from Melbourne Storms. He was lucky enough to go to the Melbourne Cup, which is a Kentucky derby and here is what he grabbed at Melbourne Cup day. It has been a big week at Melbourne Cup day, always is. And I hope to catch up with some of the digital team behind Melbourne Cup week. They had 100 000 people turn up to the course to attend and cheer on horses. If you didn’t know we actually have a public holiday here in Melbourne for a horse race, that’s how sports mad we are in Melbourne. That wraps up another episode of Sports Geek podcast. As I’ve said before you get the show notes at If you can share that on your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, any platform that allows you to share links. Obviously not Instagram cause it’s just photos. You can find Sports Geek on iTunes and now I’m deciding to upload the back catalogue, or up to Sound Cloud at If you got any suggestions, any feedback, if you got a Sounds of the game audio clip please send me an email. And now here’s my closing two cents, don’t forget any post is a chance to deliver your personal strategy.

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

SGP 013: Digital Case Studies explained from #SEAT2013

Sports Geek Podcast Presented by SEAT ConferenceBack from SEAT Conference in Kansas City, what a great conference.  This special Sports Geek Podcast episode is a full audio replay of my #SEAT2013 presentation with Philippe Dore from NASCAR.  You can follow along via on Slideshare below or download from Slideshare.

More SEAT related podcasts coming up soon, so stay tuned.


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

  • What makes up the digital campaign trifecta
  • Why you’ll want to visit Western Australia for next holiday
  • How Nike activated Kobe Bryant using Twitter BEFORE he joined Twitter
  • How Australian Open & Wimbledon developed infotainment for digital fans
  • How you can activate a stadium even when it is EMPTY
  • How NBA & NFL teams activate off-season events like Draft night

Follow the slides as you listen…

Sean Callanan and Philippe Dore present digital case studies at #SEAT2013Resources from the episode

Videos from presentation

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

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

Download Episode

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Podcast transcription

Sean: Welcome to Episode 13 of the Sports Geek podcast, presented by SEAT Conference. Today’s episode is a special replay of my presentation, “Digital Case Studies Explained,” from SEAT 2013 with Philippe Dore from NASCAR.

DJ Joel: Welcome to the Sports Geek podcast. The podcast built for sports digital and sports digital professionals. Your host, Sean Callanan.

Sean: Thanks, DJ Joel. My name is Sean Callanan from Sports Geek, and thank you for the prompts on Twitter and LinkedIn asking where the next Sports Geek episode is. Traveling on crutches and trying to record a podcast is pretty much tough work. That’s why there has been a little break.

If you’ve been following tweets, I was in Kansas City for SEAT 2013. This episode of the Sports Geek podcast is actually a recording of the presentation that I did with Philippe Dore, who’s the Senior Director of Digital Services at NASCAR.

We walked through a bunch of case studies around the world in this presentation. There’s a few spots in there where we show some video clips as well as the slides from the presentation. They’ll all be accessible from the show notes. If you go to, you’ll be able to download them.

As far as all content from SEAT, I’ve got a couple of other podcasts. I did a bunch of interviews with some of my mates at SEAT. There’ll be Episode 14 and 15, will be very SEAT-heavy with some interviews with guys from the NBA, MLB, NFL, and of course Christine Stoffel, who put the conference on and did a remarkable job with over 450 people in Kansas City.

It was great to see the CRM and the digital tracks growing from what was a small base last year in Boston. I expect all of you listening to the podcast to be at SEAT 2014 in New York.

For now, we’re still looking at SEAT 2013. Here is my presentation, “Digital Case Studies Explained,” with Philippe Dore from NASCAR. Enjoy.

Sean: We’ll get started. Thanks a lot for coming along. My name is Sean Callanan, and I’ll be presenting Philippe here. We’ll be going through some digital campaigns. I’ll let you get things started.

Philippe: Absolutely. This is looking forward to Sean presenting, because usually he’s the moderator and talking all the time. We pulled some good case studies here; hopefully you’ll find them interesting.

Let’s jump right in. We discuss what makes a digital campaign successful. We call it a trifecta here.

Sean: Yeah, so the first thing was around content. We’re all in the content business. We’re fighting against Fox, ESPN, Sporting News, all these other places. My campaign should be around our content and pushing it out. We’ll be focusing on campaigns that profile content.

The next one we’re looking at is engagement. Everything we’re doing in social is about engagement, engaging the fans and deepening the ties with the fans. A lot of the campaigns, again, that we’ve got through the deck are on engagement.

Then we’ve got one more component, which is for our friends in the other track, which is data. If we’re going to have a campaign, having some component that, gets some email, geo-location data as I was just talking about before with mobile.

If you can hit the trifecta and hit those three boxes, you’re doing well. But you don’t have to with every single campaign. We’ll just go through a couple campaigns and show that they’ve got different focus and what they were trying to do. How they did it, how they went, and for some of them, what we might do differently.

Philippe: The first one, Sean, is West Coast . . . your part of the world, in Australia.

Sean: Yeah, West Coast Eagles are an Australian Rules football team. Just to give you a background of what they’re like, they’ve got a full stadium; they’ve got a waiting list. The fan base is getting older, but they’ve got these waiting lists. They want to keep engaging.

Usually they would do a season membership renewal, sort of TBC, at the start of the season. Since they didn’t need to sell the tickets this last year, they just went with a real brand campaign and just wanted to build excitement around the brand.

They did that around a video campaign. This is one of the videos.

Recording: [music 05:14 to 05:38]. Coming down to the beach helps me to relax. Memories of how close we were last season keeps the fire burning inside.

I know we’re close to something special.

Childhood heroes made me believe anything is possible. There’s an excitement within the group for the season ahead. It’s not hard to find inspiration around here.

Sean: Those videos were four weeks out from the season, when the fans were just craving access to the players and starting to build up the season. Mark LeCras was the guy running the pass. The next video was a backstory to him.

They ran the video campaign, they pushed that to YouTube, they promoted it both on YouTube and Facebook. Really, the fans just rallied around it. It was really good to run that high end content. I’m sure you all now want to have a holiday in Western Australia. They could probably do that as a tourism ad. That’s the West Coast one.

This one is the Minnesota Timberwolves. Again, a content play around the NBA draft. The NBA draft gets stacks of coverage on ESPN, but once your peak happens, they start to focus on every other team.

What the Timberwolves have done in the draft the last three years—they’re hoping to not do this eventually and make the playoffs—but what they have done is been doing a large, streaming show from their venue and have a big fan event. They have talking heads talking about the draft, interviews with fans.

Over the last few years there’s been increasing sponsorship and activations around it. Again, really profiling their talent as far as their digital team. Their fans really rally around that site for that night.

This is a close one to my heart, because this is my scar brother, Kobe Bryant. I don’t know if you saw this campaign. This was a campaign from I think it was 2011 that Nike ran. We’ve got a video that pretty much explains how it ran.

Recording: Kobe Bryant transformed without warning into an unstoppable force.

Interviewer: “Black Mamba,” what is “Black Mamba” all about?

Kobe: That’s my alter ego. When you step on the basketball court, you’ve got to get into another frame of mind.

Recording: “Black Mamba,” an alter ego beloved by fans and feared by the competition. We set out to mimic Kobe’s physical transformation into Black Mamba on, so when Kobe transforms, the site transforms with him.

Since fans routinely call out the Black Mamba on social networks, a custom made Twitter algorithm was programmed to generate and monitor real-time, global social chatter to transform the site using Kobe-related tweets as a trigger.

Every time the Mamba struck, fans’ social chatter would cause the automated site to change from normal Kobe state to the Black Mamba state, once 1,750 tweets per hour were surpassed. During each of these Mamba moments, the site will offer exclusive access to content for the next six hours, like Kobe video images, personalized wallpapers, and transfer fans to an exclusive Nike ID zoomed Kobe.

As Mamba moments grew closer, the traffic on exploded as social chatter spread across the web. Our real-time Twitter tracker shows fans exactly how many Kobe-related tweets were being posted at that moment, how many were needed to transform the site and unlock the Mamba content.

Fans around the world were watching, working collectively to try to push the needle over the edge. Every time a Mamba moment happened, Nike Basketball spread the word with posts on social networks across the globe.

As a special surprise for fans, a short film directed by Robert Rodriguez, starring Kanye and the Black Mamba himself a couple days before All-Star Weekend, driving even more traffic to the site.

Then at the All-Star game on February 20th, Kobe Bryant scored a game high of 37 points, on route to winning his fourth career all-star MVP award. Global Black Mamba social chatter lit up the boards. The site transformed from Kobe to Black Mamba in the first quarter.

Notifications went out across Facebook, Twitter and We Boo. Over two million fans visited to watch Kobe transform into the Black Mamba. Night in and night out, the site continues to reflect Kobe’s transformation on the court. The Black Mamba may strike without warning, but not without reward for fans across the world.

Sean: Yeah, so that one, just an example where it’s hit the market on all counts. Producing the killer content, that you can only get the content if you get the engagement, getting the fans riled up on Twitter. This was all done before Kobe was even on Twitter. Without even having him being the one that drives it.

Phenomenal campaign, and I hope he makes a comeback from his Achilles, because it’ll give me hope.

Philippe: Again, this is a great execution. We’re finding a theme here, and you’ll see that the best executions are during live events. It’s nice to see that as he’s playing, again. A lot of the other case studies here that we have are very, very focused on live, engaging content.

This is another one from the tennis world. I’ve been partnering with IBM for years because they’ve got pretty cool slam trackers, reliable results. They kicked it up a notch this year and added a social component.

