Spring training and exhibition games have finished and last Sunday saw the opening fixtures of Major League Baseball for 2013. A further twelve games on Monday brought even more excitement and confirmation that the 162-game season was well and truly under way.
Sports Geek takes a look at how teams have approached the new season through their different social media platforms.
Team Manager Ron Washington was quick to get things going for the Rangers on Twitter:
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) March 31, 2013
The Braves wished their fans a ‘Happy Opening Day’ on Facebook with a range of images that have since received over 100,000 likes, including this campaign with outfielders Jason Heyward, and twins BJ and Justin Upton:
And this group of images showing the various activities that took place around Turner Field prior to the opening pitch:
The Braves also reminded their fans that Opening Day was no April fool’s joke, and that after a long off-season, indeed the opening round of 2013 had arrived:
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) April 1, 2013
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox created a unique team-themed ‘like' picture on Facebook to encourage their fans to get involved in their opening day game against the rival Yankees:
The post was by far the most liked of the day on their page, as well as being a nice way to prompt fans to ‘like’ a post.
In the lead up to the game, the Red Sox' Twitter account also posted a number of photos of players warming up:
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) April 1, 2013
Chicago White Sox
A simple cover photo on Facebook was posted by the White Sox to convey that America's favourite pastime had returned:
The White Sox also showed off their new menu for the season on Twitter, which will definitely get fans to the game:
We've got some new options at U.S. Cellular Field. What are you most excited to try? twitter.com/whitesox/statu…
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) April 1, 2013
The Indians saw opening day as an opportunity to promote their ‘Welcome to #TribeTown' 2013 season campaign via their Facebook cover photo:
They also utilised vine.co to welcome fans to the 2013 season, with a glimpse of the venue that would host their first (away) game:
Greetings from Toronto. vine.co/v/bIvwijHHW3l
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) April 1, 2013
The Tigers didn't waste any time engaging with fans on opening day, beating the White Sox to the punch by posting their ‘Baseball is Back' cover at midnight:
They also asked their fans to send in pictures on Twitter to illustrate how they were spending their MLB opening day. These were grouped using the #OpeningDayDET hashtag.
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) April 1, 2013
New York Yankees
There was a strong sense of tradition evident in the Yankees’ opening day social media coverage, with the team employing a new Facebook cover photo of the iconic Yankee Stadium to accompany their 2013 slogan; ‘A timeless legacy.’
A photo of a small blackboard naming the final line-up on Facebook also provided a glimpse into the team’s inner sanctum:
Also, fans were encouraged to share a ‘Beat Boston' post on their walls:
The team’s Twitter account was used to keep fans updated on ticketing, parking and gate information, as well as promoting the ground’s ‘At the ballpark’ phone app.
Use the At the Ballpark app to check in to 50 different games at O.co Coliseum by Sept 6 and you could win a field visit to a 2013 game
— Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) April 1, 2013
As the first pitch grew closer, season ticket holders were invited onto the ground to greet the team as they ran out:
— Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) April 2, 2013
Toronto Blue Jays
Using the #LoveThisTeam hashtag, the Blue Jays encouraged their fans to tweet in photos showing how they were preparing for their opening game against the Cleveland. This was the response:
— stefan hoogerbrugge (@TheHooger) March 31, 2013
Perhaps the most active franchise on social media when it came to opening day, the Dodgers employed the services of an array of high profile athletes, A-list celebrities and former players to build-up the first game and first pitch of the season, which after some staged confusion, was thrown by Hall of Famer, Sandy Koufax:
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 1, 2013
While the Dodgers uploaded numerous photos throughout the game, this post caught our attention as it encouraged a sense of fan interaction on Twitter and Instagram through the use of the #OpeningDayLA and #Dodgers hashtags:
New York Mets
A cover photo of a packed Citi Field Stadium greeted Mets’ fans when they logged into Facebook on MLB opening day. The team also used the Facebook medium to promote the #HappyOpeningDay hashtag that fans could use on Instagram and Twitter.
In the days leading up to their first game, the Mets also offered up their own version of the viral YouTube craze the ‘Harlem Shake', aptly renamed the ‘Citi Field Shake.'
Perhaps we can slot this into Sports Geek’s Top 50 Harlem Shake list?
The Phillies used Twitter and Facebook to promote a brilliant opening day campaign – asking fans to find red balloons in various locations around the city that contained tickets to their opening game against the Altanta Braves, and post pictures of their discoveries on Twitter:
— Phillies (@Phillies) April 1, 2013
Here was the result:
— Phillies (@Phillies) April 1, 2013
Some great examples of how MLB teams can utilise an active online fan base to continue to promote and strengthen their brand.