This week on ABC Grandstand, Sports Geek was in the studio to discuss Tweetups and the teams taking part in the new craze.


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What is a Tweetup?

To put it simply, a tweetup is a meet up of Twitter friends and/or fans of a team. It's a great way for teams to drive online fans into offline events. It's a great way for fans to connect in person, not just online.

In the world of sport, more and more teams are looking to drive online fans offline using events like Tweetups.

Team implementation

The Melbourne Storm had a tweet-up earlier this month, hosting fans in the Storm Social Suite with a special guest Batman for the Dark Knight themed game.
The Western Bulldogs also hosted a tweet up before their game against Hawthorn, with Ed Wyatt on a panel discussing opportunities in sports and digital, while the NRL's Canterbury Bulldogs invited socially savvy members into the “Dog Box”.
In the US, the Cleveland Indians have run the Indian Social Suite, that has been very successful the last few seasons, along with the Sacramento Kings using Klout scores to bring in influencers and run events.

Why do they work?

The main reason many teams are now having social media nights is to drive ticket sales and build fan engagement.  Helping fans meet in real life (IRL) connects the fans and helps to continue the conversation after the game ends and official club tweets stop.
Listen to the podcast to find out how Sean used Twitter & Linkedin to meet Brad Mayne CEO of American Airlines Center  home of the Dallas Mavericks, which led to the photo (right)

Until next week

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

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

Special mention – The Aussie hurdler turned internet sensation

Not many have heard of Australian hurdler Michelle Jenneke, but she's turned into an overnight sensation. Not hard to see why, unfortunately she isn't competing in London.

Podcast transcription

FRANCIS: Sean Callanan is our man when it comes to all things digital media and sports. How are you Sean?

SEAN: I’m good thanks Frank.

FRANCIS: Tweet ups and meet ups. You talk to people online, you might have common interests with them, but it’s another step to actually go and meet them.

SEAN: Yes it’s funny everyone calls it social networking and – and really meeting people in real life and having a chat to them is the old school social networking.

FRANCIS: Face time.

SEAN: Exactly.

FRANCIS: Real face time.

SEAN: Real face time, not – not using it over a computer. So more and more teams are doing things like meet ups and tweet ups, and I think it’s really important to get those fans to connect, because you know we’ve all tweeted with people or had conversations and then you think oh it would be good to you know meet them in real life and talk about other things. And it really solidifies that connection, you know, so for a sports team it’s really great and we ran one last – last week at the Melbourne Storm, they had a Dark Knight Rises themed – themed game, I actually got to meet Batman, which was a bit of the thrill, I did get told off by my girlfriend for sharing a picture of me and Batman on Facebook, but hey you’re never too old to have a photo with Batman. But what we did – what we were able to do is to talk to all the – the Storm fans in this case and tell them what the digital guys wanted, and why we were doing certain hash tags and why we were doing certain things on Twitter and why we were doing things on Facebook and what’s good is now all these you know Storm fans there was about 20 of them that were in the Storm Social Suite, all know what the team wants from them, but now they’re also connected in that they’re tweeting and still continuing the conversation, you know after the guys at the Storm are doing the tweeting, they’re still talking, they’re still using all the official hash tags, they’re talking to the players in a certain way. So it really helps extend the reach of the team.

FRANCIS: Is there a specific demographic that turns up? I mean you get a sense of who actually is hooked into social media by having an event like that?

SEAN: A little bit, because a lot – there was actually a few there that weren’t terribly vocal because not everyone on social is – is – is a you know going to be tweeting every single action or — – –

FRANCIS: No there’s a lot of people that just like to read what’s going on.

SEAN: – – – yeah exactly. So they’re using it to consume and to a certain degree you know they started talking to other people and it sort of maybe draws them out a little bit as well, so they might you know now that they know 5 or 6 other people, you know they’ve got a face to the cartoon avatar or whatever they’re display picture might be, now they can have a bit of backwards and forwards, so it might draw them out to be you know converse a little bit more. But it is a really diverse thing. Like we had some people that were you know love their Twitter and do that all the time, but they’re not on Facebook at all, it’s just not their cup of tea. They had others that were trying different platforms. So yeah there is not sort of set demographic, I mean obviously they’re people with you know most of them all had a smartphone of some kind, and you know they use social to connect with their – to connect with their teams.

FRANCIS: Other clubs doing it as well in the AFL?