You can actually measure tweets, the trending module, and also what I like with this one is that they also added sentiment. Negative, positive. It gives it a little kick to more than having to show just who’s trending and who’s got the most tweets or something like that. Pretty cool execution here from IBM and the U.S. Open.

Sean: Again, it reinforces, if you go to the next part, it shows the tweets coming in for Andy Murray. We all know that Twitter especially works well in live sport, and to a certain degree, sport has made Twitter. Because that’s when it comes to life.

We will then pretty much follow it up with something similar, and so we’ve got that info-tainment sort of space. Taking all those stats and repurposing it.

You can take this engagement piece and make it part of your content strategy. If your graphic’s a really hot part of content marketing, you can show the buzz. It’s a good way of expressing to the fans that they’re part of a bigger collective. It gives them a bit of a push and shows the buzz around the world and in the media that Wimbledon have provided throughout the tournament.

Philippe: Yes, and the geo-mapping, we’ve got several other examples here. Thinks like, here’s a good example here. Why don’t you talk to us about this one?

Sean: This is one that we did three weeks ago. We were planning to do it, and then we were lucky enough that Manchester United decided to join Twitter.

You might have seen before. It has local versions and global versions. It shows trends from Twitter on a map, which is why the name Trends Map.

What we’ve done, because the guys who built it are actually based out of Melbourne, we made a product out of it and allowed them to build a product that can be pivoted around sport. In this case we tracked a game they hashtagged “#ManUnited” and “#TheALeague.” The A League is the Australian MLS.

We’re able to show the trends around the world. Heat maps in both Australia and in the UK. We’re able to bubble up the popular content from an image point of view, and also the videos. Any Vines that were being shared and re-tweeted by fans, just click up and we’ll show more. They’re all able to be played in line, as well as showing what popular users . . .

And if you go down one more, it also would profile the top tweets. A couple of things that we learned, especially having a David and Goliath battle in this space with Manchester United in three weeks. Who was watching when they joined Twitter and they were adding followers by the thousands by the minute?

People were going, “oh, I’ve got more followers than Man United.” Not anymore. They’ve got so many followers, they dominated that top board. We’re going to most likely break that out to be different teams.

The other thing they also showed is the popular links that were being shared by fans. Again, another way, those links are hot, they can go back to your site. Also we profiled all the fans that were sharing illegal content. We had to put measures in to say, “we don’t want those links on this page.”

It’s a good way to get fans back to your site. Similar to the Wimbledon theme, we took content from this, back end analytics, and we repurposed it back to social, to tell the fans hey, way to go, you’re part of this.

We sent out half-time tweets telling them what the top cities were, how many tweets were coming in, what the map looked like, just to repurpose it and take it through.

This one, Philippe, you had this one.

Philippe: Yeah, this is an example from earlier this year from Underarm. Pretty good execution. It seemed like they invested quite a bit of money. They went multi-channel, made a lot of noise to it. They’re basically asking the fans or the consumer to use the hashtag “#Iwill,” offering giveaways for are they going to do something great this year.

Sean: Pretty much, yeah. They were just asking to people to write or share a photo. When I first looked at this I thought it looks great, but they didn’t really bring the social component until the last bit.

They said yeah, you can write on the wall. If you keep clicking through, and then it asks you at the end, I’ll share this. The incentive wasn’t there for it to really go far. If they had said, “oh, sign in with Facebook,” hit the button, it’s automatically going to get shared.

Try the email piece, but again, it wasn’t mandatory. I haven’t got the data as far as what they secured, but had they flipped—and the next slide, I think, shows “thank you for sharing your message. Please tweet it.”

If you move that to the front, like we were saying before with the apps, if you give people the sign-in and social connections at the front, the likelihood that they’ll share is much greater.

This one is a really unique one from Tunisia. Just watch the video and see what they did.

Sean: Yeah, so that one’s a pretty amazing case study. They didn’t have Wi-Fi problems on that day.

It just shows you, I think just how you can engage that fan at home, and thinking outside the box with some activations. Pretty phenomenal story with having to run out there without any fans at all, and being able to connect those fans in that sort of crowd source, make them feel part of it.

Philippe: Yeah, that’s the lesson. Be as creative, as crazy as you can. I think initially Sean wanted me to translate the French to English, but that subtitle appeared.

Sean: This one, I don’t know if you’ve seen it. It’s Mound Ball. It’s run by the guys at Major League Baseball. You’ll be able to play it tonight because there’s a Royales mound, but this is just an example of a pure engagement piece. Just having fun on the platform.

The way Mound Ball works is if the pitcher leaves the ball on the base, then they’re going to give away a prize. If he doesn’t, they’re not. They’ve got these fans now tuning in to see where the ball is going to be in between innings, and doing it via Twitter.

It’s completely stupid, but they’ve now got—I think you, Philippe—they launched it a couple weeks ago. They’re only doing a couple teams at the moment, but they’ve already got 5,000 followers.

It’s just, again, that thinking outside the box, how can we engage our fans in a weird way? We’re talking in some sessions earlier today, if you have a team that’s not winning or things aren’t going well, how can you make these silly events into some sort of activation, into some sort of engagement play with the fans?

It seems to be working pretty well for MLB. I’m going to be tweeting Mound Ball now tonight to see. I’ll be watching very closely at the end of innings to see where the ball is placed. Again, just shows you the advantages of just playing on the platform for what they are. It’s a really good spot for Twitter.

This one you brought, Philippe, from Tour de France?

Philippe: Yes, Tour de France in France, obviously. Good execution here from French TV. Basically it’s an Instagram base. At each stop, people were asked to upload their Instagram photo, and obviously with their geo-location. We created this entire record, document here that they put online here.

Sean: This one’s great because it’s crowd sourcing, it shows how colorful and awesome it is to be in the Tour de France. It’s perfect for Instagram, because you’ve got all the crazy filters. Everything, when you produce an Instagram photo, is beautiful. Or so people think.

It shows all the color. Again, because Instagram is more geo-friendly than Twitter, it’s great to be able to show all the content. For me, this one is really great because it’s profiling the fan content. We’ve done stuff with tournaments and stadiums, getting your fans to take those shots and send them in is a great way of doing it. Being able to activate a random map and show off what the fans are seeing is a really good way of doing it.

For example. This is similar to the Timberwolves stuff around the draft. This is the Falcons social hub. Again, making the draft an event and giving them a place to consume everything from a point of view of social content. So sharing both their content and some of the fans’.

It’s getting into that social curation space. Which I think is good, because you want to make sure your fans are connecting with other fans. I think, I can’t remember what session it was before, when Chris was saying how he’s got 20 or 30 of these brand champions. You need to be publicizing those brand champions in things like this so they know they’re doing the right thing.

Philippe: Again, those work well during an event. Use it for an entire season it can get old.

Sean: Yeah, so again, this is during the draft. They’re craving for information, they don’t have as much. This kind of activation works really well for that.

Philippe: These guys did as well.

Sean: I think this is with Wayne. I’m going to get a nod at the back, yeah, this is with Wayne.

Again, ask the fans questions, profile your content around the draft. Again, it just gives them that different . . . Twitter’s good to give those different visualizations. Because not everyone follows everyone that they need to do. Not everyone knows how to follow a hashtag.

Fans still need these kind of visualizations to understand why they should be on Twitter, or why they should be on Pinterest or why they should be on Tumblr. You want to be able to show those different representations of what they think might be normal, but shown in a different way to say, “oh, that’s why I want to be accessing that content.”

If you scroll down, it’s bringing all the tweets.

Philippe: I like how they added interactivity. It’s one thing to just bring in photos and call it a day, but if you take it to the next level and have people tweet or even, I would like to see maybe an input box there. Maybe you can pre-populate a hashtag.

Sean: This one is another Nike activation that they did around a women’s running race in Sydney. I’ll let the video explain it, and then I’ll talk a little bit about some of what they did with Facebook to integrate the social component.

Recording: Running community, Nike wasn’t seen as a credible choice for serious runners. In fact, most female runners wore Nike from head to ankle, but found it hard to commit to wearing Nike on their feet.

We also uncovered the truth that when women ran, they ran alone, and were left to overcome their fears and achieve their goals by themselves. To us, this seemed at odds with women’s natural inclination to discuss, share, and overcome barriers together.

In light of this, our idea was simple. As a female runner, you’re fast, stronger, and more powerful when you’re part of a group than you could ever be as an individual. There is true power in numbers.

We used this thought to ignite a community of female runners, empowering them to redefine their sport and change the way they train forever. We started our conversation with social media with a rally cry for change, stimulating chat around the barriers that women faced.

It was during this conversation that we realized we needed to tackle the biggest barrier at all, running alone at night. We began by recruiting women who already had the courage to run in the dark. We received hundreds of responses from women whose responses inspired an online short film.

Woman: The more of us that run, the brighter we can burn.

Recording: Next, we challenged our community by announced that we would hold a 13K night race The film also acted as a registration device that could be personalized to every runner and passed onto their friends, celebrating grass roots runners across gyms, online, in store, print, and outdoor.

Which in turn inspired other women to join. Every piece of communication incorporated an invitation to a women’s only event

Daniella: Hey, I’m Daniella.

Veronica: I’m Veronica. If you’re interested in night running, then come for a run with us at Pier Market.

Recording: Allowing women to not only train for the 13K run, but connect with other women along the way. Trying to unite female runners at every touch point, enabling them a way to share their stories, goals, and achievements. Race Night became a celebration. For one night, women turned the tables on the dark.

