Posts Tagged ‘NFL’


How Controversial Tweets are Changing the Game for NFL Players and Fans

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Recently, Arian Foster, NFL running back for the Houston Texans, created quite a stir when he tweeted an image of the MRI for his injured hamstring.  Along with the image, he posted the following:

As the tweet circulated around the Twitter-verse, everyone from ESPN commentators to water cooler analysts were stating their case as to whether or not it was a big deal.  Most of the analysts that are former NFL players agreed; this was a bad move on Foster’s part. 

Former linebacker for the New England Patriots, Tedy Bruschi, was quoted as saying what every other former and current defensive player was probably thinking:

“As a defensive player, if this is his hamstring, noting that the sore spot — the white spot that he calls anti-awesomeness — is in the middle of the hamstring, as I’m getting off of a pile, maybe I push,” Bruschi said. “Maybe that’s where I push. Because I know that’s exactly where it is. I give it a little dig, I give it a little twist as I get off the pile. Maybe I do that.”

As most professional athletes will tell you, it’s best to keep information like this close to the vest.  The amount of work it takes to win an NFL game is daunting, and players will look for any piece of information that could give them a competitive advantage.  If you’re a key player with an injury, you’d like to keep the opposing team in the dark about your condition.  That way, they don’t know whether they should prepare for you to be in the game or not.

By contrast, most fans of the game and social media will tell you that they loved the tweet.  Twitter has allowed us to connect with athletes in ways that we never could before, and this is another prime example of that.  We get to see first hand what athletes are thinking, without having their comments filtered through a PR team. 

Another point to consider is the fact that controversial tweets can increase a player’s notoriety.  Chances are, more people know who Arian Foster is now that the story has been blasted over every sports outlet in the country.  That means more Arian Foster jerseys sold, more seats filled at Houston Texans games, and more people tuning in to see if a defensive player does exactly what Tedy Bruschi described.  As a coach, this is your worst nightmare.  As an NFL owner, you may be outwardly opposed to the idea, but there has to be some part of you that likes the attention it brings.

Similar to the way fantasy football enhanced the fans’ gameday experience, social media is bringing a new element to the game that makes Sunday afternoons even more fun.  Now that the dust has settled from this latest Twitter controversy, we’ve all learned a valuable lesson; be sure to follow your favorite players, because you never know what they might say next.

Twitter Allows Fans to Connect With Sports Like Never Before

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

On June 1, the UFC will implement a social media strategy that pays fighters for their ability to build a twitter following.  Every three months, the most effective tweeters will receive a $5,000 bonus based on how many followers they have gained, and how creative their tweets were.  Instead of simply tacking social media on to their marketing plan as an afterthought, the UFC has fully embraced the idea of promoting the organization on Twitter.

An athlete with a Twitter account is nothing new, but the way the UFC is encouraging its fighters to make their voices heard is incredibly creative.  Instead of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for a marketing campaign, Dana White, the head of the UFC, has found a way to promote the sport to a huge audience for about $80,000 per year.

The World Series Champion San Francisco Giants have also seen the value of the social medium, and their fans couldn’t be happier.  Besides giving the typical news from the GM’s office and in-game stats, the team has created a community that allows their fans to see photo and video updates during the game.  They frequently share pictures that fans send from their seats during games, and encourage everyone to interact and comment while cheering on the team.  They truly are a model for how a sports team should utilize Twitter.

Fans are looking for more ways to interact with their teams, and it’s time for other MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL teams to realize this.  It’s only a matter of time before owners realize how it can add to their bottom line.  Providing a way to interact with the team and become part of the experience means more tickets sold, more refreshments consumed, and more merchandise flying off the shelves.

The success of a sports franchise greatly depends on its ability to connect with fans.  Social media has provided the tools, and its up to commissioners and owners to put them to good use.