SGP 052: Shane Harmon on crowds, stadiums and #sportsbiz

Shane Harmon CEO of Westpac Stadium on crowds, stadiums and #sportsbizOn this week’s podcast we chat with Shane Harmon CEO of Westpac Stadium on crowds, stadiums & technology and #sportsbiz.    Shane is a sports business lifer and is CEO of Westpac Stadium in Wellington, if you’re not following @ShaneHarmon then you just aren’t doing it properly.   Later in the podcast I chat with Al Crombie on ABC Grandstand about new sports digital collaboration called 120 sports.


On this podcast you’ll find out about:

  • What it is like moving from team/event side to stadium side of sports business?
  • What are the key issues stadiums are facing around the world
  • Why the world uses New Zealand as a beta platform and to see upcoming trends.
  • How stadiums can leverage social media for customer service
  • What is the next steps for connected stadium?
  • How Shane keeps up to date on all things #sportsbiz using Flipboard
  • Why would MLB, NBA & NHL collaborate on digital?
  • What is 120 sports and why is video so important?
  • How did fans respond to Luis Suarez Adidas promotion?
  • What do the Wiggles have to do with World Cup?

Resources from the episode

Cheers Shane

Last time I caught up with Shane at MLB in Sydney

Well done to The Wiggles

Don’t miss SEAT 2014!

Attendance for SEAT 2014 is up 60% from last year.  Hope to see you there.

Don’t forget to send in your best content and campaigns so I can profile them at #SEAT2014, email me or use contact form.

If you want to connect with sports executives then Miami is the place to be, secure your registration now.

Register for #SEAT2014 now

Everyone else was having fun deciding where LeBron would go over the summer, the SEAT intern team joined in the fun.

Listening via iTunes?

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

Leave an iTunes review

On SoundCloud?

Follow Sports Geek on Soundcloud, all episodes available.

Don’t miss a thing, get Sports Geek News weekly

Given email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.
Please provide a valid email address.
Thank you, your sign-up request was successful! Please check your e-mail inbox.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Please fill in the required fields.

Podcast transcription

Sean: Welcome to episode 52 of the Sports Geek podcast. On this week’s podcast I chat with Shane Harmon, the CEO of Westpac Stadium on crowds, stadium technology and just the world of sports biz in general. And we check in on the World Cup. And at Sports Illustrated’s new digital platform.

DJ Joel: Welcome to the Sports Geek podcast, the podcast built for the sports digital marketer. And now, here’s your host, who has attended MLB games in 10 MLB stadiums, Sean Callanan.

Sean: Thanks, DJ Joel. My name is Sean Callanan from Sports Geek and you’re listening to the Sports Geek podcast. Yes, 10 MLB stadiums I’ve been to, so I’m very much looking forward to notching up to number 11 when I go to Marlins Park at SEAT Conference down in Miami and I’ll have to actually update my sports passport. I believe the app that Peter Robert Casey is building to keep track of what stadiums you’ve been to will be out soon. Check out episode 46 for my chat with Pete.

This week’s podcast I catch up with another previous guest, Shane Harmon. We’ve had him on episode 23 but a bit more of a dip and dodge discussion this week. Shane is the CEO of Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand. You would know him if you follow him on Twitter, a big share of all things sports biz. So we’ll talk about crowds, stadium and technology and his journey using Flipboard as a content curation tool and how he keeps up with the world of the sports business. Then I chat with Al Crombie on ABC Grandstand to talk about 120 Sports and a bit of a wrap of the World Cup so far. But first, here’s my chat with Shane Harmon from Westpac Stadium.


Sean: Very happy to welcome a good friend of mine who’s been on the podcast before, all the way from New Zealand, Shane Harmon. Welcome to the Sports Geek podcast.

Shane: Good afternoon Sean.

Sean: So, you have been on the podcast before but I just want to get everyone a little bit of an intro of who you are and what you do. You are currently the CEO of Westpac Stadium in Wellington. Do you want to give everyone a little bit of a background of your sports biz journey?

Shane: Sure. I’ve worked in sports for the last 15 years or so. Previously to sports I worked with Citibank in a direct marketing role and that for me was a large stepping stone into the sports business. My first job in sports was with the Sydney Swans who I joined in 2000 as Membership Manager. And as you know in the AFL background, direct marketing is a key component of those roles and I was able to transfer those skills across into a sports environment. And essentially I’ve been in sports since then. I spent three seasons with the Swans and moved on to rugby for five years as Head of Marketing for the Rugby World Cup in ’03. That was largely the ticket marketing program and then I spent three years with Australian rugby after that as their GM of Marketing.

And the opportunity then came up with a young family to maybe go overseas, so I got a contact regarding the Rugby World Cup roles for 2011 and we moved over here from ’08 to 2012. For me to date it was the highlight of my career. It was an amazing project to be involved in. It essentially was New Zealand’s Olympic Games and as an event I think that we’ll not see the scale of again in New Zealand. It was a huge ticket target. We sold $300 million of tickets. It was their only source of revenue. And we had a number of challenges through that program as you know. I’ve discussed it before, including the Christchurch earthquake and starting again with eight games six months out of the tournament.

You and I have talked at length about the whole social media scene back then and starting in ’08 it was really just beginning to blossom at that stage. We’re very proud of some of the work we did over at Rugby World Cup in that whole social media space. I think we were the first real major event that used social media to drive engagement and actually sell tickets.

I left New Zealand with a heavy heart in 2012 but moved back to Sydney and I took up the role as Deputy CEO for the Asian Cup for 2015 and expected to see that right through until I got a call about a year and a half ago to consider this role and it was a very difficult decision to make. But it was an opportunity for me to do two things: one, to step up into the CEO role, which I always had the ambition to do but also to move into the venue space because I had spent my entire career on the other side of the fence, as either a hirer or running a major event. So I just came to spread my wings, grow, learn all the time, which I’m continuing to do every day.

Sean: So I guess yeah, that was the first question I wanted to ask you about, you know jumping to the other side of the fence, going from the hirer, the tenant, someone working with stadiums. What’s it like being on the other side of the equation, being CEO of a stadium? Tell us a little bit about Westpac Stadium, where it’s at and how you’ve settled into that role.

Shane: Sure. The stadium has been open 14 years, so it was built in 2000. We are New Zealand’s busiest stadium and we’ve got the busiest event calendar and we’ve got some regular tenants in the Wellington rugby and the Hurricanes and the Phoenix. We’ve run a number of other major events during the year. We’ve got AFL, we’ve got NRL, and we’ve got the upcoming Premier League doubleheader with Newcastle and Westhampton. We’ve held the last two World Cup qualifiers for the All World as well, and cricket. We’ve got a very varied calendar. We’ve actually got two World Cup’s next year. We’ve got the Cricket World Cup and the FIFA Under 20 World Cup. There’s a lot of major events in this part of the world—Australia and New Zealand—in 2015 but I think we’re the only stadium hosting both so, a very, very busy period for us.

I suppose transitioning into this role, it’s really just given me that other side of the picture in terms of commercial negotiations and understanding the venue side of what is always a healthy commercial tension between a steady amount of hirers and really being professional about those negotiations, ensuring that both parties are going to be adequately looked after financially from events and both are in a healthy state. But more than that, it’s really for me about working collaboratively with hirers and I don’t think in Australia/New Zealand there’s enough collaboration between stadium and hirers and how we actually achieve what is essentially an end goal, which is getting more bums in seats.

Sean: Yeah, I mean crowds is I guess an issue sort of world wide. It’s unending, it’s located in any particular part of the world. There is the battle at the moment to get fans to the games. You’re competing against the big screen TV and a very comfy couch. How do you see that, just from an overall perspective, not just with your stadium but stadiums around the world and just trying to draw fans into the stadium?

Shane: There’s actually an uniquely New Zealand view to this and I think that there are things that happen in New Zealand and because we’re such a small market they happen earlier here than they happen in other parts of the world and New Zealand is actually often used by large internationals and multi-nationals as a test market for research for launching products before they roll out globally. So what we’ve seen here over the last 10 years in New Zealand is—particularly in super rugby and other sports as well—is that there has largely been a decline over the last 10 years in people attending live sports. The issue is exacerbated here somewhat by the fact that we’ve got an exceptionally high pay TV penetration in this market. We’re at 52%, where I think Australia is running at 25% Sean is it?

Sean: Yeah. It’s something like that.

Shane: Yeah. So we’ve got double the penetration here and anybody who’s interested in sport here has got a pay TV subscription. And when super rugby launched in the mid ‘90s on really the crest of a wave on the start of this century, there was pretty huge crowds but pay TV was also kicking off at that stage as well. With that level of penetration and even this year, the TV audiences have increased again, it’s very difficult for both of those barometers in a small market to be increasing. At some stage something’s got to give.

The other issue we have here with rugby as well is it tends to be a night time product and because of the nature of rugby—where it goes from one market into the next, New Zealand into east coast of Australia, west coast of Australia, South Africa—it’s great for the TV viewer because you’ve got back to back rugby for eight hours. But it also means that the vast majority of those games take place at night time and we have seen some correlation here between those events that we do host during the day we tend to get better crowds than in the evening. We understand why that’s the case. I’ve seen in various markets that you get two to three times the TV audience with a night time game versus a daytime game. But that is challenging, particularly when you’re dealing with winter sports.

On a global perspective, I’m seeing these trends now being manifested globally and I’ve paid close attention to some of the media coverage. In Australia at the start of the season, both for NRL and AFL, but I also see this as a result of both of their new TV deals. You don’t do deals at that level without making some compromises in terms of your product and I think scheduling is probably one of the bigger issues that has impacted on the codes in Australia this year, particularly when you’re playing some of those games at times that ordinarily wouldn’t be considered family or fan friendly: Sunday nights, Monday nights, that type of thing.

Sean: I mean, I think the TV deals, especially in Australia and for the people listening in the U.S., we don’t—I think it’s just in the last two years that they’ve been playing live TV on Free-to-Air and some on free TV—but still a lot of it is being Free-to-Air, not on an hour delay or a half-hour delay. And that’s sort of taken two years for that effect to roll on. We don’t have the blackout rules that they have in the NFL so if people have the option to—if it’s a cold night—to stay in, and yes the NFL has been testing a lot of things so it’s very hard to pinpoint anything in particular that might be the cause. It could be scheduling. Games on Sunday night and Monday night haven’t been a big hit, but they’re also experimenting with variable pricing and there’s a lot of people complaining that the confusion in the market and the price of tickets going up is causing people to stop going. So there’s multiple factors there, but it’s definitely an issue that all codes, definitely within Australia are struggling with and looking to.