We smashed down our own barriers too, exceeding all expectations in KPIs. For us, this demonstrates the power of a culturally connected idea, one that helps a community to form, shifts perceptions, and ultimately changes how people interact with a brand.

We set out to shake up running for women, and sparked a movement that unleashed a powerful, thriving community. A community that’s still running.

Sean: That campaign was heavily integrated with Facebook. Like they said there they had a Facebook registration process, so obviously that’s terrific from a data point of view. We’re getting the data from all the registrants.

The engagement and the content side of things, again, absolutely killing it as far as the content they were producing, but then also getting their fans to produce it.

The race itself, because everyone had registered with Facebook and everyone had the Nike Plus tracking devices, as the women were coming up to the 5K mark, their Facebook avatar came up on the digital screen and said, “keep going.”

They were like oh and charging on. They really stepped up, I guess, the integration with the Facebook Connect and registration and put it through the whole race. Really powerful way of developing a community around the event.

This one you sent through, pretty recent.

Philippe: Yes, yes. I thought this was great, again, engaging the fans. PGA championship with Jack Nichols here. They’ve allowed the fans to pick the pin position.

Sean: In the end, this is just a multiple choice sweepstakes competition, but the fact that they’ve got the content pieces there, the fans can check the flyover, it’s got a bit of buzz. It’s really high value for a golf fan to be able to say they’re going to pick the pin. I’m sure there’ll be a few golfing buddies who’ve got bragging rights.

That was obviously right. It’s more unique than just saying, “tell us who’s your favorite golfer,” or “when do you play golf,” that kind of thing. I think it worked really well. It got really good press as well, because it was in that crowd sourcing space, occasionally allowing the fans to decide.

Sometimes you’ve got to be careful. Sometimes the fans don’t know what they’re doing. In this case, if they’re happy with one of the four options, it’s a good outcome.

Philippe: It’s funny, because they actually make an impact. It’s not just “what do you think,” and “oh, I would love to see this.” It’s actually things [inaudible 31:45]. We had a similar example at NASCAR, where we asked the fans to vote on the format for an all-star race. Do you want 30 laps, do you want 60 laps, we let them decide and he goes for it. Nice way for them to feel . . .

Sean: It gives them that emotional connection, because they’re feeling like a part of the decision process.

This one is one that we do with the Auckland Blues, using digital cheer squad where it was pretty much rewarding fans for what they were doing on social networks, so Facebook and Twitter. It wasn’t exactly the platform that did it, it was the way that the Blues ran it.

They really focused on servicing these fans, because they really added super-fans. Some of the stuff that generated out of it was, they found that the fans started congregating and sitting together. Now they’re going to have a specific bay so these fans can all sit together.

They started running events specifically for these super-fans, and gained really great results because these fans were trained on what they wanted to do. They would stand in front of the sponsored banner. They knew they had to Facebook it and tweet it and Instagram it.

It’s worked out really well. To the point where, we’ve got to the point where we say, “oh, don’t forget to thank the sponsor,” because they provided True Blue HQ, and they sent 194 tweets saying “thanks, guys.”

They’re Barfoot and Thompson. They’re not in the technical space. They’re a real estate agent. The social manager at Barfoot and Thompson loves it, because their feed is full of people praising how awesome they are.

I’ve actually got a meeting with them next week when I get back. I’m hoping we get the research back that says yes, we sold a house because all of the Blues fans have been tweeting about us as a real estate agent all winter.

Then from a content point of view, we’ve been doing stuff like infographics around the stats of what the fans have been doing, but then also profiling the fans with a simple “fan of the week.” Because we’ve connected all of those fans, the amount of digital back slapping that happens when you announce a fan of the week—because they all know each other, they’re all friends now.

They’ve met in real life. Which I think is having those fan events and connecting those digital fans, just locks them in. They won’t always be talking about your team, they become friends. Every time the Blues announce a fan of the week, they all get retweeted from everyone in the list. They’re all pretty pleased with themselves.

The other key component of it was putting the ladder and integrating it with the rest of the site. Again, fans were pretty happy to see their face on the regular site.

Philippe: You have the sponsors, the sponsoring product right there, right?

Sean: Yeah.

Philippe: We’re seeing a lot of that. Our partner is just asking for banner ads, things like that, they want to engage with content, and social’s a great way to do it. We’re cooking a lot of things like that at NASCAR.

Sean: This is another one that again goes back to the map theme, and there’s more around engagement and connecting your fans. I’m anxious to see, you’ve had this out for a while. It’s still live.

Effectively it allows you to tag where you are and find out where all the Manchester City fans are. It’s a terrific data play. You go to, say you want to tag yourself. Similar to the Fan Cam stuff. You’ve got to give your data to tag yourself, but they’re able to show that there’s over 24,000 fans there. Then you can find other fans.

You can go and put someone’s name in who you know is a Manchester fan, and they’ll say, “oh, he’s in London.” You can connect with your friends or tag your friends and that kind of thing. It’s about making a connection, but also showing that there’s 482 in Melbourne and there’s 1,100 in the eastern seaboard of the U.S. It just shows there’s like people around you.

Pretty much with Manchester City, they’ve extended this now and they’re building localized websites for different regions around the world, pretty much based on this data. They know they’ve got the fans there, so they can now pull off the sites.

This one was primarily a data play with the Melbourne Storm. The video there is, we ran a competition saying hey, come along the journey jersey. Come along the journey with the finals. We asked them intimate details, and we built this jersey with all the fans’ names on it.

We tell the fans it’s going to be in the locker room during the playoffs. The players will run past it, they’ll touch it. Or we’ll tell them that they’ll touch it. It was their way of being in the locker room during the playoffs.

We initially did it, then we produced a secondary one to have it out in the concourse, and fans could get their photo in front of it. In a week, I think we collected 1,500 emails of fans that wanted to be part of it. We then added a season ticket holder base to the jersey, so it had 1,500 in the end.

On top of getting all those social attractions that the fans gave it, it got in the media with the local television and the broadcasters showing off the jersey, both in the locker room and then around grand final week. All’s well that ends well win the championship last year.

Storm fans have found memories of the journey jersey, so we’re now trying to figure out how we can take it to the next level this year.

Philippe: That’s great, and again, it’s one thing to upload a photo to an Instagram sort of thing to see an execution like this. We’ve done it on some cars as well. [inaudible 38:16] has done it, Noonan’s done it. Put your photo and you get your little avatar on the car.

We’re working on another one right now for the Chase. We’ll feature a prize winner, their Twitter handle on the car. We’re working on that right now.

Sean: This is one of the last ones I want to look at. We thank you, Sir Alex. Man United said goodbye to Sir Alex Ferguson. Again, they weren’t on Twitter at this stage, but from a content and engagement and a data point of view, they actually smashed it.

They built this mini-site. They integrated with, they did some work with Twitter and pretty much pushed out the hashtag, “#ThankyouSirAlex,” which was trending worldwide.

What they did do is ask all their fans to post messages. If you’re already in the Manchester United system, you could just login and leave your message for Sir Alex. What they did is they sent it out to their 35 million Facebook fan base, a ridiculous number.

This is the picture that they put up on Facebook. “Send Sir Alex your thank you message, and we’re going to create him a book.” They could’ve just said “give us your email, please.” Because all they did was send them to a Buddy Media Facebook tab that said email, name, date of birth, and 25 words to Sir Alex.

The good thing is they didn’t just stop there. They took all that content and they created a book, leather-bound it. They did a couple of different versions. They got Sir Alex to sign it and there you go, now it’s a prize, it’s a limited edition piece.

Yeah, 161,000 people liked that post. They really capitalized on the traffic that they got for Sir Alex signing. For them they, like I said, smashed this activation out of the park. They knew they were going to get great engagement from their fans.

The unfortunate thing is four days later, because they had to replace, obviously, Sir Alex Ferguson, and David Moyes was keyed to take over. Now he’s the new manager. Unfortunately, and we all have mistakes, they tweeted out the link to the app to say “welcome David Moyes” two days before he signed.

He was still working at Chelsea. They deleted the tweet, but you can’t delete a tweet. It’s gone. They did everything right for Sir Alex, but it was a little bit awkward for the first day or two when they were announcing David Moyes. Trying to follow the same feed.

If you look at some of the data that was coming through from a Twitter point of view, again, for a team that wasn’t on Twitter, to get some of that content was pretty phenomenal.

Just to wrap up and not go too long, because I can only stand so along in this. The main things, when you are going to go and do a campaign, you’re going to be tackling one of these three things.

You’re going to promote your content, engage your fans, and get data. I don’t think you need to do all three with every one. You will have ones that just naturally do all three, or a killer like Black Mamba or the Nike one that do all three.

Then you’ll have ones like Mound Ball that’s just pure engagement. I think it is important to know that you want to try to tackle one of those three and have a goal around that. Which leads us to our takeaways from this session, is to first of all to know your goal, to know what you’re trying to achieve out of it.

You want to know what your goal is. If your goal is engagement, cute can work, but you’ve got to make sure you push that.

This one, I call it “market your marketing.” Obviously a lot of teams put a lot of effort into building some activation, and then just push it out and think it’s going to happen.

It’s bit like the brief, “can you make me a viral video?” Which no one can ever do when you ask them that. This one is market your marketing. How are you pushing this out? Where are you advertising? Are you advertising in-stadium?

Are you augmenting it with Facebook ads or Google ads, or promoting it with Twitter? Because you can’t just expect oh, our fans will just love that and eat it up.

There’s nothing worse than spending a lot of time and money and effort putting something together, and then stop putting in that effort once you’ve pushed it out. You’ve really got to still market it via all your channels.