SEAN: Yeah so the AFL, Essendon ran one a couple of years ago where they had a guest panel talking about it. The Western Bulldogs ran one last week with Ed Wire was actually on the panel and they were talking about sports and social and sort of getting people in – getting people involved, from a pro team in the States point of view, the Cleveland Indians have run the Social Suite, similar to what the Storm did and they’ve done it for a while, they’ve actually had a sort of bloggers area where they’ve tried to activate their digital fans. And also the Sacramento Kings used a product called Clout, which measures your influence. So they – they brought in influential people from the Sacramento area, obviously if you put them you know give – put them in a nice suite and treat them to a good time, they’re going to talk about the Sacramento Kings in a positive light and generate a bit more reach. So there’s a few different ways of doing it, a lot of the – a lot of the teams now doing specific social media nights where they will sell a ticket and have an event either prior or after the game, maybe a meet and greet with the players and that kind of thing. But yeah the – if you’re out there and you’re tweeting and you’re just – just pretty much refining it to your couch I say get out there and – and meet people.

FRANCIS: Well we do it professionally too. I mean we have a dinner every couple of months for people in the digital sports media as well and it’s a great way of people who have probably connected via the social media platforms who share a similar professional interest to get together and talk about what they do and better ways to do it as well. So in terms of you know professional development it’s been really powerful tool.

SEAN: Yeah and I mean my best I guess taking online/offline is when I did a trip a couple of years ago I was tweeting away at Dodgers Stadium and someone, Jill, replied back you should come to a game sometime. I said I’d love too, and then my next port of call was Dallas and I was going to a game to watch the Dallas Mavericks and LA Lakers and Jill said I’m in Dallas too we should meet at half time, and I said that’s cool and I hadn’t met we just connected via Twitter. At the same point I trying to connect with Mark Cuban who owns the Mavericks and I’d connected with the CEO of – of the arena saying hey I’m checking out your venue I’d love a tour. Half way through the second quarter Brad Mayne the CEO of the American Airlines Centre comes down, because I tweeted where I was sitting, he goes Sean come up to the suite. And so at half time I was in the dilemma do I go see Brad and go into the suite or do I meet my new Twitter friend Jill.

FRANCIS: What did you do?

SEAN: Well what – what do you think I did?

FRANCIS: You went and got two tickets and took Jill.

SEAN: No I – no I went up – I went up – actually I didn’t think of that scenario, but I went up to the suite and Brad was introducing me to people in the suite that work in the different facilities around – around America, he was very kind he said we’ve got some Fosters on ice for you Sean.

FRANCIS: Thanks for that Brad.

SEAN: I said thanks Brad I’ll be very polite I’ll drink them all but Australians don’t drink Fosters. But while he was doing the introductions he’s going oh and this is Jill. Jill who tweeted me 3 days earlier when I was at Dodgers Stadium was in the suite with Brad and what I didn’t know was that Jill ran effectively what’s – – –

FRANCIS: Sounds like a conspiracy.

SEAN: – – – it does sound like a conspiracy, she ran the Venue Managers Association effectively in America – – –

FRANCIS: You walked into the honey trap.

SEAN: – – – it was. So it was quite funny and she was in the suite.

FRANCIS: Did you say you stood me up.

SEAN: Yeah she did. She said you stood me up but she was the one that was encouraging Brad to go hey get this guy up here, I’ve been tweeting with him he’s checking out all the stadiums. So it sort of shows you a way that you can take those online connections and they might be completely random. Like I didn’t talk to Jill or you know she talked to me first and I didn’t talk to her because she said I work in sports or anything, she you know didn’t say anything in her bio that led me to that and you know that random connection, you know helped me watch the Lakers/Mavs in the Super Box and I saw Dirk Nowitzki score his 20,000th NBA point. So just shows you — –

FRANCIS: Magic day.

SEAN: – – -how you can get those connections happening.

FRANCIS: You never know who’s out there. Before we let you go speaking of random connections, I reckon there’s a young Australian sprinter who’s going to have a few of those in the next little while. A video that’s going to go viral or already has.

SEAN: It already has gone viral. I actually got told about this from a guy in Boston who was saying I’ve got that video of that Aussie hurdler, and I just assumed like every Australian would, that there’s some video of Sally Pearson and he goes no, Michelle Jenneke, so if you Google Michelle Jenneke.

FRANCIS: How do we spell her name properly?


FRANCIS: Now this is a video that was shot I think recently in Barcelona at the World Junior Champs.

SEAN: Yes. Yeah and so she’s got a bit of a dance, pre-match – pre-race routine.

FRANCIS: It is pretty special, I have seen it.

SEAN: And you know she just fires up and she’s happy go lucky and loose and ready to go and someone’s put some cheesy music over the top of it and yeah you can see why it’s gone – it’s gone viral and you know unfortunately she won’t beat the Olympics, but if the you know the video’s anything she’ll have a lot fans when she next has an international meet.

FRANCIS: She sure will. Sean how can we find you in the Twitter universe?

SEAN: Well you can tweet me @seancallanan or