The (unusually exciting) Major League Baseball trade deadline has passed, LeBron has made his decision, and NFL training camps are just getting into high gear…offseason content abounds. And it ranges from the good to bad, from novel to irrelevant, and everything in-between.
My general thoughts are offseason content should basically proceed with: celebrating the season passed, getting to know new (and current) players to build fan emotional ties, revisit highlight-reel plays, solicit fan predictions and opinions for team-related and experience-related items, and let fans comment on news as it occurs with the team and league.
A lot of teams are taking the route of doing anything and everything to keep their name in front of fans with amusing, engaging, perhaps irrelevant content — from games of Tic-Tac-Toe (NHL) to the NBA’s cavalier cavalcade of hash tags like #NBASuperHeroes and the like.
Aaron – what’s your take on the novel offseason content approach of the NBA and on team offseason content, in general, both how necessary it is and of what it should be comprised?
I think offseason is where most Digital Managers can utilize their creativity. It is nice to consume content as a fan such as highlights, profiles and news features, but the offseason begs for it to be presented differently. I have seen a couple NHL teams present yearly highlights in a bracket form, where fans can vote for their favorite highlight ultimately leading to the team’s best plays – that’s pretty cool. As far as other miscellaneous games and social antics, I like them. I think it’s smart for teams to recognize their fans have other interests than the team itself. Whether it be music, favorite TV shows, different games…I think fans can relate to some of the offseason shenanigans and humanizes the team. It gives an opportunity to enhance the overall perception and idea of the team experience – whether that’s highlights or that they really love pizza. Social media allows teams to be as creative, or not, as they want to be. And it’s pretty cool to see the fans play along!
A lot of sports marketers are focused on the Boomers and Millenials, but, when it comes to social media, the up-and-coming generation born after Derek Jeter’s rookie year isn’t on Facebook and Twitter, as much. Not even Instagram. A lot of them are communicating on well-known messaging app with its ephemeral text, photo, and video communications lasting at most 24 hours — Snapchat. A lot of teams, brands, and media outlets have jumped on board the Snapchat train and, with its large, active user base, Snapchat appears here to stay in the social media ecosystem.
There are a lot of pros and cons to consider for a team thinking about Snapchat. It indeed offers a way to reach and engage the particular, younger (income-less) demographic. And its content consumption, described by views, promises deep engagement as one knows users have their finger on the screen intently viewing the team’s content. This content will be there, at most, 24 hours, and oftentimes gets wide awareness after a fan (or the team itself) shares a screen shot on Twitter.
If a team has a surfeit content and can take advantage of the deep engagement offered by Snapchat with content with a short shelf-life and limited amplification ability, then jump on board! In reality, a lot of teams don’t have an ample supply of such unique quality content, nor the time and resources to produce it, to offer the value or standard needed to respect the platform and audience with Snapchat. An audience, a lot of sports fans, are there. But it’s not yet clear what the long-term ROI is and teams shouldn’t start firing bullets only to waste them without proper aim.
Are you sold on Snapchat, Aaron?
Please allow me to get out of my rocking chair and shoo away the kids off my front lawn. I’m not a fan of Snapchat personally, and maybe it’s because I was 2 years old when Jeter made his MLB debut, but that doesn’t mean I have to ignore it completely. I see the real value in video content, and otherwise B-roll content. If players are warming up, kicking a soccer ball around or taping up sticks, by all means…PLEASE don’t post it again on Instagram or Vine. This is suitable behind the scenes content that fans still enjoy, but may not be best fit for a team’s Twitter or Facebook. I want to add that appealing to a profit-less demographic isn’t a bad thing. After all it’s how restaurants make millions: happy meals and coloring books were created so that kids beg the parents to go there. The same can occur on a different level with Snapchat.
I think part of the reason as to why I’m not sold on Snapchat in sports is because most teams don’t do it well. The first team to have a player takeover, where the player creates a “behind the scenes” story compiling videos and photos will prove that Snapchat is worth it. Snapchat encourages dialogue back and forth via pictures or videos, yet most teams are using it as a one-way street of communication. I think it would be fun, and interesting
, to have a different department takeover the Snapchat…let Game Ops walk you through their night, have trainers on the bench take selfies at halftime or even have the team president snap photos of his suite buffet (maybe someone will buy a suite from it, you never know). There are a million ways to utilize Snapchat other than drawing doodles of your team logo. Now, I’ll see myself back to the porch and work on my crossword puzzle.
Posted by Neil Horowitz and Aaron Westendorf
Posted by Neil Horowitz