Philippe: Remember the data from your initial slides. Make sure you get something out of it. Use connect, you can get a lot of data out of Facebook. If you’re doing a fan cam contest, you can get registering, you can get an ROI. I’ll get something out of the programs.

Sean: You’ve got to make it fun. You’ve got to think about it from a fan point of view. I know all of us will have seen ad sponsor promotions and we’ve had pushback, so the fans won’t want it.

You really need to have that fan hat on. Will they think it’s fun? Like Mark was saying, will it have the appeal for them? Their Instagram shot gets on the screen, or they might have a tour or something. It really does have to be fun and enticing to the fan.

That pretty much wraps up our showcase of different digital campaigns.

Philippe: Global showcase.

Sean: Global showcase. Glad to have the Tunisians involved. More than happy to take any questions or talk about different parts of digital campaigns.

Go to the next slide. If this is recorded properly, this will be a future Sports Geek podcast. If it didn’t record properly, Philippe and I will be doing this again and recording this for a future Sports Geek podcast. Hopefully it’s recorded, and if it’s not, then we’ll be back on Skype and recording it again.

Recording: Please leave a review on iTunes. Go to Find all Sports Geek podcasts at Thanks for listening to the Sports Geek podcast.

Digital Cheer Squad Wrap – 3-Day Frenzy, Origin & Fans of the Week

It’s been another big fortnight for our Digital Cheer Squad implementations, with a number of giveaways and as always examples of tremendous fan support. We’re here to take you through the highlights from the last 14 days.

The Swoop 3-Day Frenzy

Ahead of West Coast’s round 14 clash with Essendon, the team held a 3-Day Frenzy which saw a series of competitions over consecutive days that rewarded fans for specific social media activity. On Tuesday, #TheSwoop three fans the opportunity to take home a signed West Coast cap signed by Nic Naitanui, simply by commenting on a West coast Eagles Facebook post.

Wednesday’s competition required fans to tweet in a question for the West Coast Eagles podcast, with the lucky winners earning themselves a team flag signed by one of Dean Cox, Nic Naitauni or Josh Hill. On the final day of giveaways, fans had to accumulate 2500 #TheSwoop points through active engagement with Eagles team and player accounts on Twitter and Facebook. Only then could they be in the draw to win a double pass to the game against the Bombers. Congratulations to all #TheSwoop winners!

Did you know?

  • #TheSwoop fans have liked over 1000 West Coast Eagles posts on Facebook.
  • #TheSwoop fans have used the #goeagles hashtag over 1600 times on Twitter and over 100 times on Facebook.
  • On average #TheSwoop fans who have connected on Facebook have earned 2,064 points.

Cowboys and Rabbitohs fans fire up for #Origin

It’s been a big couple of weeks for both our NRL Digital Cheer Squad implementations. Particularly given the enthusiasm surrounding the biggest series on the Australian sporting calendar; the State of Origin as was discussed on Episode 8 of the Sports Geek podcast.

Both Cowboys and Rabbitohs fans were encouraged to Tweet and post to Facebook about their representatives in the series, using #origin themed hashtags:

Encouraging #CowboysSocialClub fans to get involved in the #origin hashtag

Encouraging #SouthSydneyCentral fans to get around #Origin on Facebook & Twitter

Interestingly, #CowboysSocialClub fans used the #qlder hashtag three times more than the #queenslander equivalent when it came to tweets and Facebook posts. The #UpTheBlues hashtag was well received by #SouthSydneySocial fans too, with 170 uses. Remember, as Sean discussed in Episode 6 of the Sports Geek Podcast, that you can now use hashtags on Facebook to group conversations and content, and doing so may even get some extra points added to your Digital Cheer Squad score.

Rabbitohs Fan of the Week

#SouthSydneySocial have also endorsed the ‘Fan of the Week’ concept that in addition to highlighting the efforts of a passionate fan, also encourages engagement amongst fellow supporters.

True Blue HQ fans embrace Twitter chats

@BluesRugbyTeam held a Twitter Chat that invited #TrueBlueHQ fans to tweet in about recent results, upcoming fixtures, the team’s playoff chances and even the prospect of Benji Marshall joining the squad.

#TrueBlueHQ Twitter Chat - Question 5

Did You Know?

  • The #trueblue hashtag has been used by #TrueBlueHQ fans over 2200 times.
  • #TrueBlueHQ fans have liked over 1250 Blues Facebook posts.
  • Six #TrueBlueHQ fans have over 10,000 points.

Crows Core fans up for a chat

Congratulations to veteran Graham Johncock who announced his retirement from the club this week.  However, that wasn’t the only thing the Crows did off the field recently.  Similarly to the Blues, the @Adelaide_FC account held their regular #CrowsChat Twitter Chat (with #CrowsCore fans scoring points for joining in), giving away a Crows cap signed by Rising Star nominee Brad Crouch:

We loved this sign-off by the @Adelaide_FC account too:

Did You Know?

  • #CrowsCore fans have retweeted @Adelaide_FC over 1500 times recently.
  • #CrowsCore fans have used the #gocrows hashtag over 4,200 times on Twitter, and over 110 times on Facebook.

Until next time, may all your hashtags be trending.

Digital Cheer Squad Round Up – Engaging Facebook and Twitter fans

Digital Cheer SquadThe action’s heating up in the AFL, NRL and Super 15 competitions, and fans are increasing their social media activity as finals draw near.

With Digital Cheer Squad implemented at five major clubs, Sports Geek gives you an update on how each are tracking.

Cowboys Social Club

Wasn't hard for Cowboys fans to do this after a win!Over the weekend, the North Queensland Cowboys hosted an online scavenger hunt in Cowboys Social Club, with Cowboys very happy after a Friday night win.

  • Fans had to sign-up to the #CowboysSocialClub and complete four tasks using their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  • Entrants went into the running to win a football signed by the entire Cowboys squad.
  • The competition took place over three days with over 80 fans getting involved.
  • 9% of fans completed all four tasks.

@DigiCheerSquad provided updates as the weekend on Saturday:

Cowboys Scavenger Hunt - Weekend Update

Well done to those who completed all four tasks and congratulations to Sam who took away the signed ball:

Did You Know…

  • #CowboysSocialClub fans have liked 700 posts on the Cowboys Facebook page.
  • The #ridemcowboys hashtag has been used 1400+ times by #CowboysSocialClub fans.
  • Fans have earned more than 15,000 #CowboysSocialClub points for sharing content on Facebook.

True Blue HQ

One of the rules for Blues fansThe Blues held their own scavenger hunt in True Blue HQ prior to hosting the French national side in a one-off exhibition match at North Harbour Stadium.

The same concept was applied; fans had to sign up with #TrueBlueHQ, the team’s Digital Cheer Squad implementation, and perform tasks with their social media accounts to go into the draw to win a double pass to the Blues-France game.

The three winners were announced via the team’s Twitter account:

Did You Know…

  • Over 1200 #truebluehq fans have liked Blues Facebook posts.
  • The #trueblue hashtag has been used in over 2,600 #truebluehq fan tweets.
  • @BluesRugbyTeam has been mentioned over 5600 times by #truebluehq fans on Twitter.

Crows Core Launch

followdangerfield32Following another successful #CrowsChat on Twitter, Crows Core, the Adelaide’s Digital Cheer Squad was launched – giving fans a chance to channel their online support for the Crows and interact with like-minded fans.

#CrowsChat has been a big success for Crows every Tuesday night, the fans are engaged in deep discussion on a Tuesday night and the fans loved checking their Crows Core scores late into the night.

Fans were greeted with this video from Bernie Vince (@bvince17) upon arrival to Crows Core:

Crows fans should keep an eye out for ways their support of the Crows can be rewarded – a scavenger hunt of hunt of their own might be coming their way!

Did You Know…

  • @Adelaide_FC has been mentioned 4750 times by #CrowsCore fans on Twitter.
  • The #gocrows hashtag has been used over 4,300 times by #CrowsCore fans.
  • Over 1350 articles from have been shared by #CrowsCore fans.

South Sydney Social

The top of the table Rabbitohs have been starring on the field, while they’re fans have been busy off it in South Sydney Social.

Rabbitohs fans love #gorabbitohs hashtag

Did You Know…

  • The @SSFCRABBITOHS handle has been mentioned over 5400 times by #SouthSydneyCentral fans.
  • The #gorabbitohs hashtag has been used in over 3800 tweets from #SouthSydneyCentral fans.
  • #SouthSydneyCentral fans have liked over 1400 posts on the Rabbitohs’ Facebook page recently.
  • #SouthSydneyCentral fans have shared over 330 pieces of content on Facebook recently.

Stay tuned as Rabbitohs fans will fire up soon…

The Swoop

Eagles fans rally behind Nic Nat onlineThe West Coast Eagles are back using Digital Cheer Squad with The Swoop  for the third season.

The team has been buoyed by the return of Nic Naitanui (@RealNaitanui), winning five of their last six games, while the fans are doing some great things off the field.

Did You Know…

  • The #goeagles hashtag has been used in over 1450 tweets by #TheSwoop fans.
  • @WestCoastEagles has been mentioned over 1500 times by #TheSwoop fans.
  • #TheSwoop fans have shared over 250 articles from on Facebook

Don’t forget that Facebook have followed Twitter’s lead and started using hashtags to make it easier for users group their discussions and find items by topic.  We’ll have more info on how fans are adopting Facebook hashtags in our next roundup.

We’ll bring you another update soon, if you have any questions about Digital Cheer Squad simply send a tweet to @DigiCheerSquad or contact us.