Part of what I’ve been talking to people is sort of going back to your Rugby World Cup 2011 experience and the fact that you sold a lot of tickets using Facebook. The options now that you’ve got in Facebook as far as targeting the right fans and reaching those fans in a relatively cost-effective manner, I see that as a big opportunity for sports to be able to get that ticket selling opportunity to the right fan that currently is under-utilized in a lot of sports. We’re working on a few things with some of our teams as far as putting out the membership offer and ticketing offers to fans but there’s some really cool and—I guess Facebook offers creepy options—to target the right fans is probably one way of putting it.

Shane: Okay. And I think also, I think it’s important that sports and venues, particularly in Australia, because the crowds in general, compared to other parts of the world have been very healthy. You look at the AFL and I think it’s ranked as the fourth highest attended football code in the world for average attendance. I think it’s important that they beat themselves up too much because the numbers are still very healthy and I think in Australia it really leads the world in terms of membership programs and that’s something that we in New Zealand can learn from where traditionally we have not had a strong membership culture here. The majority of our sales for events tend to happen in the days or on the day of the game. We’ve got a big game here tonight, the Hurricanes versus the Crusaders. Thankfully it’s really good weather here. It’s a fine day so we will have a strong walk-up crowd.

However, when you’re relying on late ticket sales you are relying on hope as a strategy and hoping that the team is going well, hoping that the weather is good, whereas building up strong and loyal membership bases at the start of the season locks in a large support base at the start of the season and I think that’s what the AFL has done particularly well. I know the NRL obviously is following that model now and even in the U.S. they’re looking more at a membership type program than the season pass type program and people think they’re much the same thing, but I see them as fundamentally different. A season pass is a financial transaction while a membership is an emotional one and the AFL have been world leaders at that in that regard. That’s certainly something that I’d like to see follow suit here in New Zealand.

Sean: Yeah. I mean I’m always talking to people about membership marketing and the way it’s done in Melbourne. You’re in a role that’s had the opportunity of the past five years to effectively do what the AFL has done in the last 15 because I’ve been able to accelerate it and start that messaging of “this is why you need to be a member.” I mean, I feel membership sort of marketing at the moment is at the level where it’s almost guilt marketing. If you’re a member of that club and you see another person that says they support the club, the first thing that most fans will say is “are you a member of the club?” So like the marketing assets and everything is really put on to your own ambassadors and they’re effectively out there sparking to get their friends to sign up.

Shane: And you get the engagement at that level where the financial component of the transaction, it becomes almost more of a donation than expecting specific value in return for it and just to give you my example, I mean I’ve had the same seats at the sitting cricket round for the Swans for 16, 17 years now and I renewed my memberships for four years while I was in New Zealand even though I wasn’t getting anything out of it. We wanted to sit with the same people when we eventually went back that we’d sat with for all those years. It was also my way of supporting the club and in some respects that’s engagement nirvana if fans take that attitude toward supporting their teams.

Sean: So one other thing that’s in the solution spectrum of crowds is technology and bringing up the technologies at the stadiums, allowing fans to connect. I’ve spoken with a few seat sponsors on the podcast about the different solutions that are available as far as rolling out stadium wi-fi, whether it be popping it up at fan’s zones and events. Where do you see it, both as a necessity for a stadium to roll out and where does it play a role in getting fans through the gate?

Shane: I think, Sean, if not within five, within 10 years every stadium in Australia and New Zealand will be fully networked is my view. It will become the norm rather than the exception. I think because we’ve been relatively late to the party, say compared to the U.S., it’s probably one of those spaces where our first move or advantage doesn’t necessarily apply and what we’re seeing now are models emerging where venues and teams can actually commercialize these assets. I think the early adopters in this space put a lot of money into this and filed them and see what return they could get. But what we’re seeing now are viable commercial models that are emerging. I look at a few of the venues in Australia and I see three different models already. One is a stadium-funded model, which is completely funded by the stadium and they commercialize it then through advertizing rights and data rights. I’ve seen another model where the stadium has incurred no costs whatsoever but the cost has been borne by the telecomm and technology partner but as a result they retain the commercialization rights.

And I’ve seen a third model emerge which is these models being funded by stadiums but then a per-game fee being passed on to hirers for them to commercialize it. So I think over the next year to two years we’re going to see models emerge that show the return on investment on the technology investment and how venues and teams can actually make this work. We’re looking at this whole space like everybody else at the moment. We’ve recently constructed a new lounge on our public concourse and for me it’s probably one of the best public spectator spaces in any stadium in Australia or New Zealand. And we’ve got a substantially enhanced food menu than we had previously but we’re playing with a number of pieces of technology here as well. We’ve installed free wi-fi into the lounge. We’ve got large IPT video boards, food menus that are IPT based and mobile phone charging stations and for us that’s just a little taste of what we think is going to come here. So we’re just looking at this next space at the moment.

We’re speaking to everybody in the market and it’s a real shame that it’s unlikely that I’m going to be able to make seat this year due to commitments I have here because obviously it’s a very hot topic over there as well. I think it’s going to become a necessity. I would caution, however, that I don’t necessarily see technology as a holy grail in terms of crowds suddenly going upwards again. I just think this is going to become one of the expectations from fans that this is something we’re going to have. I don’t necessarily think that it’s going to necessarily result in massive increases in crowds. I think teams and venues, there are probably other basic elements that we need to be working on and getting right before we even make that level of investment, too. One very simple area that is mentioned to me regularly is the whole area of beer pourage and you go to any stadium in Australia or New Zealand and there’s normally a pourage partner that’s either tied to the venue or team. But there tends to be very little choice and we’re in a very sophisticated city here. We’ve got more craft beer bars in Wellington than we do in Sydney, for example and if I ask 10 Wellingtonians would you rather offer craft beer or free wi-fi in the stadium I reckon nine out of 10 would tell me to offer craft beer.

There’s a whole lot of other areas. I think it’s a component, but it’s not the holy grail in itself.

Sean: Yeah. I completely agree. I mean it is becoming—I think it was said at Seat last year—that it’s going to be just another utility of a stadium in the same way that you need bathrooms. Wi-fi will be just something that people need but the people aren’t going to a rugby game or a baseball game or a football game to be on their phone. But if you have the wi-fi, how can you enhance the experience so it is a matter of how can we do things like the Warriors are looking to do with their new app and having geo location locked highlights that only come up on the mobile app when you’re at the stadium.

Or special offers, like when you’re walking around sporting Casey’s venue here at the north end of the stadium a special offer will come compared to the south end of the stadium. I think that’s the way effect that’s really going to reach that younger demographic that really sort of loves that type of stuff. The other point of the connected stadium which is sort of–I think it’s Phase II for a lot of the stadiums that are rolling it out—chatted with Fiona Green on it during a previous podcast and she’ll be able to say it as well, it’s the data side of it. Like, how much data can you get from that implementation as far as getting more access to your fans, what they’re doing, that kind of thing. That’s a really big piece that can maybe better help inform you going down the track of attracting the right fans and those kinds of things. So, it’s not just putting in infrastructure, it’s how you go about using it and what you do with the data that you capture from it.

Shane: Absolutely, Sean and in terms of planning in advance of making those investments it’s the data, as you know, on its own doesn’t do anything. When you’re making these investments you also need to think of the resources that you need behind the scenes actually to be able to make sense of this data and to identify trends and to actually make it useable and there’s no point in collecting this data if you’re not going to be able to analyze it and get actionable insights.

Sean: Yeah. And that’s I guess the next money bowl. Like that’s the business money bowl and that’s what, with guys like Russell Scibetti and all the crew that will be in the CRM track at SEAT, that’s their value in understanding that data and then being able to come back to those fans with the right offer to get them to be coming back again and again and again.

Shane: I think so and I think again, you look at these types of offers that are coming up on phones. It’s a fine balance between sending offers through all the time and then looking at other areas of value-add. So we’re looking to develop an app at the moment. It’ll probably take awhile before we get to a place where we’re going to do video streaming in stadiums because we need to look at the broadcast rights and who owns them, et cetera. So there’s a whole minefield to walk through there but even looking at feedback that comes from fans and through social media and identifying the problems that fans incur while they’re in the stadium and how you can use technology to overcome those problems.

One very small example I just saw the other day that I said what a great idea to incorporate into the app is we’ve got a commuter car park here during the week. However on event days that happen during the week it’s closed to the public but we’re not particularly good in communicating that. I noticed a couple of tweets saying oh bugger, I’ve just driven past the stadium, it’s closed. Where am I going to park now? I’m going to be late for work, et cetera. And notification alerts for people who have the app and if there are issues at the car park. They would receive that notification the night before and it would be sweet. They’d be able to make their plans in advance and it’s just a very small example of a problem that I saw come to us via social media that I could see technology actually having a role in performing. I think when you scratch beneath the surface you’re going to find all of those little problems that an app can help and deal with those issues as they arise on game day or outside of game day.

Sean: Yeah. I think the customer service side of things is critical. It’s so easy for a stadium to do and especially if you’re building that kind of app. No one is going to go into that kind of app to check the scores or get an update. They’ve got apps for that so you’re pretty much looking at, I’d send people to J.B.’s book utility and I’ll put the link in the show notes, but he goes through a whole bunch of examples where the marketing or the app in this case is built as a utility for the fan. And so that’s the perfect example of “Oh, I need to find out if I can get to parking,” and it’s going to tell me. It’s going to make it useful to where it’s showing the shortest beer line is this one, go to Bay 13 or Bay 17. Like that is a viable app that people will want to open up again and again.

Shane: And I completely agree and I think stadiums—and I’ve seen in through social media—would sometimes fall into the trap where they’re putting across the same content as the team and really a stadium should not be providing live score updates as far as I’m concerned, via social media. That is the role of the team and the code. Certainly a halftime score or a full time score is fine, but a live commentary from me on the game from the stadium and I see some stadiums, now stadiums have probably been late to the game in social media, but I see MCG aimed at stadiums are doing some good work in this space. And I think social media also allows stadiums to develop a bit of a personality, otherwise they’re a multi-facility building that the hero is the code or the team or the players et cetera, but it really allows the stadium to develop a bit of a personality as well.

