WRITER’S NOTE: This article originally appeared on the now-defunct Yahoo! Voices network on May 23, 2012. The article is no longer available on Yahoo’s network. Reprinted here as the author of original work.
Seismic Shift in the Sports-Social Media World
A tremor in the sports-social media world took place this week.
Did you feel it?
Most didn’t realize it when it happened. But, the early rumblings of a seismic shift in the Twitter/Sports relationship occurred, unsurprisingly, in the world of NASCAR.
On Friday, Twitter and NASCAR representatives announced a “business” partnership that is the first of its kind between Twitter and a sports league. The early details of this partnership, scheduled to begin next month at the Pocono race on June 10, entails a promoted NASCAR hashtag (#NASCAR) as well as a NASCAR specific page to take the fan-sport interaction to another level.
Currently, Twitter has promoted tweets that occur on users timelines. According to Twitter: “Promoted Tweets are ordinary Tweets purchased by advertisers who want to reach a wider group of users or to spark engagement from their existing followers.“ To what extent the “promoted tweets” have been successful or not depends on who you ask. But according to this May 2011 article, Twitter expected ad spending to triple from 2010 to 2011.
So how does this affect Twitter’s new relationship with NASCAR? Can you say: #WINNING?
NASCAR has long been known for being a “fan’s” sport. History shows large attendance numbers at races as well as the driver interaction with fans proved to be beneficial to NASCAR’s growth. Despite the economy cutting into those numbers, NASCAR has been able to evolve and adapt, using social media to do it.
Because their drivers were already accessible to the public, the use of Twitter by NASCAR and their drivers was a natural extension. Highlighting this was Brad Keselowski, earlier this year. During the Daytona 500, there was a fiery crash that Keselowski had opportunity to snap a picture of as it happened in front of him. Using his phone, he tweeted the picture to the world.
Not knowing how this simple act would take off (he gained over 100,000 followers in just a matter of hours), it proved the connection of Twitter and sports beyond just the sport of NASCAR. It was a trending topic online but work offices around the country. The power of NASCAR. The power of Twitter.
Fast forward to Friday. Twitter and NASCAR joining forces. Hashtag promotion. A NASCAR-specific page on Twitter. A page where tweets will be curated (gathered), from media, the fans, drivers, their families and crew centrally located in one place. What are other fans saying about the race? The media? Anything happen before the race fans should know about? Fans will no longer have to search for the hottest topics during the event. Twitter will do it for you.
That is a good thing. Less work for the fan to do, the more likely they’ll be to stay on that page. A captive audience if you will. And in the world of advertising, that’s the best type of audience to have.
If it succeeds, that tremor, that seismic shift…is only the beginning for Twitter and sports.