Blues, Cowboys & Eagles fans fire up @DigiCheerSquad

Digital Cheer SquadAs we draw deeper into the 2013 AFL and NRL seasons and nearer to the Super Rugby finals, a number of Digital Cheer Squads are up and firing – with fans racking up the mountain of points on offer!

What is Digital Cheer Squad?

Digital Cheer Squad is an online frequent flyer rewards system that grades a fan based upon the support they show for your team or brand via Twitter and Facebook.

It’s a great way for sports teams to connect with fans and sponsors in the continually growing world of social media.

Sports Geek first launched with Minnesota Timberwolves at the 2011 NBA Draft and now have teams in AFL, NRL and Super Rugby activating digital fans using Digital Cheer Squad.

Let’s check in with some teams using Infographics built using to highlight what is happening behind the scenes.

Auckland Blues – #TrueBlueHQ

Digital Cheer Squad building engagement with Blues sponsor

Auckland Blues have done a great job engaging Blues fans with True Blue HQ take a look at some of the results they have got for the presenting partner Barfoot & Thompson, New Zealand’s largest privately owned real estate company.

Impressively, #TrueBlueHQ fans have received over 10,000 points simply from interacting with major sponsor Barfoot & Thompson on Twitter.  Fans are able to gain points simply by following and mentioning the @BarfootThompson on Twitter, as well as retweeting their tweets, if you take a look at @BarfootThompson mentions they is a lot of love from Blues fans, we are looking forward to being able to say “Real Estate company sells house via Twitter activation”.

West Coast Eagles – #TheSwoop

Eagles fans love following Nic Nat

One thing that’s clear from this infographic – a goal after the final siren to win your team a game of footy The West Coast Eagles are in their 3rd season with The Swoop, they launched in 2011.

doesn’t do your online popularity any harm at all!  Nic Naitanui does a great job engaging fans on Twitter and Instagram, The Swoop has helped the Eagles profile their growing roster of players active on Twitter.

North Queensland Cowboys – #CowboysSocialClub

Building Facebook EngagementNorth Queensland Cowboys launched #CowboysSocialClub last week and  fans have produced some really impressive numbers so far when it comes to sharing content on Facebook.

Posts on the official Cowboys Facebook page have received nearly 700 likes from #CowboysSocialClub fans while  around 11,000 points have been distributed to fans who have gone on to share these posts with their Facebook friends. Giving fans an extra incentive to share official team content helps the Cowboys maintain a strong online brand and presence.

South Sydney Rabbitohs – #SouthSydneySocial

The Rabbitohs’ Digital Cheer Squad – #SouthSydneySocial – was launched last night, and we’ll be sure to bring you an update on how that’s tracking in the coming weeks.  Early returns are good with fans registering around Australia and a few international fans from the Rabbitohs wide fan base.

South Sydney Social - Home Page

Check them all out

Follow @DigiCheerSquad on Twitter to see fans from all teams firing up.

Stay tuned for more teams launching soon, so keep an eye on SportsGeek’s Facebook and Twitter accounts so you can be sure to sign up as soon as it drops!

Interested in Digital Cheer Squad for your team? Simply contact us

Getting @SportsGeek clients the Twitter tick of approval


Our motto is connecting sports, fans & sponsors using technology, we have enjoyed doing that over the past 3 years at Sports Geek.

One platform that has been critical to our success and our teams has been Twitter so we are more than happy to assist Twitter in developing Australia as a strong market for Twitter.  Sports is a perfect fit for Twitter because sports thrives on live as does Twitter.  “Twitter is where live happens” is usually thrown into most presentations and sessions we do.  The stats don’t lie 6 of the top ten events on Twitter were related to live sports events (the others were music events emphasising Twitter as the sports & entertainment platform).

One way we are helping Twitter is helping to identify & verify Australia sports Twitter accounts.

Thanks to the @Verified team  for verifying the following Sports Geek Clients.

Storm Name change

@MelbStormRLC no longer say hello to @MelbourneStorm

Adelaide Crows pick up a blue tick in AFL Trade period.

Sydney Thunder ready for Big Bash now verified.

South Sydney Rabbitohs now verified like Russell Crowe.

Cricket NSW are Verified, so are the Blues and the Breakers.

Out west the @WestCoastEagles and @PerthWildcats have secured the Verified tick (and will be adding their Twitter Header image today)


Stay tuned for further announcements of what we plan to do with Twitter.

If you want assistance for your league, team or athlete please contact us or better yet send me a tweet to @seancallanan or @SportsGeek.

Sean spoke to Harf on HarfTime on why Twitter wants to develop the Australian market & why verification is part of that strategy.

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Until Next Week

Listen to Harf Time on Wednesdays (at 2:45pm) when Sean Callanan discuss sports digital with Daniel Harford.

Tune into Harf Time over the weekdays from 12-4pm on 1116 SEN.

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

Latest Update

Happy to get Collingwood and Scott Pendlebury verified.

Pendles might be on holidays in Bali but doesn’t mean we can’t get him verified.


Podcast transcription

Francis: Always good to catch up with our Sports Digital Media guru, Sports Geek’s Sean Callanan is on the line, right in front of me… Hello, Sean.

Sean: [Laughs] Yes, I’m on the line right in front of… Where’s this line that I’m on?

Francis: [Laughs]

Sean. I’m sitting in a chair. Someone rename these chairs? But yeah, good to be here.

Francis: That’s the line and that’s something else over, that chair. Now, what are we talking about today? I’ve seen all your clients – just when my feed’s coming through with all of your clients on Twitter – they’ve got this big blue tick, or a white tick in a blue circle. What’s going on?

Sean: So what we’ve been able to do is to get their accounts verified.

Francis: What do you mean ‘verified’?

Sean: Verified. That means Twitter have effectively said ‘Yes, they are the people who they say they are’…

Francis: Right, which is important on Twitter.

Sean: Which is important on Twitter, and a lot of people know that the West Cost Eagles are ‘WestCoastEagles’, The Melbourne Storm ‘MelbourneStorm’. And now they’ve got a new handle, they’re no longer ‘MelbStormRLC’ they’re now ‘@MelbourneStorm’, which makes a lot of sense.

Francis: Why weren’t they ‘@MelbourneStorm’ in the first place?

Sean: They didn’t have the handle. Someone went in and grabbed it.

Francis: Ahh…

Sean: And so we were able to talk to Twitter and say ‘Can we have that handle back?’ and they went ‘Yeah, no worries’. So now The Melbourne Storm is ‘@MelbourneStorm’

Francis: That’s much easier.

Sean: It’s much easier and it’s more conducive to say ‘I’m looking forward to seeing @MelbourneStorm.’ It flows a little bit better. So Twitter have contacted us about helping develop Australia as a market for Twitter. We’re mad for Twitter, we love our Tweeting, and I did say we have been using Twitter and there is a lot of activity. Australia pretty much takes over trends at about 8 O’ clock at night when all the US are asleep. So they do know that it is a good market for them and there’s a lot of people Tweeting, but they really want to take it mainstream and have more people doing it, making it a bit more commonplace. And one of the things that worked really well for them in the States, and we’ve spoken about it before, is the case study of Shaquille O’Neal. Like when Shaq went and got on Twitter and stopped… he had six or seven impersonators, he got on Twitter and said ‘It’s the real me @TheRealShaq’ and started Tweeting. Then the media started paying attention and a lot more athletes and celebrities jumped on Twitter, so it really helped their rise, we’re talking two or three years ago. They said well what if we can duplicate that in Australia, and I said well you’ve got a pretty good… All the teams are using it and doing a great job for the fan engagement and driving traffic back to the website, and then you’ve also got players that are using it quite effectively.
But there is that ‘Hang on, is that a real account or a fake account?’ So that’s where the verified tick will come in handy, people will be able to go ‘I know that account’s real because Twitter have signed it off’, they’ll still need me and the clubs and that to say ‘Yes, this is a fair dinkum account and not a fake’ but if we verify the right ones then it will be a bit easier for the people who are coming to Twitter for the first time. People like Shane Warne, he’s been verified, so being able to know that is a real account ,the person behind the account is the actual person, will help ease people going ‘I’m not sure if it’s real or not’. What Twitter want to do – or as we say in Australia, ‘Twi-tar’ when you’re talking to them you’ve got to put in the Australian accent – is give it a bit more of an Aussie feel. So if you’re new to Twitter and you sign up, rather than seeing Ellen DeGeneres or LeBron James as suggest people to follow, you’ll start getting an Australian flavour.

Francis: Sports Geek? Jas’ Richo?

Sean: Yes, Jas’ Richo and things like that and you’ll start seeing more of Australian celebrities and Australian atheletes and partners. So people get an Australian feel for their Twitter, because if you go following these American accounts, they’ll all be Tweeting when we’re asleep.

Francis: Are you telling me that Dennis Cometti – when he gets on Twitter – he’s going to have the rights to ‘@Dennis Cometti’ as opposed to the fake account that’s out there?

Sean: Potentially yeah, that’s exactly right. A lot of people will be thinking – it’s very funny and people might think that is – but as more accounts get verified people will see it’s not verified. And even if they read the bio they’ll see it’s not a real account, but a lot of people don’t. But if you start seeing the tick you go ‘That’s real’, so if we start having more accounts verified then people will be able to go ‘That’s not a real account, it’s a parody account’ and ‘that’s a real person’. Twitter for instance sent me a list of 500 VITs – Very Important Twitterers – and they did it pretty much algorithmically, so they looked at Wikipedia they looked at Twitter and they said here’s who we reckon are the Top 500 Australian accounts?

Francis: So how was yours there?