We’re finding Twitter in particular is becoming an increasingly important customer service tool for us. We’re just revamping our sales and marketing team but we are bringing on board, starting the week after next, a Fan Engagement and Digital manager and it will be a multi-faceted role, but it will be really about lifting our social customer service on match day and addressing issues and opportunities as they arise and jumping into conversations if there are problems. Because inevitably when you’ve got 20,000 or 30,000 people in a stadium, you’re going to have issues. And I think like any form of customer service or customer complaint is actually how you respond to those issues is going to be key to retaining and keeping a happy fan.

Sean: Yeah. And the critical thing, when you’re doing that kind of thing is to get whoever is driving the Twitter and seeing those posts connected to the control room so it actually happens.

Shane: I couldn’t agree more.

Sean: So there’s nothing worse than, as a social person saying yes now ours are going to get fixed, but not knowing if it got fixed because you can’t go out and see if that toilet stopped flooding or that line for the hot dogs has gotten shorter. There’s going to be a lot of trust with your whole team but if you can get that flow right, the response online can be really good because a lot of the time the customer just wants to be heard and if you’re on the process of solving it, you can turn around that complaining fan rather quickly.

Shane: Absolutely. And I see the role of this person on game day is that they’ll be roving around the stadium looking at some photo opps obviously and fan shots leading into the game. And what we’re doing as a stadium and what food items we have on special or have launched, et cetera but during the game this person is most likely going to be sitting in the control room next to the operation guys and monitoring the issues, monitoring the discussion and being proactive as issues arise. It’s a brave step forward for venues and they really need to be set up operationally to do this. My recommendation is that a venue should not be on Twitter unless it has the capability to be able to react to issues on game day because you’re really not in it seriously if you’re not able to have that discussion on those key couple of hours once a week, twice a week where you actually have a full stadium.

Sean: One thing I did want to ask you about is your meteoric rise with your Flipboard. Tell us about how you use Flipboard, where you get your content and again for our listeners I put in the show notes Shane’s a rock star in the Flipboard space with his own sports biz magazine. Take us a little bit through how that came about?

Shane: I fell in love with Flipboard very early on, Sean. It’s a very visual medium and it really takes your Twitter feed, your Facebook feed, all of your social feeds and particularly those stories that have got a photographic element to them and turns it into this online magazine. The app itself is a beautiful app. It’s beautifully designed. It allows you to flip through stories and see what’s of interest. About a year, year and a half ago Flipboard allowed its users to create their own magazines and you can curate your own content or you can add on friends or colleagues to your account to also add content to it. Because this was at the very beginning, I set up a sports business magazine. I think it’s called Sports Business Today and all I do each day is I monitor the key sports business hashtags that you see on social media. So sports biz is one, social for tickets is another, fan engagement is another. So just those key hashtags that I use on Twitter to generate that conversation around sports business.

Now it involves me each morning or each night just filtering through probably a lot of rubbish but because I’ve started to grow quite a following—I’ve had over 9,000 readers now—I do feel a personal sense of responsibility and a lot of posting on there is actually relevant. The content is probably more geared towards the digital, social, fan engagement, ticketing space so it’s particularly in the fan space but if there’s anything else of general interest I’ll put it up there. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on it. The numbers that I’ve gotten on it have been about 2,000 page flips. I’ve posted 2,200 stories, so if you’re looking to go through the minefield that is social media and RSS feeds and everything trying to find the best of sports business daily, what I’ve done is curated it so it should all be there and there wouldn’t be too many that are escaping my attention. If there are, send it my way and I’ll add it to my magazine.

Sean: Yeah, I mean like I hadn’t found a spot for where to use Flipboard for a long while and it wasn’t until I got the iPad Mini that I started using it again. I just never sort of found a space for it in sort of how I go about finding content. But yeah, like I’ll find a stack of stuff from yours, I’ll start up my own Flipboard magazine. I’m like, damn Shane’s already posted it. I get very competitive. So I do re-Flip a lot of the stuff that you’re putting up in the same space but yeah, just the fact that you can pull in all of the different streams: here’s your LinkedIn feed, here’s a specific Twitter list, here’s what people are saying from Facebook and even just the cover stories that it promotes of all those magazines, it sort of gets the rhythm right of these are things you should read.

Shane: Sure. Absolutely and it’s a relatively manual process for me. I mean I tend to look at it and curate it each morning and each evening when I go home. But I really enjoy it and as I’ve said at the start, I been in this for 15 years but there’s not a day goes by that I’m not learning something new. It’s an industry that’s evolved very quickly and we really all need to stand our guard and just keep learning and look what’s happening around the world, what best practice and every day I see something that amazes me or thrills me. It’s a great resource and hopefully I’ve taken a lot of the heavy lifting out of it for people who are looking for this content. So jump on board and subscribe to it and tell me what you think.

Sean: Yep. Well I’d better wrap this episode or this interview at least, up. Otherwise I’ll go over the optimum time for podcasts, which I’ve been told is around 40 minutes, so I’ll try to keep it around that time, keep it within a commute or a gym session, so I’ll wrap this up. I’ve got a couple of quick questions at the end to hit you up with in the world of sport. Now this one, obviously you can’t name Westpac Stadium, but what’s the best stadium that you’ve ever attended?

Shane: The best for me would probably be AT&T Park in San Francisco. I think from a customer service and an atmosphere and a technology perspective they are the leaders. And I’ve been there on a number of occasions and it’s probably why I keep going back. Anybody in the sport business of stadiums and teams that hasn’t been there should go and get a look.

Sean: Yep. I completely agree with you on that one. What about a must-follow? It doesn’t matter what platform it is. Who do you want to give a shout out on someone that people should be following?

Shane: There’s a few people in sports that I’ve followed from the very beginning. Absolutely name yourself, Sean, as one of the key people that I follow in terms of keeping up to date with what’s happening in the industry. But other people in the U.S.: Brian Gaynor, who’s been to Sydney before for a Sport is Fantastic conference and is a good friend and is an industry leader, and Russell Scovetti you mentioned earlier on and Lou Imbriano, and there are a few others there that are really good sports business Twitter handles and they’re guys that I follow on a daily basis.

Sean: And a best sports biz tip?

Shane: The fan is the number one stakeholder in sports as far as I’m concerned and I think if you get the fan right and you have a vibrant and large and healthy fan base everything else follows. Without a large fan base and an engaged fan base there are ultimately no sponsors. There are no broadcasters. There are no paid professional players and I think sports sometimes loses sight of that. So for me it’s about elevating the fan and making the fan the number one stakeholder in sport.

Sean: Yeah. I couldn’t agree more, especially with looking and working with teams at the social. A lot of the time they’re looking at growing their likes and getting more fans but your key fans, your key fans that they’re already liking you and you’ve got to go deep in your engagement with those ones because they’re the key ones. They’re the ones that are the members. All the stakeholders are turning up and in a long history of working with sport, what is your best sporting memory?

Shane: Well, it would be the whole World Cup experience, the reward at the end of the day on a very long and difficult journey. I suppose reminiscing in Eden Park after the final, when the old Blacks beat France in a game where France probably should have won. But there was this enormous emotional tension just lifted across the country after that game and it was a huge celebration and at the end of a very tough year for New Zealand after Christchurch so for me it was probably that Rugby World Cup Final.

Sean: Well, thank you very much, Shane for joining me. Don’t forget you can follow Shane on Twitter at ShaneHarmon and we’ll have a link to your Flipboard in the show notes. And I hope to catch up with you for one of those craft beers sooner rather than later.

Shane: Sounds good.

Sean: Cheers, man.

Shane: Thanks, Sean.


DJ Joel: Sign up for Sports Geek news at

Sean: Thanks again to Shane Harmon. I am looking forward to catching up with you for a beer as we did at Major League Baseball in Sydney. And I hope to catch him at SEAT next year if he can’t make it this year with the premier league match at Westpac Stadium. For those of you who haven’t registered for seat yet, there still is a few spots left. I was speaking with Christine: over 700 attendees are going to be in Miami. That’s a 16% jump in attendees from last year in Kansas City. Simply go to Obviously you can listen to a couple of podcasts that I’ve done so far with seat sponsors and the people who go to seat to understand why you should be there.

Also, if you’ve got any campaigns that you want me to profile in my book for digital campaigns around the world, please send them in. I’ve got some really great ones from NASCAR, the Kings, Tampa Bay Lightning, V8 Supercars, Portland Trailblazers and the NBA and more. So yeah, I’d really love to see your best campaigns and profile me in that book that I’m going to launch at seat.

That sound that you can hear underneath me is from the FA Cup at Dave Burtenshaw. I spoke about it on episode 50 and he sent in this is what happened after the FA Cup final.

[Background noise, cheering]

Sean: So, very fond memories there for Arsenal fans. Dave Burtenshaw did say it was one of the best moments he’s been from a live event point of view and obviously a big moment for guests, previous guests like Rich Clark, who was calling the game for Chained to the shop a little bit, this clock is telling me to wind up and get out of the podcast. This is episode 52. You get those notes at I’m going to finish up this episode with my chat with Al Crombie, who filled in for Francis Leach at ABC Grandstand, with a little bit of a chat about 120 Sports and also the World Cup.


Al: It’s time to welcome a good friend of the program. This is Sean Callanan from and I must say, he’s looking more Sport than Geek this morning. He’s got the skins on, he’s got the sporting attire.

Sean: You don’t want to put people off their breakfast. Good day Al. How are you doing?

Al: Very well, man. Great to have you back on the program. We had a little hiatus up in Sydney so we didn’t get to see you but it’s been a busy period. Social media has just absolutely been going off in this World Cup.

Sean: Oh, definitely. We’ve seen stacks of, I guess content, shared by the teams and by FIFA but it’s really the fans getting involved which has completely changed the perspective of how people are seeing and interacting with the World Cup. And so we spoke with the guys a couple of weeks ago about the different names coming in: Robert Van Persie first goal with his flying headers and people taking that and yeah, the soirees bite has been something of mirth throughout the internet. And I think it is a cautionary tale for marketers. I mean, I’ve been talking about the World Cup being the best footballs on the beach but it’s also the world’s best marketers presenting their wares. And unfortunately for Adidas, they’ve done a whole campaign around all of their athletes because they were in a fight with the other boot manufacturers and they’ve gotten messy at leading it. And if you look at the photo it’s Luis Suarez particularly chomping down or growling, looking like he’s about to bite something.

