Facebook Scores with Univision’s Liga MX Deal

Liga MX on Facebook Live will become a reality this Saturday

When Twitter announced their partnership deal with the NFL last year, I was disappointed.

I long believed that people would watch sports via Twitter. Sports and Twitter are the perfect match. The main reason for this is because that’s where sports media live. Breaking news, stories, commentary about sports happens on Twitter more than any other social media platform. So much happens on Twitter that I’ve even “watched” the Super Bowl without watching it on tv.

If you want people to talk about your sports content, Twitter is where it’s at. The potential for sports leagues to connect and grow through Twitter was huge. If your sport connects with sports media, who better to get the word out, right?

Although Twitter did sign partnerships with smaller leagues – the Mountain West conference, for example – it was their deal with the NFL that got people (media) buzzing.

Boring.

For me, the point of watching something on social media is more an issue of access. The NFL is a commodity that is easily accessible. Broadcast tv, cable tv, foreign language tv – it’s readily available for NFL games.

No, what I wanted to see Twitter pursue was something I couldn’t get elsewhere.

Then along came Facebook Live.

Marketers and media sometimes scoff at Facebook and sports. They view it as for the older crowd, full of photos of food, kids and the ever-popular “why am I connected with this person from high school” crowd. It’s believed that the 18-34 year-old demographic group coveted by sports advertisers aren’t hanging out on Facebook.

But, given its status as the #1 social network in the world, Facebook will be a player (no sports pun intended) in sports live-streaming.

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Univision’s Liga MX Deal

Today, the most popular soccer league in North America, sorry MLS, is bringing their game to Facebook thanks to Univision Deportes. 

“We’re thrilled Univision is bringing Liga MX matches to Facebook,” said Dan Reed, Head of Global Sports Partnerships at Facebook. “The move enables Facebook’s passionate community of soccer fans to watch, share, talk about and react to one of the sport’s most exciting leagues – all in one location.”

Tonia O’Connor, COO and Content Distribution President of Univision Corporation said, “Our Facebook partnership is an exciting opportunity for these fans to experience this great soccer in the language of their choice.”

Financial details have not been disclosed at this time. 

Broadcasting games in English and making them available to fans who, for various reasons, don’t have Univision as part of their cable package is a no-brainer. By broadcasting the games on Facebook Live in English, Univision will be bringing Liga MX to an ever-increasing bilingual fanbase in the United States.

Just a few short days ago, Liga MX was featured in the English publication, The Guardian. In that article, writer Richard Foster wrote, “…a concerted effort is required to make an impact outside the Americas.” Although the initial offering will only be available here in the United States, Univision’s partnership with Facebook is one way to show the excitement of the league to new fans.  

Traditionalists and long-time Liga MX fans may not be as enthusiastic about the news, but it is worth the risk. Univision will still air games in Spanish over the air and on their app.  

Only 46 games – regular season and playoffs – will be broadcast on Facebook. These matches will involve teams Univision has broadcast rights to. It all starts this Saturday night when Club America travels to Chivas.

There are still details to be ironed out and questions to be answered. After all, announcers are an important part of Liga MX viewing…

As for Twitter, this news should make bring them pause. Depending on whom you ask, their partnership with the NFL was successful. More recently, they began their partnership with the PGA Tour. This agreement allows Twitter to broadcast 31 tournaments, with over 70 hours of coverage this season. It will be broadcast around the world. 

Just like with the NFL, however, this isn’t a partnership that gets the average American sports fan excited. Golf tournaments can be seen on broadcast and cable tv, as well as your local sports bar on a non-football day. What’s the point? 

By offering a sport that isn’t as readily available, Facebook is taking the path that could ultimately prove beneficial for all parties in sports.

Now, if only Cesar’s wish…and mine…would come true. 

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CadChica Sports

Thierry Henry Follows Jeter’s Facebook Path

One of the benefits to athletes using social media is the ability to control the message. Twitter seems to be the platform of choice to control that message. But, you can only do so much in 140-characters. Facebook provides a much better vehicle for sharing their message. Earlier this year, Derek Jeter used Facebook to announce his retirement from Major League Baseball. Today, although not a retirement (yet), Thierry Henry used the platform to state he would not be returning to the New York Red Bulls in 2015. 

 

Thierry Henry   I am taking this opportunity to announce that...