Sean: It didn’t quite scrape in…

Francis: What?

Sean: But there was a whole bunch of accounts that weren’t really Australia accounts that were fake accounts, so we’re helping them to go through and saying that if you’re going to start promoting certain accounts, we want to make sure that they’re real accounts. That they’re people that are Tweeting properly and doing a good job because they’re the ones that Twitter want to promote.

Francis: That’s good for their business too, isn’t it?

Sean: Yeah and that’s the thing, it grows. Twitter works so well with sports because sport is best live and Twitter is built for live.

Francis: There’s no better sport for Twitter than the Tour De France, sitting on the account late at night, live, it’s fantastic.

Sean: But that goes with any live sport. I heard a great phrase at the Asia Pacific World Sport Women’s Conference at the MCG in the last two days, ‘Commentweeting’. So that’s when you are commentating via Twitter on a sports event. And Bridie O’Donnell who’s a pro-cyclist I’m going to give her credit for that one, but that’s a great phrase because that’s effectively what a lot of people do and that’s what athletes can do. You can be ‘commentweeting’ while you’re watching the footy and you’ve got that footballer’s perspective.

Francis: That’s effectively what I do when I’m covering the Tour De France.

Sean: Exactly.

Francis: And I’ve got no expertise at all but yet I’m ‘commentweeting’. I like it. OK so look out for the verification tick from the Twitter account and make sure they are the legit ones and you’ll know exactly what’s coming at you from those organisations. Great to catch up, mate.

Sean: No worries mate.

Francis: Check out ‘@SportsGeek’ on all the social media platforms and you’ll find out what Sean’s doing in this world. He’s a star, he’s our man and we love him.

Social September – Who wins @AFL Vs @NRL? Where does your team stand?


We first look at the battle for social media fans back in March 2011 when the AFL reached the magical 1M milestone on Facebook with the NRL in close pursuit we looked at the social media fan numbers again in September 2011. Both Leagues have smashed through the 1M barrier are are in a race to reach 2M Facebook fans across the league.

The AFL & it’s clubs have maintained a strong following on Twitter with a far more Twitter followers than in the NRL shown by the stark gap in the club averages 19,398 compared to the NRL 13,012. However on Facebook the NRL holds a lead in the club averages lead by Broncos with a whopping 260K Facebook fans with Collingwood & Essendon both joining the 200K club recently & the top 10 split evenly but the AFL teams are getting slightly more engagement via Facebook’s “Talking About This” metric. AFL does have 2 more teams with Gold Coast & GWS Giants joining the AFL in the past 2 seasons.

Given 5.8M people on on Facebook in Australia, it will be interesting to see what numbers both leagues can grow to. Thanks to SportsFanGraph for helping us compile these numbers, you can check our live rankings for NRL & AFL and other sports.

We discussed the Social September with Francis on ABC Grandstand on Saturday as well as the “Talking About This” number and the mysterious Facebook Edgerank.
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Where does your team sit on the Footy social media ladder?

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Until next week

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

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

#SEAT2012 recap Part 2 – Social, TV, TD Garden & Technology

#Digibattle results @BrisbaneLions Vs @WestCoastEagles using @DigiCheerSquad


As previewed last week the Lions took on the Eagles in an online fan battle.

In the Maroon Corner

Lions Preview: Lions fire up the Digital Pride, find the Lions on Facebook and on Twitter @BrisbaneLions

See their Digital Cheer Squad in action Brisbane Lions with Digital Pride

In the Blue & Gold Corner

Eagle Preview: Eagles call for Swoopers, find the Eagles on Facebook and Twitter @WestCoastEagles

West Coast Eagles with The Swoop have developed strong digital cheer squads using Sports DP.

Tune in for the #DigiBattle results show

The battle was scored over five categories using analytics from Facebook, Twitter & stats from Sports DP.

Download the presentation – PDF form

Agree with the result?

Let us know in the comments or send a tweet to @SportsDP or @SportsGeekHQ

Video Transcription

Welcome, my name is Sean Callanan. Here we are looking at the digibattle between the Brisbane Lions and the West Coast Eagles. What I want to take you through here is how we came up with digibattle, how we measured it, and how we used different tools to measure the results from the digibattle.
First of all, a little background on how we’re going to run the digibattle. The digibattle is run within Sports DP. Sports DP in 140 characters grades our fan social media activity based on the support they show for your team, so we’re able to develop rules specifically for the Brisbane Lions fans and for the West Coast Eagles fans to encourage their fans to be better fans of the team, and we do that by scoring their activity on both Facebook and Twitter.
Let’s have a look at the teams as they stand so far. First of all, the West Coast Eagles rolled out the Swoop in last year’s final series. They currently have a whole bunch of fans in there creating a lot of activity. This site is available on the West Coast Eagles’ site so it’s embedded into their page, and they just recently, the Brisbane Lions also rolled out a version of Sports DP and they named it Digital Pride.
So we’re going to look at the stats that came out of the results both of the Swoop and the Digital Pride. Let’s have a look at how they match up in Facebook and Twitter.

West Coast Eagles way out in front, smashed through the 100,000 Facebook fan barrier earlier this year. The Brisbane Lions are just starting to develop their fan base, and were just lucky enough to, only a couple of weeks ago, get passed the 50,000 barrier, but what we do is we actually do adjust the posts to make sure this is a fair fight.

On the Twitter side of things, again the Eagles have been pushing their social media platforms a little bit longer than the Brisbane Lions and as such they have over 15,000 Twitter followers. The Lions growing steadily at nearly 9,000 Twitter followers.

So let’s have a look at what we measured and what were the key criteria for the digibattle. The first one was measuring the fan participation inside the Sports DP platform, and what we saw over the weekend was a big increase in fan activity where fans were tweeting more, retweeting more, liking a lot more activity on Facebook, sharing posts, sharing content, and liking posts on Facebook.

The win this weekend has to go to the Brisbane Lions. They saw a 7.97 percent increase in the points per fan. The Eagles, their activity was also up, up to 5 percent, but the win for this category has to go to the Brisbane Lions, as their fans became more active over the weekend.

Our second criteria was Facebook pregame likes, and this was a comprehensive win to the West Coast Eagles where they got 3,612 likes on their pregame posts. The Brisbane Lions only got 323. We adjusted that to match the two Facebook numbers, but the Brisbane Lions have only been using the pregame posts in the last four weeks, so it was a decided advantage for the West Coast Eagles. The West Coast Eagles fans know how to really rally around that post before the game, and a comprehensive win there for the West Coast Eagles.

Next we pit the Facebook mascots against one another with Bernie Vegas and Rick the Rock, both having Facebook pages, so what we did is we developed a rule inside Sports DP to encourage the fans of West Coast and of the Brisbane Lions to also like their mascot. And the results out of Sports DP see that 9 percent of Rick the Rocks’ fan base actually comes from Sports DP, and even though the Brisbane Lions’ fans have only been on the Digital Pride for only three weeks, 6.74 of the fans for Bernie have actually come from Sports DP. And what we will see is we’ll see the engagement with those mascot pages grow over time.

The West Coast Eagles’ Rick the Rock page, for instance, average of ten engagement actions per fan via the fans that are connected via Sports DP, so they’re really providing a lot of engagement for what really is a niche Facebook page for the West Coast Eagles. So Rick the Rock gets the win in this category.

The next thing we looked at was Twitter and how we were measuring the specific team hashtags. So for the Lions it’s #golions and for the Eagles it’s #goeagles. Very simple, uncomplicated game day hashtags that pretty much reflect what the fans are yelling out in the stands. We ran a tweet-reach report over the tweets for the weekend. We saw that 588 West Coast Eagles’ fans tweeted #goeagles, and we saw that 465 Lions fans tweeted #golions.
And so it was very important to see, one, that there were more fans doing it. I think that’s more important than the actual number of tweets because you can get one or two people that do a lot of tweets and if you’re effectively just counting tweets it’s not a fair indication of your base.

So when we look at that fan base compared to their number of followers we see that the Brisbane Lions get the win with over 5 percent of their fan base contributing over the weekend to the hashtag #golions, with the Eagles at around 4 percent.

What was interesting though is inside Sports DP both were over 35 percent in the amount of fans that were active in Sports DP using the hashtags. So we can see that Sports DP is developing that digital cheer squad and is alerting more fans to be using the game day hashtag.

But from a Twitter battle, the Brisbane Lions get the win, and they would’ve been encouraged with the two point victory, which would’ve probably sparked a few more people tweeting after such a big win like that.

And the last one that we were encouraging in Sports DP is to encourage the fans to retweet and amplify the team account, and so from the stats from Sports DP we had 131 fans from the West Coast Eagles retweeting West Coast Eagles tweets over the weekend, and we had 60 of the Brisbane Lions fans retweeting the Brisbane Lions accounts over the weekend.

Now, again, as a percentage of the amount of fans that are in Lions Pride and that are in the Swoop we give the victory to the Brisbane Lions because one in four people that have scored their tweets and scored their Facebook actions in Sports DP, one in four of those started retweeting the Brisbane Lions, and this was definitely a cross-correction behavior. When we first did the initial stats of the Brisbane Lions Twitter account, the fans weren’t retweeting the Brisbane Lions at all. There were a lot of replies. There were mentions obviously of the Brisbane Lions, but they weren’t really amplifying the Brisbane Lions account. So there were some technical changes in the voice and the way that the posts were put up on the Brisbane Lions’ Twitter account to make them more retweetable. And again with a big victory comes lots of retweets, and the Brisbane Lions were lucky enough to have their largest retweeted tweets over the weekend, which again would’ve contributed to the win in this battle. But 25 percent of the fans in Sports DP had retweeted Brisbane Lions, and nearly 20 percent of the fans in the West Coast Eagles the Swoop retweeted the West Coast Eagles.