Al: That’s a lot of teeth.

Sean: A lot of teeth. And the thing is, these posters are all around Brazil, so the post ups, everything like that. So if you pretty much Google selfies and soirees you’ll see those fans taking selfies, putting their arm in somebody’s mouth due to the biting incident. So whether the added S people come back and say “Oh, look at our brand recognition, it’s all over the web.” Partly they might say that’s great, it’s great buzz, but yeah they might be reconsidering whether to have him on board as an endorsement if he keeps biting people. I think I mean as Rachel said, when the Wiggles attack making fun of you. The Wiggles have brought out a song about the biting incident. This is pretty much for your mum and dad’s kids. So if you’re getting that kind of attention it’s just sort of a completely different way to consume your sport.

Al: Indeed, indeed. Those marketing men would have been sweating heavily, wouldn’t they? And I believe Suarez has lost a big deal with a big betting agency in the U.K. just in the last couple of days so, it’s all fallen apart.

Sean: The moral compass of betting, as you see. That’s how bad it’s gotten. Yeah so, if he’s lost a betting company who knows what’s going to follow? He might even move on from his club and all that kind of stuff because he’s got to form a band and all those kinds of things.

Al: I want to see someone be bold and get a toothpaste endorsement or something, just come out and say “Well, you know.”

Sean: Oh, I’m sure.

Al: No matter what you eat, they still need to be washed.

Sean: Yeah. There was a lot of marketers that did jump on board. Snickers did a great ad. When you have a Snickers when you’re hungry you won’t be angry. There was a whole bunch of brands that sort of jumped on the moment to sort of say “Here, take a chomp out of this pizza,” that kind of thing, so…

Al: It’s incredible. Yeah.

Sean: Again, part of that, what is now moment marketing, some way that Oreo put up the Oreo tweet when the Super Bowl blacked out, that kind of stuff.

Al: It’s the immediacy, isn’t it?

Sean: Yeah. And they got a lot of kudos because you know, the fans go “Oh that’s funny. I’m going to pass it on.” And particularly it’s a free ad.

Al: Yeah.

Sean: But there’s a really big change or big announcement this week with the announcement of the 120 Sports Network. It launched just this week. It’s pretty revolutionary as far as the partnerships are involved so it’s a partnership between Time Incorporated, which is Sports Illustrated, but it’s got the Major League Baseball, the NBA, the NHL and NASCAR all partners with it. Which is, having the different leagues collaborating on a digital effort is quite remarkable because normally they’re all trying to work on their own patches and they’re competing against those fans in some sense and so this one tweening network is effectively a collaboration with those partners to create content and effectively its own digital channel. So it’s a little bit of a startup competitor to the ESPNs of the world and the other big media players. The 120 name comes from the 120 seconds, so again everyone is going to have a little catch, a little pitch. So what they’re going to be doing is creating these 120, you know two minute video clips of game highlights, talking heads, issues of the day, that kind of thing and it’s going to be curated and sort of populated by the popularity in social media and how much it’s getting played. And it’s really targeted to that younger generation that just wants to consume that short form media.

So it will be really interesting to see for one how it goes. It’s backed by—and I’ve spoken of Frank before about the technology behind it—but Major League Baseball advance media which is the tech company behind all of the things you see for Major League Baseball. So they’re providing all the tape to live streaming services and those kinds of things. So you can go to and just be sitting and watching videos and picking clips that you want to watch. They’ll have, I think, it’s eight hours of live programming a day so they’ll be churning out a lot of content so why are all these leagues joining up? Again it’s a way for you to get a taste for oh, I am following now a little bit more Major League Baseball. I’m not behind the pay wall that is Major League Baseball and again that is about deepening ties with your fans. They do all want to consume more content. I mean, all the studies have shown that if you give fans more content to consume, they’ll watch more. So even if we go back to when YouTube live-streamed some of the 2020 Cricket in the IPL in India, and you’re able to watch the games on live YouTube, people who are watching more clips and more opportunity to watch on YouTube meant that they watch TV.

So this whole idea of digital and mobile cannibalizing TV numbers is actually the opposite. The more people get to watch when they want to watch it means they actually want to watch it in all its glory. I mean, if you’re a massive baseball, basketball, hockey or NASCAR fan, yes it’s great to be able to catch up on the bus with a two minute video on the NBA draft or whatever is happening. But then you want to go watch it on your big screen so, sort of one feeds another. There will obviously be advertising play in there. It’s available on multiple apps, so you can get it on a mobile, get in on an iPad, tablet kind of thing, so again, I think it’s probably in the right sweet spot. We’ve sort of seen short video come along from a social media point of view about buying, which is six seconds, which, what can you tell people in six seconds? Not much.

Instagram has a 15 second video but it’s not really where you go to watch video whereas this is dedicated. You want to get the latest clips and highlights, so if a Giant’s pitcher throws a no-hitter, you can get in on there and watch it. And the idea is you would start showing your preferences and they would obviously have advertising data but then you would start saying “Oh, I’m really getting into the baseball season, I’m following that story,” and it will go back to the properties.

Al: Do they get a lot of objection from the ESPNs and whatnot in the sense that they’ll be taking away, in a sense, customers. And the fact that all these big sports are on board as well; did a cause a bit of a kerfuffle in the states?

Sean: Well, I mean, ESPN is a pretty big beast. I mean they’re probably seeing it as a bit of a side play for those leagues. And it has been, there is a bit of competitiveness in the same way it is in Australia between the leagues broadcasting their own content versus the broadcasters but I think that pretty much because it’s a digital play there’s this culture of cord cutting as far as separating yourself from cable and not paying the cable fees. That’s where the play is. Now, it’s four days old so it’s a bit early to tell if it’s going to have some success. But the thing for the teams are, why can’t they monetize that sort of thing? But yeah, where it will get interesting is if it starts affecting broadcasters deciding whether they want to pay for rights or whether the leagues decide, well we like our rights the way they are and we can monetize them better than they can pay. So that’s always going to be the push and pull between digital and TV. If they raise their game, which is most likely from a competitive point of view, ESPN will probably come back with a counter. They’ll come back with some video play. They’ve got Watch ESPN, they’ve got all these different opportunities but they might say “That’s actually working.” Imitation is better than innovation. They’ll just go and copy it and do their own spin on it. So the end result, the leagues will get exposure.

The one note of the partnership, if there’s one rather big league that’s not involved it’s the NFL. They’re quite happy doing their own thing. They’re quite happy keeping it all in-house. They don’t want to share. They don’t want to play with the other boys in town. So, like that’s about the only one that’s not there but it will still have a swag with really great content on it.

Al: Is it a free app? Is it free for us? It’s not going to be five bucks a month or do you see it progressing that way? A lot of these things start free and then you’ll end up paying the first sentence.

Sean: It could progress that way but I think because it is, I guess, league based and it’s a bit more altruistic in that they want to promote their leagues and their content and effectively drive traffic eventually their sites. I think that’s probably not the way they’ll go. They’ll be league sponsors and it will be activations through them and that kind of stuff but I don’t think it will be a paid thing. But who knows? They might head down that path. You know, Major League Baseball at Bat has done that; WWE, we’ve spoken about before, they’re on that Major League Baseball advanced media network and it’s a pay-for-play type of service. So it might be, if you can get the volume. It might be you get to watch 20 videos and if not you can pay two dollars and be on board. But then again, it’s just a subscriber thing, so I don’t think they’ll be at that point just yet.

Al: It sounds like a pretty handy, one-stop-shop though, for sports lovers, you know coming in on the train and getting all those little snippets that you need. But also like you said, I mean this is your realm. Do you see this kind of heading into the future and more collaboration between these sports?

Sean: Well, the collaboration is the interesting twist.

Al: I’m amazed that it happened.

Sean: Yeah. Well that’s the thing and that was the big announcement around it. I think that the trend for more video and more teams doing more content, more video from sports teams is definitely the way to go. Every team that we’re working with, and every one of these people want to consume more video, so finding that sweet spot of one, how you can best consume it and in that manner is the way to go. So then that’s what this is being built for. It’s being built for you to watch a quick mobile version, share it with your mate. It’s that kind of thing. So, it’s a really big player. If you look at the NBA draft, there were stacks of video going out, stacks of interviews, really great coverage by the NBA.

Al: Interesting. Watch this space. We’ll keep track of it with you, Seanie. We’ll see you next delay. For anyone who wants more data on this they can hit your website…

Sean: or Sports Geek podcast in the iTunes store.

Al: Lovely. Appreciate your coming in. Just wrapping up, heading up towards news time. Hang around after the news. Frankie will join us live from Brazil and we’ll also chat with Brent McKay and cover the super rugby action. Of course it’s back on board after a little three week international hiatus but why don’t we head up to the news and hear some of the Wiggles? It’s probably the first and only time it’ll ever be played on Grandstand breakfast side, as you say but let’s hear what all the fuss is about.

[Music] [00:51:16]

DJ Joel: Please leave a review on iTunes. Go to Find all Sports Geek podcasts at Need help with your content? Book in for a content brainstorming session with Sports Geek now. Go to Thanks for listening to the Sports Geek podcast.

SGP 051: Building a Digital Team

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


On this podcast you’ll find out about:

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

Resources from the episode

What World Cup is like from the stands

This is where Sounds of the Game came from

Don’t miss SEAT 2014!

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

Register for #SEAT2014 now

Listening via iTunes?

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

Leave an iTunes review

On SoundCloud?

Follow Sports Geek on Soundcloud, all episodes available.

Podcast transcription

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

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

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

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

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

Harf: Half past eleven?

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

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

Sean: It is a bit of a struggle.

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

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

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

Sean: But you have watched the first game.

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

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

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

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

Harf: Yup.

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

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

Harf: Can you do that?

Sean: Of course you can do that.

Harf: Can you plan a tweet?

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

Harf: Is there really?

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

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

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

Harf: It’s like SMS.

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

Harf: And #Socceroos. Thank you Sean.

Sean: No worries Harf.