 

 

Where Henry ends up next is anyone’s guess. New York has provided him with anonymity of sorts that he could not find in Europe. His next stop, if there is one, is for soccer pundits to decide. What I find fascinating is using Facebook to do it. 

As great as Twitter is for live-event viewing, it’s 140-character limit is, well, limiting. It’s great to share links, which Henry did:

It’s great for connecting athletes to fans and media. But, when it comes to one’s own message, most people have more to say than 140-characters. Especially when it comes to an athlete of Henry’s status in the footballing world. Just tweeting: “I won’t be returning to the New York Red Bulls in 2015” wouldn’t be sufficient. No, more context is needed. And that’s what Facebook provides. Perhaps that could be a tagline: “Beyond-140” or “When 140 isn’t enough”. Okay, not really.

Twitter is reactionary. Because of the 140 limit, it creates a mindset of quick reactions or thoughts. It’s “the place” to go when you have that quick thought or reaction to an event. 

Facebook, however, provides a more controlled environment for athletes. When controlling your own message, Facebook forces more thought into the words being typed.  If used properly, it’s a Public Relation rep’s dream (largest social media audience) or nightmare (athlete can cut out the middle man if they so choose). 

Seeing Henry choose this method is not surprising. Without his own, active website, Facebook is the next best thing. Expect to see more of this in the future. Unless, someone finally realizes the power of video – seeing and hearing it from the athlete directly resonates more than reading their mere words. 

Who will be the first? 

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CadChica Sports

#SMSports: Facebook Hashtag- Count Me Out

“Facebook Working on Incorporating the Hashtag”

Big announcement in the social media community yesterday. Big. According to the Wall Street Journal headline (and story link) above, Facebook is exploring the idea of hashtags.

Hashtags are Twitter territory. A simple click on a hashtag displays any and every tweet using it. It’s a nice curation tool, unless the topic is extremely hot in which case the tweets fly by non-stop if you’re using a third-party app like TweetDeck. If on the web, it’s a game of constant page refresh. But, when the topic isn’t so “hot”, finding what people are saying about a topic or, as in the case of sports, a live event, it’s quick, easy and invaluable.

Which makes this announcement interesting. Interesting as in, I’m not sure how Facebook can make a dent in the Twitter domination of the 2nd-screen market.

[Full disclosure: Count me as someone who resists using Facebook on a personal basis. I use it for business purposes. When Facebook starting making their mass changes several years ago, it soured me on its appeal. Well, that, and reading certain individuals’ mundane updates about their game-playing scores, political rants or their unsolicited “pokings”.]

Covering sports/social media as in-depth as I do, I am able to see first hand not only what people are saying but which moments make an impact on the viewer. I am able to see the build-up of a moment become a trending topic. The power of  the retweet (RT) enables word to spread quickly about something memorable that happened in sports.

While many think it’s the RT with the power, I would argue that in live event moments, it’s the 140-character Twitter limit that allows for success as a 2nd-screen resource. And that’s the advantage that Twitter will have over Facebook, especially in sports.

Sports, unless we’re talking golf or baseball, is fast action. Quick hits. Split-second moments that prompt immediate responses in us. Our immediate reactions range from “WOW!” to “DID YOU SEE THAT?” to “BOOM! #WINNING!!!!”.

No muss. No fuss. No need for long drawn out monologues of analysis. Just pure, simple emotion.

Twitter fits that bill nicely. 140 characters is the limit. People have adapted and are making it work.

But what of Facebook? Will their new hashtag incorporation also include a character limit like this?

Probably not. And that’s where I think it “may” fail. Realize that this is pure conjecture on my part but I speak as both a fan and a media member. When you’re in the middle of a game, who wants to read a long-drawn out analysis by someone using the hashtag #Lakers on Facebook. By the time you finish reading it, you may have missed 3 or 4 great plays. And if you choose to watch instead of read the boring analysis, will you remember to go back and read it? By then, what’s the point? 

I can see this being beneficial to companies that use hashtags in their ad campaign. But if people find that it’s cumbersome to use, then why use it?

Am I wrong? Maybe.

However, if I wanted to read paragraphs upon paragraphs when University of South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney’s hit on Michigan’s Vincent Smith while the game is going on, I’ll go to a message board.

(Lord, help me if I do that)

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UPDATE: While doing research after this post, I came across this article on Facebook’s commercialization. In essence, the focus to increase ad revenue is driving “users” away. Whether that is accurate or not, I don’t know. But it does provide food for thought in the context of hashtagging on Facebook during “live” sporting events. May not be as beneficial to businesses as they may hope for sports advertising. 

