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The Evolution of Watching Sports With Social Media – and What It Can Mean for Your Business

sports barMost adults can relate to the experience of watching a sporting event at a sports bar. During the game, most eyes are trained on the televisions in the bar along with the sounds of occasional banter, cheers, and boos. Emotions can range from utter jubilation to bitter disappointment.

While sports bars provide all of this (as well as adult refreshments), social media is quickly becoming the new go-to place to share the common experience of a sporting event. Due to varying reasons like better technology, high definition television, and 24/7 sports coverage, our use of social media is revolutionizing the sports viewing concept.

As social media sites like Twitter, Facebook  and Instagram grow and their reach expands, users will continue to be more interactive with other users and followers. This is especially true with sporting events. In addition to enjoying the game with the company of friends and bargoers, you can also instantly be connected to thousands, if not millions, of others who are watching the game and reacting just like you are.

The fact is, social media is the hub for all of the information you can possibly imagine for a sporting event. For example, I was recently watching my alma mater Saint Joseph’s University take on the University of Connecticut in the NCAA Tournament. Even though my focus was on watching the game, I was still using Twitter and Facebook to engage with fellow users, find stats and information from the beat writers covering the game, and laugh at the witty jokes made by fellow users about something curious or interesting that I may have seen or missed during the game.

Twitter is the best source of interaction for a sporting event out of all of the social media options. Instant reaction and analysis, live tweeting scores and updates, fan emotions, trash talking and more are all on display during a major sports event on Twitter.

Businesses Should be Active on Social Media During Sports Events, Too

basketballEven though we’ll always continue to go to sports bars, sports leagues and teams are further adapting to this large shift to the social realm. Teams are employing new strategies to make games more social media friendly, like team-specific hashtags, sharing behind the scenes information, in-game Vines and pictures, and more. Social media is making it easier than ever to not only follow your team through the course of the year but also much easier during the course of a game.

For outside businesses and advertisers, engaging with users and followers during sporting events can really pay off with an increase in brand exposure. In the past, traditional ads like commercials or broadcaster voiceovers were the only ways marketers could reach viewers. Now, targeting specific sports events on Twitter or Facebook can grow your reach as well as hit the major demographic categories. Being involved with sporting events can also show a human side of your business as well as a “common man” feeling with users/customers.

Businesses can also gain a lot of brand exposure with a well-timed or clever response, like Oreo did during the Super Bowl XLVII blackout. While every business won’t hit a home run like Oreo did, businesses should still keep an eye on what’s going on and find the right (and natural) opportunity to tweet or get your brand in the conversation during major sporting events.

Social media sites, as well as sports, are only growing in power, legitimacy, and reach while continuing to evolve. Businesses that don’t evolve with it will go the way of leather helmets and peach baskets.

John Feeley

John Feeley is a project manager at PCG Digital Marketing. When outside of the office, you can find him rooting for the Mets, Jets, and New York Rangers. He also loves music, ranging from Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam to Phish and blink-182.

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