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

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

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

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

Don’t miss a thing, get Sports Geek News weekly

Given email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.
Please provide a valid email address.
Thank you, your sign-up request was successful! Please check your e-mail inbox.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Please fill in the required fields.

SGP 050: David Burtenshaw on Adelaide Crows fan engagement

David Burtenshaw from Adelaide Crows on Sports Geek PodcastGood discussion with David Burtenshaw from the Adelaide Crows on how the sports media landscape in his 9 years at the AFL club.  Mike De Graw from Horizon Communications joins the podcast ahead of SEAT in Miami to chat about wi-fi in stadiums and for events.  On HarfTime we preview what Facebook and Twitter have planned for the World Cup.

On this podcast you’ll find out about:

  • How the digital team at Adelaide Crows has evolved
  • How Adelaide Crows coach Brenton Sanderson uses Twitter and including a great story with a 100 year old Crows fan
  • Why #CrowsChat is working for the Crows fans and players alike
  • Who designed the Dodgers Stadium and why didn’t they think of wi-fi?
  • How Horizon look to fit wi-fi solutions into new & old stadiums
  • Growing need for temporary events to provide wi-fi including music festivals and golf courses
  • What is trending on Facebook
  • What are Hashflags?

Resources from the episode

Watch The Last Game

An absolute cracker of a mini feature from Nike Football

How loud is it at Adelaide Oval?

Here is the goal Dave and I discussed, too loud to hear the siren.

Nice work Sando

Thanks for support 50 episodes

Watch this video as thanks, every Michael Jordan 50 point game

See you in Miami for SEAT 2014

Send in your best content & campaigns from past yearAs I said on the podcast I’m looking forward to seeing many podcast listeners and guests in Miami for SEAT Conference in July. Don’t forget to send in your best content and campaigns so I can profile them at #SEAT2014, email me or use contact form. If you want to connect with sports executives then Miami is the place to be, secure your registration now.

Register for #SEAT2014 now

Listening via iTunes?

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


On SoundCloud?

Follow Sports Geek on Soundcloud, all episodes available.

Podcast transcription

Sports Announcer #1: Sidney Green is also checked in. Armstrong cops out. Jordan will fly to the three.

Sports Announcer #2: Yeah. It’s a three. It’s a three. He’s over the 50 mark.


Sean: That’s right. We’re over the 50 mark. This is episode 50 of the Sports Geek
podcast. On this week’s podcast I catch up with Dave from the Adelaide Crows. I talk wi-fi with Horizon’s Mike DeGraw ahead at the SEAT conference and I preview the World Cup with Harf on HarfTime on SEN.

D.J. Joel: Welcome to the Sports Geek podcast. The podcast built for the sports
digital marketer. Now, here is your host who is a handy point guard who must be definitive for 3-point shots, Sean Callanan.

Sean: Thanks, D.J. Joel. That’s right. Episode 50. Five Oh. Thank you very much
for everyone who has listened to even just one episode. A big thanks to everyone who’s appeared and been a guest on the show. A really action-packed show this week so I’m not going to spend too much time on it. I talked to Dave of the Crows about the evolution of the digital team in Adelaide. We catch up with Mike DeGraw from Horizon Communications as part of our sponsor series and talk about what they are doing at ahead of SEAT in Miami. I also have a chat to Daniel on HarfTime. A bit of preview looking at what Facebook and Twitter are doing in the world according to the World Cup. Don’t forget to send in your campaign. Still looking for some awesome content campaigns from sports teams to profile at SEAT. Simply send me an e-mail. Catch you after this interview with David Burtenshaw.

Sean: Very happy to welcome a good friend of mine. I work with him regularly at
the Adelaide Crows. Dave Burtenshaw from the Adelaide Crows, welcome to the podcast, mate.
Dave: Thanks for having me, Sean. What show are you up to here? Taking a
whirl. Fifty or something?

Sean: It is show fifty. I was thinking about doing a clip show, but that’s sort of a
copout. It’s good enough for Seinfeld and Simpsons, but no, I’m just going to keep paring through. I might do clip show for show 100, but just for the record and setting things straight, what is your job title at the Crows?

Dave: Now I’m the GM of Communications, but it sort of changed recently. I have
less to do with the media side now and more to do with the online direction of the clubs site. The backend of the website and social media are probably the main two areas.

Sean: So you said it has changed and it would have changed a lot over time.
You came on board at the Crows in 2005.

Dave: Yeah. Nine years ago. It’s remarkable really how much it has changed in
that time. When I came on board my job was to liaise with the media and look after that side of things. The website was something that the club had, but certainly didn’t put that much time into at all. Really just did nothing to the website until probably the next year when we started trying to put up some of our own content. The website grew very quickly over those next two or three years and then of course some social media came in with a big bang probably near five years ago. We are allowed to use Twitter and Facebook as eye for the club site. That’s just gone from what we thought was big at the time to bigger and bigger and bigger. It obviously takes up a lot more time too.

Sean: So your background coming in as a Comm’s Manager at that point and
media liaison and working with the journos, your background is a journalist prior to the Crows?

Dave: Yeah. I was for many years and ended up in Sport at the Advertiser and
then went away to a country paper and then came to the Crows. So I have that content background which I didn’t need much for my first couple of years because it had more to do with the media. The content sort of thing now is pretty critical for what we’re doing.

Sean: I mean, definitely, I think from when you started in 2005 to the last five
years, especially with social being a really big traffic driver, more and more of the teams are now producing more of their content, breaking their own stories, being their own news resource. It’s interesting as you’re coming from the old school of talking to the journos and feeding them the stories and getting a Crow story in the back of the Adelaide Addy and things like that. How has that changed? Coming from that world to this world where now you are the news source.

Dave: I think it’s probably going to get more and more that way. It’s a matter of if
you’re in the media, you probably try to go with it. From our side of things
though, mainstream media is still really important, but I was talking to people about this before. When I first started, the only way that we as a club could communicate to our supporters was with our magazine that might come out a couple of times a year. Or the e-mails, I suppose, were being used around that time, but you didn’t have a big database really so you were really only talking to probably a small percentage of your people. So you really relied on trying to put stuff out through the mainstream media. Of course, fans at that time they were used to that, but now there are so many other ways to do it. Mainstream media is still important. Newspapers and TV and whatever, but our fans want as much content as possible, really about their club. There are so many more platforms for doing that now. I suppose, because we are in the club that there are things we can do with video and access that probably outsiders aren’t going to have the chance to do. Our fans like that sort of stuff. So it has certainly changed and I think it will continue to hit in that way, but the reality is if the content’s not good they aren’t going to look at it. There can be criticism because it is in-house and it’s done a certain way, but in the end if you don’t do it properly, the fans aren’t going to watch it. You still have to provide the news and provide interesting angles on content you are doing.

Sean: That’s the thing and you have a completely different agenda. It is that point
of view. That insider access. What you would have seen and many teams are seeing is that it is a matter of the appetite for content has grown almost exponentially over the past couple of years. Especially now that we have these devices we are carrying around that are always clamoring for information. There have been clubs that go, “OK. It is a sausage factory. We have to push more content in and we’ll get more numbers.” But if you’re just doing that and not making sure you have that high quality content, you aren’t going to get the results because people will eventually start to tune that out and say, “I’m going to get my fix or my content from here.” That’s the balance between content versus quality. You have to keep the quality of the content up, otherwise the fans will just tune out.

Dave: Yes. Especially in our market here in Australia. Adelaide and Port are in the
paper and on TV and on the radio every day. You just have to be aware that if people are going to go to your website or click on your links via social media or talk to you, they’re going to need a reason to do it. A lot of the coverage here is pretty deep and lots of it so you have to try and do other things. It makes it harder sometimes because all of the stuff we put out there is probably available elsewhere. You have to try and find those things that people can’t see or read or maybe even a different insight sometimes. The reality is the players are often a bit more relaxed with people they know or staff they know and sometimes we can get them to do things that they wouldn’t do elsewhere.

Sean: I guess one example of that is sort of giving that point of view for interest is
this year the Crows have their own team in the SNFL so effectively the feeder league into the AFL and into your club. I’ve been talking to you and you’ve been saying that the fans have really lacked understanding how the younger guys are going, how guys are coming back, their comeback trail because that content isn’t really hitting mainstream Adelaide media.

Dave: Yeah. It’s been the case even when our players were spread through the
SNFL. There was always a lot of interest in what they were doing. This year we see that on the website that anyone in the SNFL gets fewer traffic and yeah the reason is because you probably can’t find and read it easily somewhere else. That’s good for us. It’s another team to cover and provides a bit more work on the weekends and things like that, but if they want to know stuff and see stuff and hear a bit more about these players it is good for us. Just a couple of weekends ago we had a game for, FOX, for the reality show that they are doing where they try to find a recruit. It was a just a scratch match between us and Port. Mainly full of development players and a couple of these recruits were in there. It was amazing because it hardly got any coverage anywhere and we were trying to downplay it many ways. The traffic we got that week was amazing though. That’s the sort of stuff we have to try and find. We don’t need to be repeating content that others have, but trying to find pieces that our fans are interested in and will come and look at.

Sean: At your time at the Crows you would have had a few coaches at the helm
of the Crows. How has it been with your current coach, Brenton Sanderson, having a bit of social media savviness to him and sort of understanding how these players are using that as well? How has that sort of helped you in your role? It’s always good when the coach… I have to say that Neil Craig, beforehand was also really open to the social side of things and understood that young players were coming into the club and that’s how they had been using it for a couple of years. Especially now when you have kids coming in, they’ve been around Facebook and Twitter their whole teenage lives. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they know how to use it as a player as footballer, but it’s part of their life. Sanderson’s aware of that as well and we have now I think nearly 40 of our 44 players on Twitter to some level. Probably about 20 use it regularly. I think Sanderson understands the reach and he probably understands himself because he probably sees a lot of reaction to our wins and losses through his own feed. He’s on there and when he’s used it… It’s hard sometimes because you have so many people talking to you, but he’ll engage with the odd person in conversation or explain something. That’s what the players can do. As a club, I suppose, we’re in a position where I think the numbers that we have compared to the bigger clubs around the world, the Arsenals and people like that… I think the AFL clubs have an advantage in that their numbers are good, but it’s still not past that point where you can’t talk to people. Our feeds are still very busy, but you can still see who’s talking to you and mentioning you and asking you questions and things like that. So it’s a good number to be at and Sanderson certainly understands what we do, club-wise, in that space.