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CadChica Sports

Sports Fans: Be Informed, Not Dictated To

A level playing field. For a fan like me, that is all I have ever wanted when it comes to sports opinions.

Prior to social media, sports opinions, for years, were dictated by media. Sports news came via radio, newspaper, or broadcast television. As internet and cable/satellite grew, the availability of information corresponded in kind.

And then along came social media.

In a February article published on mediabistro.com,

Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have given fans the opportunity to stay
connected  with organizations, teams, sporting personalities, news outlets – and each other –

which has been hugely successful for everyone involved.

Indeed it has.

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In the context of sports, I agree with the above tweet.

Then again, I’m not the traditional sports fan. I used to be. Watch the games. Cheer for my teams. Check news online. Even on Facebook, I would follow “my” teams.

But it wasn’t enough. Something was missing for me.

I wanted more. I wanted to know the intricacies of media opinion. Why does a sportswriter say one thing while sports radio guy says something completely different about the same thing? Opinions vary obviously but, what about when the topic is “tweeted” by media from across the sports landscape? Twitter provides instant insight on sports topics with media from all parts of the country (world), with diverse family, educational, employment, cultural and racial backgrounds. Discard them if you will but those backgrounds influence the opinions of sports media.

That’s why Twitter is so valuable to the sports conversation. Wide ranging opinions on a subject from various sports news outlets allow fans to form “their own” opinion. No longer does opinion need to be dictated to fans. Unless, of course, fans stick to old standbys like ESPN. Nothing wrong with ESPN for sports news but sole reliance on it means fans are dictated “to”. Whatever broadcasting contracts ESPN has with sports leagues/conferences, their news tends to lean toward those topics. One-sided, biased opinion right?

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Not good enough for me. I want to be a knowledgeable sports fan. Give me varying degrees of opinion from people I agree and disagree with. I don’t care if so & so “hates” my team or they are “jerks” to people, they still might have information I might find useful on Twitter. It doesn’t mean I have to “follow” them. I put them on a Twitter list. Still accessing their tweets without giving them the “pleasure” of a follower number.

Consider this my “call” to sports fans everywhere to get informed. Use the resources available through Twitter to become a knowledgeable sports fan and not resort to name-calling tactics like this:

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CadChica Sports

Sports And Social Media: “Pro”-fessionally Speaking

The landscape in sports is changing. Not on the field, court, ice or track. But it is in the area of media that is causing the greatest change.

In a previous post, I began discussing social media in the context of sports. Athletes who are embracing this form of communication range from high-profile professional athletes to middle-school hopefuls. “Like” or “Follow”, “Join” or simply connect. It’s a simplistic way of interacting with others that more and more athletes are choosing to embrace. But it is also a path that if one isn’t careful, one can find themselves falling down a pit that can almost be too insurmountable to climb out of.

It is in that frame of reference, I began exploring, for lack of a better term, rules, if you will, for athletes. There are so many pieces written about social media but none that I could find specifically for athletes. That’s not to say there isn’t anything out there. True, there are companies out there providing consultations or assistance to leagues, teams, or maybe even individuals. In my observation however, that puts the emphasis on the aforementioned parties to invest in those consultations.

Not every league, team or athlete is proactive on social media. I attempted to contact the major sports leagues, teams, individual athletes, not to mention at least one major college conference and school to find out their guidelines for athletes to handle social media. One reply was received. I was told to check with the individual team I was interested in.

As evidenced by what I see on Twitter, it’s pretty apparent that athletes, in general, are not well-versed on it. But there are ways to Social-ize responsibly. There are ways to be effective. And there are ways to not come across as…….a jerk.

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WHY BE SOCIAL?

It’s really a two-part answer to that question. Being “social”, whether it’s through Twitter or Facebook or another social media site, is one of the biggest questions that every athlete must answer in the 21st century. I’m not saying it’s the BIGGEST, but it is one of the biggest in our day and age for athletes.

As an athlete, your brand is YOU. Is it important for you to “sell” your brand? Do you want your name out there for fans and advertisers to connect with? To do so in today’s media-driven world, social-media is where it’s at.
As social media skyrockets in popularity, the potential for connecting with your audience grows exponentially.