So our final tally, much like the game itself, was a three-two split, with the Brisbane Lions getting a close victory and taking the points in the digibattle. We look forward to seeing how the fans continue to engage with the Brisbane Lions and the West Coast Eagles in Digital Pride and the Swoop.

If you want any more information about Sports DP, about how to turn your fans into a band of evangelists, a brand of evangelists, even, and how to drive your fans to social actions, get them to do what you want them to do, and what you can do with Sports DP to develop that digital cheer squad to promote your team, get your message out there, and train your fans in the actions that you want them to do. The fans love seeing their names in lights, especially their ranking back on your websites, so it always drives traffic back and allows you to now run social promotions to get your fans to be the key drivers for those social promotions, which sponsors love. It obviously builds your talking about these numbers in Facebook and does have the ability to connect your sponsors to that digital fan base when we can roll out a sponsored rule to ask the fans to like or promote a sponsor promotion that you’re trying to do with a simple tweet or a Facebook share.

If you want any more information, please give me a call. You can tweet me @seancallanan or go to sportsgeekhq and fill in the contact form or check out for any more information.

Congratulations to the Brisbane Lions for the win in the digibattle, and I look forward to our next digibattle using Sports DP.

As discussed on Harf Time

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Listen to Harf Time on Wednesdays (at 2:45pm) when Sean Callanan discuss sports digital with Daniel Harford.

Tune into Harf Time over the weekdays from 12-4pm on 1116 SEN.

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

Podcast transcription

TONY: That time of a Wednesday afternoon where Harf normally catches up with Sean Callanan, but I get to talk to the Sports Geek today @SportsGeekHQ on Twitter. Good day, Sean.

SEAN: Good day Schibecs

TONY: How’s it all going buddy?

SEAN: It’s good, keeping busy, keeping the fans engaged on both Facebook and Twitter. It’s been fun.

TONY: Take us through the little thing that you did for Brisbane and West Coast.

SEAN: Yeah, well, it was an absolutely great game and a great call by the guys at SEN. I was actually listening to the end of it, but what we did was we did a bit of a battle between the fans of both Brisbane and West Coast Eagles. They both got implementations of Sports DP, which we developed. It ranks all the fans and what they do from a social activity point of view, so the Lions have Lions Pride and the Eagles have their implementation called the Swoop.
And so what we did is we started to rank the fans on the actions that they were doing and sort of put them in a bit of a battle to say who’s going to win the online battle? The on-field battle is between the 22 blokes but who’s going to win the battle off the field?
And it was a bit of an unfair fight. You see there’re the numbers. The Eagles way out in front as far as Facebook fans and Twitter followers, so we did a bit of handicapping at Sports Geek and came out with some really great numbers. The fans, all their scores in Sports DP, all rows across the board for both teams, the Brisbane Lions were just in front, and I think that was maybe the fervor that they had after the win with people re-tweeting and on top of that it was Brownie’s 100th game as captain, so they were all up and about.
We also scored them on the Facebook fans liking the pregame post, so it’s pretty much, ‘Hey, guys do you think we’ll win.’ And West Coast Eagles guys have been doing it for 12 months so they just completely smashed that category and were way out in front, but what we also did was we put up the mascots in a digibattle because both Rick the Rock for the Eagles and Bernie Gabba Vegas, both have a Facebook page, so it’s a much smaller segment of their fan base that most of the fans don’t know about, and so we use Sports DP to direct the fans there to say, ‘C’mon, lift the engagement’ and effectively using their Mascots as a cheerleader, which is what they are at the stadium, but doing it on an online perspective and…

TONY: Bernie won?

SEAN: No, Rick the Rock won with 10 percent of his fan base actually coming from the Swoop, so Rick was pretty pumped with that, to get a win there, and then we took it onto Twitter and had a battle of the hashtags with #golions and #goeagles and that was one where the Brisbane Lions got up in front on the hashtags, and again, I think they were lucky in that a lot of people were very proud of the win. I think Polks Torpedo tweeted when they twittered that. That went bananas and then the Brisbane Lions had their most tweetable re-tweeted tweet when they got the win, so obviously every fan just could not help themselves and decided to re-tweet.
It was really good to get the feedback from the fans to say, ‘Hey, we’re able to, you know, we’re on the other side of the country but we felt part of the game.’ The clubs are tweeting it out. ‘We knew we had to retweet. We knew we had to use the #hashtag.’ So it was really good from an engagement point of view, and Monday and Tuesday all the fans are going back to see where they ranked because they’re all ranked in a ladder and they get to see where they rank with all their mates.
It’s good fun. It’ll be interesting to see if we can do it again with another couple of clubs. We’ve done it before without having the metrics inside of Sports DP. We did it earlier with the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Storm earlier in the year. It’s not something you can do every single week, but when you’ve got a bit of a rivalry there, or some of it, you can effectively create an event around that, that the fans can sort of rally around.

TONY: Collingwood and Hawthorn have taken up the interaction at the MCG. I know that we do a bit of Twitter work for them during the games and it’s starting to really pick up that interaction during in-game.

SEAN: Yeah, and I think well partly is the ability to be able to get on Twitter, which is a bit of a problem sometimes with a big crowd. That’s a problem worldwide. But, yeah, definitely it comes down to, you’ve got to tell the fans, and so actually using the big screen and saying, ‘Hey, guys, share your tweets. Use hashtag always #hawthorn or tag your tweets #gopies. It might appear on the board; it does make people go, ‘Oh, what is this Twitter thing? I’ll check it out.’
And what you’ll find is most fans will follow the team, they’ll follow the players, and they’ll just effectively get a Collingwood branded, or in the case of West Coast, they effectively get a West Coast brand and Twitter account and they’re pretty much happy with that. They’re following 30 or 40 accounts and they know every time that they have their phone it’s going to be the news from West Coast fans or the players, so they’re quite happy with their Twitter experience like that. I think as more people understand how they can use Twitter because it’s very conversational and you can pretty much get whatever you want to get out of it, you decide who you’re going to follow so you’re going to decide what you’re going to get.
I think the clubs will definitely build further engagement and that can drag the fan along to signing up for a member and maybe buying some more merchandise and really locking them in as a fan, which is what all the teams are trying to do.

TONY: Oh, beautiful. We’ll talk more I’m sure in the ensuing week, Sean. Thank you.

Twitter Hashtags – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly


The focus on this week’s ABC Grandstand segment focuses on twitter hashtags, what they mean, and the importance of getting them right.

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With the NBA Playoffs and the AFL season  in full swing as we head toward June, social media is there in full force, and the masses are focusing heavily on their #hashtagging. With much of the sporting world’s attention fixed firmly on the race to the championship, hashtagging has become ever more prevalent as a way for fans to participate by tweeting about the action using a  particular #hashtag most relevant to the team. But it’s the “right” hashtag that happens to be the dilemma at the forefront of the debate: do hashtags do more harm than good? Fortunately, for sport that is not so much the case but there are other incidents where a hashtag has caused headaches for a brand. Here, we are going to take a look at sport’s teams and other brands that are using hashtags to garner positive, and sometimes negative, fan participation throughout the Twitter-sphere.

What is a Hashtag?

  Hashtags on Twitter are used by tweeps to:

- Identify a team’s fan base, such hashtags that team’s fans can use are #gopies, #goeagles and #ridemcowboys
– Hashtags can be used to drive promotions or competitions
– They can also drive the conversation amongst casual fans with hashtags like, #thevoiceau, #auspol, #masterchef and #afldogscats
– Funny meme – #replacemovie

The examples above are good examples of how hashtags can help a company’s social media campaign work. But, we have seen some fails in regards to hashtags, such as with #QantasLuxury that backfired immensely on Qantas Airways.

Recently, State of Origin also had it’s troubles with no directive from the NRL for fans to use a specific hashtag so many ended up being used, diluting the effectiveness of having a well-prepared hashtag for engagement with fans.

To learn more about hashtags and how they work in relation to sports, check out Episode Two of the #YouTube140 project, which focuses on hashtags.


Sports Geek Medals – The Hashtag edition

What hashtags do we like for the medals, honourable mention to #superawesomemicroproject.

Bronze – West Coast Eagles – #3flagsfull

The #3flagsfull hashtag is the one West Coast use when playing the Dockers, just to remind them of the premiership tally.

Silver – Geelong Cats – #catseatbirds

The #catseatbirds was what Geelong used in the 2011 finals when up against Hawks, Eagles & Magpies.

Gold – #goldswagger

Used effectively by the Indiana Pacers in the NBA Playoffs until they bowed out against the Miami Heat.

Until next week

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

Podcast transcription

STEVE: Have you ever wondered when people talk about hashtags and hash this and hash that when we are in this Twitter-sphere world that we’re in at the moment, exactly what people are talking about? I can hold my hand up and say I have wondered. Clearly it’s some sort of thread thing, but I don’t know if I can ever quite explain it to you, but luckily I know a man who can and he’s sitting right opposite me. Morning Sean.

SEAN: Good day Steve.

STEVE: Sean Callanan who comes in every week usually talking to Francis, but you got me today, but irrespective of that what’re we talking with hashtags? How does this all work because it’s become such a phenomenon in the Twitter world, which everyone, well a lot of people, are using these days, aren’t they?

SEAN: So, yes, in the Twitter-sphere, I think you got it right. I’m a fan of saying “tweeting” rather than “twittering.”