Sean: It feats for the personality that he is. I remember when he started out and
we were discussing that there was a fake account out there. This was before verification. We pretty much said, “If you’re on and you’re you and you’re engaging, that fake will just go away.” Do you want to go through the story where he’s picked up a club supporter and given a lift to the ground and he tweeted about it? Do you want to take us through that story?

Dave: Yeah. I was trying to figure out how far back, but I think it was only last
year. We had a 100-year-old fan who came down to the club and visited the players and she was fantastic. She was 100 and still into football. It was only a week or two later that she had been down to the club that Sanderson was driving to the game. She used to catch the bus with a friend. Sanderson drove past and I think it might have been raining and he thought it was her, so he did a bit of a U-turn and drove back past and it was. He picked her up and took her to the game. She actually complained because she got there a bit earlier than normal. The bus would have gotten her there at the right time and she wasn’t sure what she was going to do for the rest of the time. She gave Sanderson a bit of a spiel on what he should be doing as a coach on the way there as well. Those are the sorts of stories… Obviously, if you’re a coach on there and when club is struggling or going through tougher times, it can get hard because… It actually does amaze me, what some people will write to a person like a coach. You have to deal with that. Like I said, it is at the numbers where Sanderson would still see a lot of that stuff and you have to try and push through that and understand there are a lot more people out there who really do have an interest in what you say. I think it’s important at times like that, that you don’t just shut down completely and stop doing it just because a few people are critical. I think a lot more people would still like to keep hearing from you. That’s probably the club’s attitude as well. Obviously, all clubs when they have a bit of a loss as well as people on there, but in the end, a lot of people like hearing from you still. We just try and maintain the content and the chat levels win or lose.

Sean: I guess one way that you’ve kept that positive energy and positive action
around the club is you do a regular Crow’s chat with the fans. Just have a little bit of fun on Twitter. Do you want to take the listeners through how you go about doing it and what kind of structure you have and how the fans react to it?

Dave: Crow’s chat we setup at the start of last year. It’s nothing new around. I
had seen different people do it at different times. People have had Twitter chats and things, but probably not an amount of hours like ours is. So we got the hashtag #CrowsChat and built up quite a nice little community. It’s not huge, but I think there are a lot of people who follow it that don’t necessarily jump in until there is a prize or offer or something like that. It trends just about every week, Australia wide on a Wednesday night. Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. It’s only a half an hour. Sometimes it can drag on a bit longer than that, but on our Twitter we account we try… The way we do it is not too formal, I suppose. We like to use it like a fan and we are fans, I suppose. I’ve been a member of the club right from the start and Katrina Gillwood who works with us as well is a big Crows fan. So really it’s like we’re sitting around in a lounge room having a chat with all of these people. Win or lose, we get a good little crew in there. We ask questions and give away prizes. The last few weeks we’ve been a bit lucky. Planned and unplanned we’ve had a couple of players drop in. A few weeks ago Sam Jacobs just chimed into the Crows Chat and turned it into the same joke that it’s Crows Chat. Not really with us. Andrew McLeod dropped in a couple of weeks ago before the indigenous round and that was amazing. He basically took it over and people were asking questions and talking about the jumper he designed and things like that. It’s a good little forum. People know that they can come on and other Crows fans are going to be around and win prizes, have a chat, talk about ins and outs and things like that. I think it’s sort of helped humanize the account a little bit. Sometimes if you’re just tweeting and sending out links and talking about game results and things like that it can be a bit…

Sean: A bit broadcasty.

Dave: Yeah. A lot of our supporters get to know us through the Crows chat a little
bit. Not individually so much, but they get to know the star we have with our Twitter account. We like to have a little fun with it. You can’t always do that obviously, but we try to treat it like we’re fans and we get upset when we lose. We enjoy winning. High five replies and all of that stuff. We try to share those little things. It works pretty well. It is a particular time on a night time, but we found that it’s just a good way of getting a community together and that group I think understands us a bit and understands what’s going on and respects it. We get the odd person jumping in for a bit of troubling or whatever, but in general people are pretty good. It’s a good chance to talk to people and answer questions if we can.

Sean: It is good having that set time so that fans know, “I’m going to turn off the
telly or I’m going to pick up my phone and listen in.” They sort of know it’s being listened to. It’s also good from your players’ point of view. If they know, “Oh it’s Crow’s chat. My feed is going to go off.” That’s also for Sam Jacob or Andrew McLeod, it’s a really safe environment for a player. I think this is where it’s a really big win for the player. Say, “Look. We’re going to have a Crow’s chat. This is what we’re going to be talking about.” It’s a really great way for them to take the box and engage the fans this week and jump into a really safe environment. You have the club account there, you’ve got all of these positive fans that really just want to pat the players on the back. When we’ve run them with different clubs we have found that the players eventually just sort of end up joining in every now and again. When it’s unplanned it is far better. The fan’s start tweeting because, “Oh. Andrew McLeod is going to be reading these tweets. I’m going to start jumping in.” It’s really good.

Dave: McLeod’s ended up turning into a two hour session because he just stayed
on there and was favoriting tweets and replying to different things. I know it was fantastic. That’s the sort of things that people appreciate on Twitter. The reality is he is probably our greatest player and there he is for a couple of hours talking to people and thanking them and talking about the jumper and talking about his career or whatever. It’s not very often you get those opportunities. That sort of thing just didn’t happen years ago. You might meet a player somewhere and talk briefly to them, but the chance for that sort of connection is pretty rare. I think the fans enjoy it.

Sean: Another aspect that I wanted to talk about and really from the positive side
of social media, but from a really tragic story. The passing of Assistant Coach, Dean Bailey earlier this year from cancer. Do you want to take how the club dealt with that internally, but also how social and all of the support that came from the fans and the football community overall from Facebook posts and Twitter how that has helped the club?

Dave: Internally, we all knew that Dean was very sick, but the end actually came
quite quickly and you can never really prepare for that sort of thing. I think the social side of things… Years ago, the club would have put out a release at some stage. Obviously the news spreads pretty quickly these days, but it was amazing how quickly through Twitter and Facebook that people were able to talk about a person like Dean and what he meant to them or what they thought of him or just paying their respects. Within minutes of us putting up any content or information about Dean the reaction was incredible. These circumstances are terrible obviously, but social does provide another means for people to show how they feel about someone or show how they feel about the club. For us as well, just to see the level… I think the family in particular were amazed at the support they received from the fans through a lot of the social media. Which of course gets picked up as well by the mainstream media. You talk about who’s tweeting this and who’s tweeting that and how many people are talking about that. Not that there are too many positives out of something like that, but social certainly provides opportunities for supporters. Not just our supporters either. We had something like that shared a lot on Facebook. It goes out to a lot of people and it really crosses club boundaries. We had just on Twitter most clubs tweeting something and their supporters jumped on board with that sort of thing as well. It was a tough period for the club, but sometimes being able to read a lot of the good things that were written about Dean at the time sort of helps a bit.

Sean: Yeah. I’ve seen that with a couple of clubs going through similar tragedies.
It gives that grieving in real time to a certain degree, but it allows that club and fans to really rally around it. Very sad to see Dean go. One thing I did want to touch on before we finished up was the Crows moving home base into the newly refinished Adelaide Oval. Do you want to give a little bit of feedback regarding how that move has gone and how that potentially changed how the fans interact on game day and what they are doing on game day. Has anything changed differently in the move to the Adelaide Oval?

Dave: On game day, I suppose we’ve always had issues with connection and no
wi-fi or lack of wi-fi at AAMI Stadium as well. So during a game it’s still inconsistent whether or not people can have access. As far as the difference with Adelaide Oval is that we’re just getting so many more photos. You see so many more photos through Instagram or Twitter of people and their experience on the day of going to the grounds and seeing it for the first time or being there at night or just enjoying it. At AAMI Stadium we hardly ever had people posting photos unless there was a fantastic photo or something like that. Now at Adelaide Oval if we go through our Instagram or if you search through Twitter after a game, there are some really, really good photos of the stands or just the views and people enjoying themselves there. That’s probably the biggest change as far as the supporters go. There’s some really good content coming out of it. Twitter-wise, I think in the grounds I think quite a few people still struggle to get on there on their phones and get involved. We work up in the media box with a lot of the stuff we do through the social channels and sometimes we get locked out as well with no wi-fi. We have to deal with that as well. Hopefully down the track that improves. I think in general, supporters have loved Adelaide Oval. Obviously our fans would like to have seen us play a bit better there, but I think we’ve had a couple of good wins. We’ve had some losses as well including the one to Port earlier in the year and our first home game against Sydney where we didn’t play that well. Those sort of things obviously affect the fans’ experience. Social-wise they are still very active, but like I said some of the photos have been fantastic that we’ve seen.

Sean: Well I have… I did hear from a couple of my mates who went over to watch
a Crows game when you defeated my team, Collingwood. Yes. You can mention that and rub that in if you want, but they did say it is the loudest venue they’ve ever been at.

Dave: Yeah.

Sean: It’s just a matter of time where that will be very much a fortress for both of
the Adelaide teams if you get that ferocity of fans and that noise. For the people listening, if you have any sounds of the game I’ll include it for the sounds of the game. At the end of the third quarter where Josh Jenkins kicked a goal because the umpires did not hear the siren. It was that loud. Have they boosted the sirens now?

Dave: Yeah. Apparently they have pumped it up.

Sean: So that is always good. I think we did both forecast a lot more photos
coming through because the stadium looks terrific. Being closer to the city everyone wants to brag where they are. What the grounds look like and that kind of thing. I think that’s only going to continue. Hopefully some people at the SEAT conference can come up with a solution that they can pitch back to the Adelaide Oval and we can fix that wi-fi problem.

Dave: Yeah. We’d like to do a lot more at the venue, but that does restrict it in
some ways. There is still plenty going on game day. People still want to
take photos of themselves and take photos of the players and all of that. When you work at a club you can take some of that stuff for granted because you’re in the building and you see the players regularly and sometimes you just have to remember for many of the fans they don’t get to see these players up close very often. They want to talk about it and share it and hopefully we can try to amplify that. We try to and things like that where we pull together some of that content, but I’m sure there is lots more that we could do to show off what the fans are doing.