Take this article from ESPN’s Maria Burns-Ortiz about Shaq and Digital Royalty’s Amy Jo Martin, the first two “verified” accounts on Twitter. As Ms. Burns-Ortiz writes:

 “…finding success in social media is not just about embracing the space
as an inevitable part of business but also about turning it into an effective
brand-building tool and finding ways to monetize it.

Social Media is turning into “an effective brand-building tool and finding ways to monetize it”. That is “selling your brand”. If that’s not enough to convince you take a look at this tweet from CNBC’s Darren Rovell:


Your brand is YOU.

Okay, so that’s the first part of my answer. Before I get into the second part read this:  

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CHECK YOUR MOTIVE

  “Say What?” Yes, you read that right. Check your motive. I cannot say that enough. CHECK YOUR MOTIVE. As I said, your brand is YOU. When I say YOU, I’m not just talking about your name. That includes everything about you (beliefs, ideas, what motivates you, etc..). People, both fans and advertisers, want to know what kind of person they’re “following”. If your primary motive is to make bank, people will see that and want nothing to do with “your brand. “Making bank” is all people will see and that’s a big turn-off.

 Social media is a form of communication. The best communication is: a TWO-WAY street. In as much
as you talk to someone in person, on the phone or text someone, social media is just talk. It’s a way to say hello, reply to fans’ questions, keep them posted on what you’re doing, let them know about any charitable work you’re involved in; just being you. If you can’t relate to that, then social media probably isn’t for you.

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WHERE SHOULD I “SOCIAL”-IZE?

Okay, so you’ve decided to get involved in social media. Great. Where?

This is important. Depending on where you choose to be social, may dictate how involved you are going to be. You can do it by yourself or hire a PR (Public Relations) person to handle it for you. Do you have the time? Do you “trust” someone else to do it for you? While there are many different applications (apps) out there to interface all of them, it still requires time and effort for you to maintain an active presence. Either way you answer, here are “some” choices:

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FACEBOOK

The largest social media network and the most actively searched website (in 2010) is the first item on our list. Will you be on Facebook? If you’re already on there, is it as a Public Figure or is it just a personal page. If it’s a personal page, do you want to open a separate one that is available to the public? If you go Public Figure, who will maintain the page for you? Here are some things to keep in mind:               

–More and more businesses, both large and small are seeing the value of having a Facebook account. It’s a way for businesses or brands to keep customers updated on what’s going on and receive feedback as well.

–It also provides a way for fans to connect with other fans, even ones half a world away.That is a great benefit of Facebook. One central location for you to interact with fans and they in turn, interact with each other. In essence, they would be promoting you to others on their pages by their simple interaction on your page.

–Athletes, or their representatives, use Facebook today to post photos, videos, itineraries or just give status updates. It can also be a means to promote charitable foundations. Fans want to know what their favorite athletes are doing. If there’s a charity that their athlete promotes, then chances are they will support it, or at the very least, promote it to others. Having a golf tournament, promote it on Facebook and word will travel pretty fast; support will follow.

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PERSONAL WEBSITE

Do you have your own website? If you do, what is its purpose? Does it look professional? Or is it something you just threw together to say you have one? Is it for fans? Is it for your charitable organization/foundation? Are you the one maintaining it? What information can be found there? If someone else is doing it for you, are they keeping it up to date and current?

If you don’t have one, do you want one? Do you want a place where fans can go to find out more
information on you where you can maintain a little more content control? Do you want a place to promote a charity? Who will maintain/update your site? Then a website may be what you are looking for.

These are questions to consider regarding a website. But most importantly, do you have the time to maintain this? If not, talk to family, work with your agent or your publicist (if you have one) or check with fellow players to see if they can recommend someone to set one up for you. I’ve even heard of athletes finding web developers/designers on Twitter; not recommended though. But, have an idea in mind of: a) what you want it to look like and b) what the purpose is of it. Go into it with a plan ahead of time.

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TWITTER

This is one that, from my perspective, has caused the most problems for athletes. It’s really quite simple to use but it’s just as simple to get in trouble. As evidenced by the Darren Rovell tweet above, Twitter is fast becoming an excellent resource for connecting with fans, companies, and even media. That translates into ‘brand sales’.

However, Twitter can help you or hurt you. It’s too easy to say “Think before you tweet”. Sometimes it’s not so easy if you are tweeting yourself. There are a few athletes out there who have others tweet for them, under their name. There is nothing wrong with that, mind you, but just know fans want to feel like they are interacting with YOU, not some representative of yours. It can work but something to think about if you haven’t signed up for Twitter yet.

