How Legendary Leagues: NHL and MLB Embrace Social Media in Sports
We came to know some interesting stories of players embracing social media in my last blog post: Courage in Sports: Titanss of Social Media. We also learned that some leagues are not embracing the use of Social Media during live events. Did the National Football League (NFL) take things too seriously or were they only taking precautionary steps to check team room discussions going open or even trivial field issues between players getting nasty behind wary eyes of the coach, management and sponsors.
So, not only can NFL players not tweet during the game, they also can’t post updates for the 90 minutes before and after a game or (presumably) during halftime. And it’s not just players; coaches, officials, and even press must stay away from their phones, too. Incidentally, fans who are watching the game are not prohibited from using Facebook, tweeting, or texting during the game, thank goodness.
Following this event with the NFL, the National Basketball Association (NBA) banned players to participate in social media 45 min before or after a game, but is liberal to permit different teams to stick to their own rules resulting in many teams completely abdicating social media in the interest of their players.
However, not all sports leagues prohibit social media use by their players, there are a number of other leagues like the NBA, NHL and MLB that embrace social media in sports.
The National Hockey League (NHL) for instance, has a welcoming approach to social media, with some of its teams quite active on social channels like Twitter. Overall the league in general seems to be pretty social media-friendly. The NHL organize Tweetups (#nhltweetups), a very interesting site focused on getting Twitter-using fans together to watch various NHL games. The NHL also runs a contest on Twitter to give away tickets to fans. The contest is rather simple: pick the winners of the games that will be played on the upcoming Saturday, tweet them to @NHL, and include the hashtag. Participants who get all 15 teams right get free tickets to any regular season game of their choice. It’s a simple but an effective social media marketing promotion by the nation’s premier hockey league.
Major League Baseball (MLB) has hit a home run in adopting social media. Not only has the MLB put out a rather popular iPhone app, that has social media tools, but the organization also maintains an active Twitter account. Check out the plethora of social media channels leveraged by MLB for their social outreach to fans.
The interesting part is MLB broadcast their match’s streaming through their iPhone app (and through its own website) resulting in a large number of fans following the players that are tweeting regularly. Naturally, the MLB actively promotes those players’ Twitter accounts on its own website. So long as no one overdoes the live game updates and photos, it seems like the MLB might be able to strike a balance (avoiding the NFL and NBA stance).
Social media channels like Twitter and Facebook may seem to be influenced by influential people at some occasion but it is never controlled or defined by these people. Social media enthusiasts have always been driven by their passion to find new uses of the medium and will continue to collectively drive the medium together. This new breed of social savvy users will generate interest and desire for sites like Olympics News: The Social Media Olympics is Here where you can easily find everything that is going on regarding the Olympics via social channels.
Sites like this are giving users freedom to follow, share and watch as they like across teams, countries, and boundaries. Really, is this not what the true spirit of Olympics is all about?