Sean: One last question, because a lot of us who do work in sport are sports fans
and sports fans at heart ourselves, can you tell us a little bit about your recent excursion to the FA Cup?

Dave: Yes. Great birthday trip. It nearly turned into a disaster because I had a bit
of plane trouble on the way over and missed a connection and got to Heathrow and the game was just about to start.
Sean: So we’re going to put it up front. You’re an Arsenal fan and have been

Dave: Maybe… I played cricket in England in my early 20’s and I lived in North
London. Basically the choices were Arsenal or Tottenham. I took the Arsenal side then and it’s probably grown over the years. My younger son got into Arsenal as well. So it’s definitely not life-long, but I used to watch English soccer when I was a kid, but I never really had a firm team at that stage. So from my early 20’s it has been the Arsenal.

Sean: So you’ve had a delay. You’re flying in for the FA Cup final. You’ve arrived
at the airport after the delay. When did you get to the game?

Dave: Probably took my seat at about thirty minutes into the first half. Unknown to
me, as I was walking towards Hull was two nil up. If I had have known that I might have turned around I think after a 35 hour trip or whatever it was. Then just before I got into the stadium, somebody obviously scored and from what I could hear it sounded more like the Arsenal chanting. I finally got into the media area where I was lucky enough to have a seat. It was 2-1 and not looking good at that stage, but fortunately Arsenal started to get on top and always looked like they were going to score. They pushed it into extra time and I got to see them win. So at the end I was a bit happier at that stage then I was…

Sean: 45 minutes earlier.

Dave: …45 minutes earlier. Yeah.

Sean: Well, thank you very much for coming on the podcast. You can follow Dave
on Twitter @DBcrows is your twitter handle. I’ll put a few links to everything
that the Crows do in the show notes. Thanks for coming on the podcast
and I’ll see you next time I’m in Adelaide.

Dave: Alright. Cheers, Sean. Thank you.


D.J. Joel: Sign up for Sports Geek News at

Sean: Thanks again to Dave and Crow’s Chat is exactly an example of a piece of
content that I’m looking for to include in my presentation at SEAT profiling digital campaigns and content around the world. So if you’re doing something specific with your team or a team that you love and you love seeing what they’re doing, whether it be on social media or on digital, whether it be an article, or video or infographics alike, send me an e-mail Now it’s time to profile Horizon Communications. See them at SEAT.

D.J. Joel: SEAT 2014 Sponsor Series. See you in Miami in July.

Sean: I’d like to welcome Mike DeGraw, President CEO of Horizon
Communications who is going to be a sponsor at SEAT. Looking forward to catching up with him in Miami. Welcome to the podcast, Mike.

Mike: Thanks very much, Sean. I’m happy to be here.

Sean: One of the things that I wanted to discuss with you is being in the space of
wi-fi and getting the fans connected in stadiums. I’ve only seen the wi-fi situation in the industry as far as servicing the stadium market grow over the last couple of years through my involvement with SEAT. Do you want to give us little bit of background from your experience with Horizon in seeing stadiums and teams struggle with the rising use of smartphones and the growing need for wi-fi and how that has changed over the last three to four to five years?

Mike: It’s experience over the last four years has grown in the space largely
growing with U.S. Mobile carriers. AT&T, in particular, as they employed the use of 3G upload technology for their cellular networks and putting in very large scale and what you would now deem high density wi-fi in sports stadiums to accommodate their customers. As that has grown, stadiums and fans have started demanding, basically, that stadiums have wi-fi and that their mobile phones work when they go to a sporting event. Largely because especially the younger generation are so active on social media that people want to say, “I’m here.” I believe there was a statistic that there are more up…

Sean: Hang on. For all the technology in the world, it looks like we’ve lost you
there for a second.

Mike: Oh really?

Sean: You’re back. You’re back now. You were up to the stats about the uploads.

Mike: I’m on a landline.

Sean: I know. I know. It’s quite ironic, but I am calling all the way from Australia
and here we are talking about technology and everything and we can’t even get a good line to record the podcast. Please continue. You were talking about the uploads in the stadium.

Mike: The typical dynamics that goes on in stadiums these days are not like the
typical internet usage at your home where you might have 8 megabit down and 2 megabit up. What’s happening in the stadiums is that there is more up or equal up to down because people are pushing content out to social media sites. Big content whether it is photos or videos or what have you. The other thing is that they want it to be done at that moment. Not when they leave the stadium. They want it to be involved in their social media world. So there has been a pressure on a lot of teams and venues to be able to accommodate that. So there are a lot of dynamics going on because you incorporate the wi-fi side of that with the distributed antenna systems (DAS) for cellular traffic. The clubs are kind of left with big decisions to make. It’s not inexpensive to put in a proper wi-fi network in a venue that houses tens of thousands of people. That’s kind of where the industry is today. There is still… I don’t know the exact statistic, but I’d say more clubs don’t have proper wi-fi than do have proper wi-fi.

Sean: I think that is still the case. I think everyone is still trying to reach there.
What you were talking about earlier with the fans wanting to post and the growth of social media platforms that require more data like Instagram and things like Vine that are offering video, it obviously becomes a bit more weight on the network. There’s a reason that stadiums like the Giants AT&T Park is one of the most Instagramed parks in the world. Yes, it’s got Cubby Cove and the sunset looks great over the bay and all of those kinds of things, but one of the main reasons it is the most Instagramed is the fact that you can get on their wi-fi and push out that content. So you see so many teams that are following the leads of the Giants and AT&T Park and saying we want that for our fans because it’s such a great advertisement for people who aren’t at the game to get them to the game.

Mike: Correct. AT&T Park is a great example. It is, in my opinion… I am a bit
biased because we did all of the installation of the wi-fi there on behalf of AT&T, but it is the most connected stadium in the world. Whether it is the distributant in the system or the wi-fi, I think from a ratio of access points to fans it is by far the best and the fastest and best managed. The team at the Giants as well as the team at AT&T that supports it… Of course their name is on the field. It’s important. It is bar none, the experience that you can have…

Sean: I think that one of the things that’s… I joke about AT&T Park and that it has
better wi-fi and connectivity than my house and they’ve been doing it for a long time. One of the things I think people have struggled with for teams and venues to a certain degree is, as you did say, it is not inexpensive to justify that cost. So things like ROI come up and how do we pay for it? How do we monetize these kinds of things? Is that something that you guys at Horizon help the team and the venue step through that scenario and bring people on board to help solve that problem?

Mike: It’s very topical. Everyone is looking for the magic thing with ROI because it
is so expensive. You’re talking in the millions of dollars or millions of pounds to do a proper wi-fi network in the U.S., U.K, or Australia. At the end of the day, the real ROI is getting people to buy tickets to go to the match instead of sitting on their sofa and watching it on TV. At the end of the day that’s what it’s really about, but the fan engagement and fan experience and trying to get more fan dollars at the venue is a real thing. So we work with a lot of different companies and the obvious industry to help, not necessarily pay for all of it, but at least subsidize a wi-fi network in a sport venue is advertising. If you go onto YouTube and you look at a video, you have to look at a 15 second ad. So it’s only natural that at a sporting venue if you authenticate onto a wi-fi network then you get a 15 second ad. The sponsors like this because they are getting one to one advertising. So that’s one area where there is a lot of interest in helping to offset the cost of the wi-fi network. Again, at the end of the day, it’s a combination of that. All of the social media applications that now exist within the stadium environment, but then at the end of the day it’s really the stadium being able to sell out and getting the tickets for the seats, but also the concession money, merchandise money and so on and so forth, that really, at the end of the day has to be the driver. If you’re not selling out…. People, especially younger people who expect wi-fi everywhere they go end up sitting at home and say, “I’m just going to sit at home and watch this on my TV.” Here in the U.S. the leagues get it. NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, NBA. They all understand that and they have pretty advanced policies as far as making sure that venues have appropriate wireless connectivity.

Sean: I think one of the best quotes… And it sort of shows the maturity of the
market. In 2011 people were talking about, how do we get it? Whereas, the last year in Kansas City, I think the quote was, “Wi-fi is as necessary today as much as bathrooms.” It is just a standard amenity. If you were to design a stadium now, you wouldn’t design a stadium without bathrooms and it’s the same in that you wouldn’t design a stadium without wi-fi connectivity because people are almost seeing them as something they need just as much as one of the others. If you’re looking at the costs of the plumbing of the stadium, you’ve also got to look at wi-fi and the infrastructure you have to put in place in that same manner.

Mike: Absolutely. Christine from SEAT has been a huge driver in this, in that she
has brought in the architects. I think we were sitting on the panel where that was actually brought up. At what stage does the architect engage with the IT department of the venue? It’s not as early as it should be. There are some great examples of recent builds like Barclay’s and Sporting KC and other brand new venues in the U.S. that did take into account technology. This has been such a recent surge that even if you go back five years, there is a lot of things that weren’t taken into account, including real estate. You need real estate throughout the stadium to put in your telecom equipment, cable pathways, etc. It is a relatively very new things. One of the things that Horizon has made ourselves experts at is retrofitting older stadiums. If you look at Dodger Stadium, it’s the 3rd oldest functioning Major League Baseball Stadium in the United States and was built in the 50’s. We just finished an enormous project there. Retrofitting is definitely possible, but if the architects can take into the account the technology aspect when designing new venues, it certainly reduces the cost significantly and makes it much more easy to get that done. I think they’ve done that up at Levi Stadium up in Santa Clara.

Sean: Yes, definitely. I think it’s definitely on the radar now of architects. I think
we’ll give the designers of Dodger Stadium a pass. As you said, it was built way back when. I don’t know if you know this, but it was designed by the people at Disney Land. The people who designed Tomorrow Land, because they wanted a futuristic feel for the stadium. So the same designers that did Tomorrow Land at Disney Land did Dodger’s Stadium, but they obviously did not foresee the wi-fi evolution that was going to happen forty years later. We’ll cut them a bit of slack.

Mike: Kudos to them because it is still a magnificent stadium fifty or sixty years
later. They did a good job on the longevity of it, but like you said, they didn’t foresee needing to pull 24 strand single-mode fiber optic cables through it.