There are a wide variety of Twitter “rules” out there. Too many for me to put here. In the context of a professional athlete and Twitter, here are a few that I’ve come up with, some are similar to what you may see or hear out there and some are my own:

Public or private?Seems kind of odd to bring this up when discussing selling your brand but it must be mentioned since it is a choice. You can choose to have your tweets “protected”; that’s a private account. That means, before anyone can actually “follow” you, they have to send a request to you for approval to follow. This gives you more control over who sees your tweets, although not foolproof. By not going with “protected” tweets, this enables you to connect with more people, worldwide. Yes, this does open you up to some strange people but, the risk is worth it if you do things right. And there is always a BLOCK function to block the really strange ones.

One other thing to consider is the potential clients on Twitter. Companies, both large and small, as well as advertisers have a presence on Twitter. In the social media age, they will probably check your profile and feedback on Twitter before deciding on an athlete to endorse them is their presence on Twitter. They will be very selective as to who they want representing them. If you’re willing to live with ‘potential’ backlash or stirring up controversy, tweet whatever you want.

Know Your Audience/Think Before You Tweet – Although it may seem like it’s just “fans” following you, there will be plenty of media following you too. This is where “Think Before You Tweet” comes in. Anything you tweet is out there for public consumption. So if you have a potential unpopular opinion, be prepared for an opposing viewpoint in the form of replies or negative commentary about you (both personal and non-personal). Fans can be cruel. Media can be brutal. And the damage from both can be branding-suicide if not dealt with properly and promptly. Keep in mind that as an athlete, you not only represent yourself but your family, teammates, team as well as your league, organization or city you play in.

Know What You’re RT’ing – Re-tweeting, or RT’ing, is a popular request fans send athletes. Many times it’s asking for an RT for someone who is battling a disease. Fans will include a link to a website for that person and ask the athlete for an RT in hopes of generating traffic/support/donations for their  cause. Other RT requests are basically just a “shout-out” from their favorite athlete (or just for bragging rights) to their friends that they got an athlete to respond to their tweet).

And sometimes it’s SPAM. Followers may see your RT as an endorsement of someone’s tweet. If there’s a link on there that you haven’t checked out, be forewarned. If there’s something malicious to that link, they’ll blame you. What will they think if “you” RT’d spam or a questionable website? As quickly as things get tweeted and RT’d, you don’t want to do anything to gain a bad rep on Twitter.

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There are so many resources out there about how to be SOCIAL-LY RESPONSIBLE. Gather information from those who are actively “social”-izing and ALSO being professional. Check internet websites that are devoted to social media. Just like you learned throughout your career how to handle interviews for television, radio and print media, social media requires learning too. The difference however, is the higher risk for quicker backlash if you type something wrong.

BOTTOM LINE: Be Professional. Be Responsible. Be Social.

**Have some thoughts on this topic? Please be sure to leave a comment or email me at CadChicaSports@yahoo.com.

Spanning the Twitterverse: Thursday Which Is Really….Thursday!!!

Spanning the Twitterverse to bring you the constant variety of tweets….the thrill of the retweet….and the agony of the unfollow.…the human drama of the twitter timeline….This is CadChica’s Wide World of Tworts

Now that I have caught myself up on my days…..without further adieu….here are your Thursday Tworts.

Do you think players will listen, no matter what level, when it comes to social media?   

Another USC tweet I know. I do love me some Pac-10…er, I mean Pac-12 (feels weird typing that) but with USC’s NCAA appeal denied today and Ohio State’s noose getting tighter, this tweet was too good to pass up.

And speaking of the USC denied appeal by the NCAA, Commish Scott speaks:

There was good news however. Do a little dance Pac-10…(darn it)…Pac-12 coaches, players and fans!! This one’s for you:

I promise, I’m not trying to have a West Coast bias but, when your conference signs a new deal worth serious bank $$$$$, and pre-“new deal “new toys are going in around your campus, that’s gotta be worth another Pac-conference tweet right? I thought you’d agree so here you go:

Alright, I’m done. I’m almost ashamed to post this next one because when you look at the picture on the link you’d feel ashamed too, if it was YOUR team. The second tweet, however, does show someone may have felt that shame….BIGTIME.

TWEET OF THE DAY

Love him or hate him, Alexi Lalas knows when to bring a great line:

CadChica Sports