STEVE: I knew you were going to say that.

SEAN: But either or, but I’m old school, as much as you can be old school for a four-year-old technology.

STEVE: Is it four years now?

SEAN: It’s about four years, yeah…

STEVE: Is it really?

SEAN: So hashtags are a way for you to group the conversation and get that conversation around a particular topic, so we see it a lot in sport. One of the biggest hashtags that has been in Twitter is the Super Bowl, so as people are watching the Super Bowl they’ll put the hashtag, and so when we’re talking the people are looking at their keyboards saying ‘Where’s the hashtag symbol.’ It’s the, oh how do I explain it, the two lines, vertical two lines, horizontal hash mark and then you put the word, and so when you’re watching the Super Bowl it would’ve been #superbowl. One of the ones that brought me to the topic was during the week State of Origin was in town.

STEVE: Yeah…

SEAN: And what we saw, I was looking at my Twitter stream, and I saw the following hashtags, I saw #origin, #origin1, #stateoforigin, #SOO, #SOO1, and so everyone was sort of going, there was a real call of ‘What is the hashtag? How can we, you know, what is the official one we’re meant to use?’ So it’s a bit of the NRL dropped the ball a little bit on that one not telling the fans, ‘Hey guys tag you’re tweets ‘this.”

STEVE: Really, so is that what organisations should be doing?

SEAN: Yes, they should be doing, especially around specific events, so like the NBA currently going through the playoffs, if you go there is actually a button on the that says “tweet NBA playoffs.” You hit that button and you can start writing your tweet with the hashtag already embedded, so automatically if you’re just watching the TV whether you’re in Melbourne or Sydney watching the game or in Miami or in New York or in Los Angeles, you can be following a whole stream of conversation via the hashtag, and so that way you can then follow other friends or follow other tweeps on Twitter. You can pretty much put TW in front of any word on Twitter and get away with it. That’s pretty much the rule.

STEVE: Yeah, I was forgetting the rule.

SEAN: So you’ll be able to find new people that follow the interest you might have.

STEVE: I’m a little bit of an amateur with this, and I’m hoping a few other people will be as well. So at the moment I would say follow, I don’t know how many it is, a couple hundred people, whatever, you can also follow conversation streams through hashtags…

SEAN: Well you can just use Twitter’s search facility and say, ‘I want to follow that particular hashtag.’ So who do you follow in the AFL?

STEVE: Uh, I don’t know, Tom Harley, for example.

SEAN: So Tom Harley is a person so you can follow him but what team do you follow?

STEVE: Oh, I see, ***laughter***

SEAN: Yeah, sorry, your team.

STEVE: I was trying to get into the following in Twittie…

SEAN: Exactly, yes…

STEVE: Let’s say Hawthorn.

SEAN: So you’re a Hawthorn man, so at the moment I think from a membership point of view I think their using the hashtag, #alwayshawthorn, so you can be following that to see other fans, but you also might be seeing the more shortened down version of #gohawks.

STEVE: Ahhhhh…

SEAN: So on a game day if you went and tuned in to #gohawks you would find a whole bunch of other Hawthorn fans and you might want to say, ‘Oh, I want to follow them,’ because during the week they might have some good inside info on the Hawthorn game plan or who’s in and who’s out, and it sort of helps you find more people to follow. So we have seen hashtags and sports, I think, uses them really well in corralling the teams and corralling all the fans and giving them something to rally around, whether it be #gopies, #goeagles, #purplepride, #gomanly. Like they’re not super clever, they’re just, you know, what we tell the teams is ‘If you haven’t got a hashtag, what’s the guy in the stands yelling out the most,’ right?

STEVE: **laughing*** yeah.

SEAN: So as a Collingwood fan, you like “Go Pies,” so it makes sense that to be the hashtag. If you try to be a little bit too clever, some teams, both here and abroad, sometimes try to be too clever and try to use the marketing message that they’ve got for the year, and it really is great for a flier and great for a promotion, but it doesn’t really, you’re not going to yell out what that is whatever the promotion might be. So it’s much better to get to the raw emotion and tap into it that way.

STEVE: But, I mean, that’s the official hash-tagging, but there is plenty of unofficial words we see around them, and I could’ve easily put out something on Wednesday night and just called it hashtag, the try that wasn’t, something like that…

SEAN: Well, exactly and that’s the other thing that sometimes, and I’ve been known to do that, as well, is effectively….

STEVE: Controversial that’s surely, Sean.

SEAN: No, no, you can actually use the hashtag as a bit of sarcasm…

STEVE: Yeah, yeah…

SEAN: You know, or a just a bit of a juxtaposition of what you’re tweet is. You know you say, ‘Aw, that was an awesome call by the ref, hashtag, #notreally.

STEVE: **laughing***

SEAN: You know, put a bit of that sarcasm into it, so there is a bit of that. I’ve been known to do exceptionally long hashtags to make people pay attention to actually read what would be normally a sentence, but I just put it in a hashtag. So, yeah, it has been that. There has been other, you know, memes that sort of jump up. Francis is a big one for using hashtags for memes and, you know, hashtag #grandstandbreakfast.

STEVE: Yeah.

SEAN: Sorry, hashtag #grandstand to send in your tweets. Or, you know, he wants song titles for a particular team or that kind of thing, he’ll put it out on hashtag and people will send them in via hashtags, so you can do it, you know, you can pump them up at any point. And then you can do it around particular events whether it be TV events, game events, those kind of things. So plenty of hashtags, so that’s what it is and then it’s a matter if you see someone hashtagging and what’re they talking about it’s best to click on the hashtag and then you’ll see all the other tweets of all the other people doing it, so if you’re not quite….

STEVE: Aw, right, so you can click on #gopies and it’ll just bring up everyone’s #gopies tweets.

SEAN: Exactly and there will be all those Collingwood supporters there and you’ll quickly run away and go back to a safe place. **laughter**

STEVE: So, anyway, Twitter is four-years-old and obviously this has developed over the time. I mean is this an ever changing technology even within Twitter. I mean what we’re talking about now, was everyone doing this four years ago?

SEAN: Yes and no. It’s a development through the Internet and more people are knowing about it but it hasn’t got any harder or smarter or there hasn’t been new checks put to it. It’s just that more people are understanding…hang on we’re rolling out a new TV show, we need to tell all our fans to use this and probably the best example on TV at the moment is The Voice. They’re getting everyone to use that particular hashtag (#thevoice). That hashtag will be trending in the world that night because all the people are sending in their tweets, and so that’s what was happening with Origin. People were all tweeting #origin. I think it’s #stateoforigin where it ended up, then #origin again, both of them ended up trending, but if they had amalgamated them both they would’ve had a bit of a wider effect.

STEVE: And when you say trending you mean?

SEAN: If you look on Twitter it’ll say this is the stuff that’s really hot at the moment, so the AFL Grand Final pushed out the hashtag #aflgf, and so everyone in Australia who was watching the Grand Final was tweeting about the game put #aflgf, and even in America and the UK on Twitter it says the #aflgf is trending, so, you know, it sort of gives national or international attention to whatever your cause is. So that’s the power, I guess, of Twitter hashtags.

STEVE: I mean is it sport that uses it best? Or are there other examples where it’s taken hold? SEAN: Obviously, one of the most popular hashtags last year was the hashtag #tigerblood, and that was from Charlie Sheen’s rants on Twitter…

STEVE: Ohhhh, right…

SEAN: And so then everyone started using #tigerblood as a rude of a way of saying how awesome they were. So it has taken hold and we have seen hashtags go bad. So #QantasLuxury was a hashtag that Qantas decided to run a little simple competition “Tell us what your Luxury experience is and you can win” I think it was a toiletry bag, and everyone decided, ‘No, we’re going to give you a completely different answer to what the hashtag #QantasLuxury is, and it went viral and you know the Ozzy sense of humor took hold of it and it was a PR disaster for Qantas, so there is, you know, McDonald’s have had the same thing. They said, ‘Share your McDonald’s MD stories.’

STEVE: Oh, really, that’s…you see that jumps out at me as standing on the freeway.

SEAN: Exactly and people just go this is awesome we can really flip this on the brand, so it’s very, brands have to be very careful because people who don’t like them or want to have a potshot they can have a go at them. So whereas teams, you know, obviously you’ve got your rallying support, your digital cheer squad out there that are going to support you. You’re always going to get pretty good support from your fans, so that’s the main thing where sports has the advantage of having some really good fan base behind them. One of the ones that I always do are my medals at the end of the week. One of the ones I like is #3flagsfull. That’s what the West Coast Eagles will be using today because they’re playing the Dockers and they just want to remind them how many flags they have. ***Steve laughing*** so that’s a good one just to rub it into the fans.

STEVE: That’s good. I like it.

SEAN: One that I really like and it’s unfortunate as a Pie supporter but I think Geelong did well last year in the Grand Finals with #catseatbirds when they were coming up against the Hawks, the Eagles & the Magpies in the finals. And another one from the NBA where the Indiana Pacers had everyone wearing gold t-shirts in the NBA playoffs so that went the hashtag #goldswagger. So everyone was tweeting it.

STEVE: Yeah, I like it.

SEAN: And last one for one to keep an eye on from a hashtag and a long hashtag at that is the hashtag #superawesomemicroproject, which is a project that’s being developed on Twitter and will continue to grow, and I can’t tell anything more than that, but if you follow the hashtag you’ll keep an eye on it and see it develop.

STEVE: I’ll simply have to say the hashtag #superawesomemarvelouswork, love your work. That’s fantastic, Sean, thank you. Things are much, much clearer now.