Sean: Exactly. Exactly. One other thing we’ve focused on for the stadium side of
things and providing for those fans, but another big issue around big events, especially one off events and pop out events, is this need for a temporary solution. Whether it be at golf courses or big major events that sort of just pop up. They don’t have an ongoing 82-game season or those kinds of things like in baseball or basketball. Do you want to talk about the temporary stuff that you guys have been doing and what you’re planning to do with a couple of clients coming up?

Mike: Yeah. Absolutely. So Horizon has done many temporary events, in
particular, in the western part of the United States over the last several years. We generally do the AT&T Pebble Beach Program at Pebble Beach Golf Course where we have wi-fi throughout the golf course that is not to be seen because it is such a pristine viewing experience. We’re very good at the aesthetics as well, but putting in a very large scale wi-fi network over 18 holes for a period of a week and then taking it down. We’ve done the Coachella Music Festival which in Southern California, is a very big music festival with zero wi-fi connectivity for 360 days of the year. Then they host the music festival and it gets all wired up. We certainly haven’t signed anything, but we’re in discussions with Rugby World Cup England, with Cricket World Cup that’s going to be in Australia and New Zealand. We actually are part of San Diego’s bit package for the American’s Cup 2017. To put wi-fi in throughout those various venues. Then if you look at both Cricket World Cup and Rugby World Cup, it’s not actually the venue’s we’re looking at. It’s the fan zones. The fan zones have become a really popular thing to really bring in people. A good example of this is in the U.K. at Gloucester. King’s Home Stadium. I think they are hosting four World Cup matches, but they are putting in two very large fan zones with screens and they’re going to keep them open during Rugby World Cup because it’s such a wonderful rugby city. They want wi-fi coverage for all of the fans during anytime that they come for the seven-week duration. Formula One in Europe and other events like this, people want wi-fi. Whether it’s permanently installed or temporarily installed, that is what Horizon does.

Sean: Well, thank you very much, Mike, for coming on the podcast. I’m looking
forward to catching up down in Miami. Don’t forget, if you are coming along, don’t forget to stop by the booth. Say hello to B.J. and get the golf shirt that you guys will be handing out at the Horizon Booth. Look forward to catching up in Miami.

Mike: Absolutely. I appreciate it, Sean and we’ll definitely catch up in Miami. As
you just alluded to, Horizon is the jersey sponsor this year so Christine has been kind enough to produce a very nice Nike Dri-FIT golf shirt for all of the delegates attending. We will be having those at our booth at SEAT and people can come and buy. Whether it’s B.J. or one of the other members of the Horizon team that will be handing them out, we look forward to seeing everyone there.

Sean: Not a problem. We’ll see you in Miami.


D.J. Joel: Find all Sports Geek podcasts at

Sean: Fifty episodes. All available at the Sports Geek podcast archive. With the
new podcast player, you can play every single episode directly from the page. World Cup is upon us and I had a chat with Harf on HarfTime on my regular spot on SEN.


Announcer: Sean Callanan. Our sports digital media guru for

Harf: He’ll be licking his lips this time of the sporting year because the World Cup
is around the corner. Sean, g’day.

Sean: G’day, Harf. Yes, it is around the corner. Only a few more sleeps and it is
upon us. Are you ready?

Harf: I am ready, but I need you to inform me of how I can be even more ready
and more interactive. What’s going on social media wise?

Sean: Well, just this morning Facebook has launched what they call Trending
World Cup. If you go to it will just bring in all of the content of all of the teams, players and your mates talking about the World Cup. You can use the hashtag World Cup, but they are all sort of aggregated in there. So if you want to get the latest updates you can go there. They have also provided this interactive map just to show the breadth and how far football fans there are now. We’ve got Ronaldo at the top of the tree now with over 84 million Facebook fans. What you can do in this interactive map is see where he ranks in Australia and where he ranks in the U.S. Then Twitter is also getting involved. We’ve already talked before about how it’s great from a live platform point of view. So they’ve launched hash flags.

Harf: What’s a hash flag?

Sean: Well we know what a hashtag is where you put the hash and you put a
cheer for your team. So if soccer Italy goes Socceroos that will be trending
for the next week or so if they do well in their first couple of games. Hash flags is where you can put an AUS. So you can use a three letter code for the country and twitter will just pop on the little flag for Australia at the end of it. So you get a little bit of a visual. A little Australian flags throughout your feed.

Harf: Nice. A little bit of value ad.

Sean: A little bit of value ad so if you want Chile or Chile as it’s meant to be
pronounced I think I heard KB saying. For Chile you can use CHI I think and AUS and you get the little flags in your feed. So a little minor thing, but they’re also going to have in the Twitter app where you can go to World Cup and just get that feed. Similar things. So if you want to tune into the World Cup and get all the latest and find more players to follow and follow the other federations and the partners and stuff what they’re doing, you’ll be able to do that by following World Cup or mentioning World Cup. They’ll all sort of be aggregated there for you. It’ll just make for a bit of a second screen experience if you’ve got the iPad out or your phone. You can sort of flick along and see what other people are saying around the world because Socceroos will be up early on Saturday morning to watch them. You have your cornflakes and your beer and your phone cheering the Socceroos on and you’ll be able to do that. I’d like to see Twitter extend that. Let’s put the little Australian flag on Go Socceroos. Let’s just take it a little bit further. So those are some of the things that are happening. All of the big players from a marketing point of view and the brands are coming in with their absolute best stuff. It’s top shelf stuff so far and I don’t know if you’ve seen it yet. I know Kerry posted it on the HarfTime Facebook page. If you have Facebook go over to HarfTime and check out the Nike Football: The Last Game video. It’s a cartoon featuring Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, and Neymar. They’re all in cartoon form.

Harf: Zlatan, Popovich.

Sean: Exactly. It is an absolute crack up and it definitely sticks the needle to
Rooney, because he does look like Shrek.

Harf: It is a great one. Check it out on the HarfTime Facebook page. For all of
the latest on the World Cup and how to utilize and how to get all of the information you want, is the place to go. Thank you, Sean.

Sean: Cheers, Harf.

Harf: See you next week.


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

Sean: Well, that wraps up another episode of Sports Geek podcast, episode 50.
Thank you very much. That clock tells me to wrap up this episode and get out. I’m going to dedicate this episode to all of my guests that have been on the show. Fifty episodes and over 50 guests from all around the world. U.S., Australia, New Zealand, U.K. Thank you everybody who has been on the show. Please connect with them. Follow them on Twitter. Connect with them on LinkedIn. They are all very smart people and I’m looking forward to catching up with a fair chunk of them at SEAT Conference in Miami. I hope to see you there too. Please send in those nominations for content for me to include in my presentation. This week’s sound of the game comes from the World Cup. Comes from the very first game and comes from Cacau.

[Audio from football game - mostly cheering fans]
Sean: That was some video from Cacau. A famous Brazilian footballer. He took
that and put it up on his Facebook page when Neymar kicks his second goal from a penalty to give them a win in the opening match of the World Cup. I’m going to have plenty of coverage of the World Cup over the coming weeks obviously working with the Socceroos. They are doing some tremendous stuff and the whole country is getting behind the Socceroos which I am sure is the case around the world. I’m doing regular daily spots on Grandstand and SEN covering the weird and wonderful links and all of the stats out of the World Cup. I’ll be bring you all of that on the podcast. That’s it. Thank you very much again. My closing two cents are watch the world marketers at the World Cup because imitation is a lot easier than innovation.

D.J. Joel: Please leave a review on iTunes. Go to Find
all Sports Geek podcasts at Want to maximize returns from your digital team? Contact Sports Geek about their content and commercialization workshop. Thanks for listening to the Sports Geek Podcast.

Audio Clip——————-

Sports Announcer #3: 17 of 18. Look at this. The first two games against the Hornets. 47 points combined tonight. 47 so far. With one more free throw. He has exceeded his previous output this season.

Sports Announcer #4: The Hornets within six. Kobe has 48. Kobe has 50! He’s done it. Four straight games with 50 or more points. Only the second player in NBA history to ever accomplish that.

Redskins Pride social media campaign fail – ICYMI – @SportsGeek News

In case you missed it – Reprint of Sports Geek News – Tuesday 3rd June 2014
Michael Artis from 20/20 discusses design in sports
What @SportsGeek reads…..

‘Redskins pride’ social media campaign fails miserably

Kudos to Francis Leach, making a stand against racism.

Get a look inside the 45 day planning process that goes into creating a single corporate tweet

What consumers are planning for the World Cup and how brands can reach them

Only a handful of NRL clubs reaching financial targets

FIFA World Cup digital unveils second-screen digital push, mobile, social top priorities for soccer fans

Want to know how brands will ambush the World Cup? Here is what Twitter is telling them to do

Tennis tech: Smart rackets and digital courts

The connected home is going mainstream faster than anybody realies

Passion or Effort – what leads to success?

56 ideas for blog posts for your business blog

Here is the letter Redskins emailed to fans to kick off #RedskinsPride


Part 2 of letter Redskins sent Senator Reid regarding the Redskins name

Want to help decide where next #SportsGeekODE is?

Register your interest for next #SportsGeekODE event

2014 predictions & Sochi secret social media platform – ICYMI

In case you missed it – Reprint of Sports Geek News – Tuesday 21st January 2013

Over 70,000 Seattle Seahawks fans have #TappedInWhat @SportsGeek reads…

The Olympics social media secret weapon

10 things I’d like to see more of in #digisport in 2014, great article by Dan Pinne

NFL IT Leaders bring Football and the Superbowl into the digital age

Athletes decry social media excess

Facebook continues Twitterisation

NBA dreams big for black history month

Why does the World Cup matter? First foray into partnership with ESPN & Medium

“The world is now an airport” – Interesting article on privacy
Leigh Ellis on The Starters making free throws & tearing towels

Facebook marketing declines: how business should react

Amazing 360 windmill by Paul George shared by NBA on Instagram almost immediately

An open letter to Rebecca Wilson from Lucy Zelic – will she take up her offer?

Why audio never goes viral

Great work from Danny Greene – “One punch can kill”

Sign up for Sports Geek News to get these links each week in your inbox.

Nike, ESPN, Aker & World Cup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worst On Ground

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

Best On Ground

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

YouTube Clip of the Week

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

Thanks to @Harry_O & @ImproMelbourne.

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

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

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

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

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