Soccer and Social, Citizen Journalism and QPR on Twitter

October 24, 2014

Social and Soccer: The Indian Super League

There is another major drive to use social media to keep fans interested and, as importantly, to bring new ones to watch and take part.

The Indian Super League now has private funding and a boost of foreign players to help promote soccer in the country. And the other big new signing is social media.

Having seen the part social has played in Major League Soccer in the US, and just how influential the medium can be when it was used to great effect by organizers, sponsors and team during the World Cup in Brazil, the Indian authorities are hoping some of that will rub off on the new season.

With good reason, the channel of choice is Twitter. And, as well as starting the #LetsFootball hashtag campaign, the league wants supports to tweet support for their team during games using the tag to create social media ‘team battles’ throughout each match.

Things will be helped by the influx of foreign stars such as Alessandro Del Piero, Robert Pires and David James – although their popularity may eclipse that of their team – one example cited claims there was 3,435 tweets around ‘Alessandro Del Piero’ but only 2,825 around his team ‘#DelhiDynamos’ in the 24 hours leading up to their opening match.

But, like Formula E and football in the US, the ISL is embracing social media. And its tactics will encourage the conversation goes on way after the final whistle.

The Modern Fanzine: Pundit Arena

The citizen journalism which now pervades our news and sports channels arguably started out with club fanzines and then blogs.

But an Irish start-up is taking things even further by launching a sports website where all the content is contributed by fans – but the big difference and the clever part is that they are paid for their copy.

Pundit Arena offers commentary on 17 sports, with articles written by 200 pundits or contributors as well as a team of four staff writers. Its main topic is football with rugby and boxing next in line in terms of popularity.

The company came into being in October 2013 when its co-founders Mr Barrett and Ross O’Dwyer met while participating in the Ignite Accelerator programme.

Since then using SEO, social media and targeted advertising the site has grown – in no small part to the subject matter and contributors who must be articulate, passionate and legal and get paid once their contribution get 5,000 hits.

So, is this the future of online sports journalism or will the model be difficult to repeat?

Public Spat: QPR and Twitter

Queens Park Rangers found themselves in the media for the wrong reasons this week.
As well as defender Rio Ferdinard being charged with misconduct by the FA for comments he recently made on social media, the club’s owner Tony Fernandes took to the same social channel to back manager Harry Redknapp’s comments saying professional players must be fit.

Interestingly Fernades’ tweet was deleted and this week he issued a statement on the club website regretting that the issue had been played out in public, saying he was disappointed in the two parties involved and confirmed the issue was being dealt with internally.

Once again social media is giving players and owners access to the public, but without that PR filter. Let’s hope they’ve learned a lesson…

Drones, Formula One's Social Scene and Mike Scott's Tattoos 

October 24, 2014

Drone Invasion: The 21st Century Pitch Invasion

We were going to feature here a piece about the use of drone cameras in sport. How the spectacle had been vastly enhanced by the use of remote-controlled digital cameras, and how they were improving the vantage point of everyone who was following either golf or other sports such as winter events, skiing and snowboarding.

But then this week, the whole drone scene changed with the football game in Serbia. The images of the pitch battles after a flag-bearing drone entered the stadium. We’ll leave the political commentary and write-up to those with more insight, but suffice it to say it’s not a use of technology which can be condoned and one wonders where it will lead to. Drone cameras are cheap, and while this kind of digital gadget is a boon for fans when used correctly, let’s hope it’s not the start of pitch invasions 21st century style.

Social Media in F1: Getting Behind the Scenes

Formula One thrives on good conflict. Whether it be on the track between drivers, in the Paddock between teams or in the factories between engine manufacturers, there’s nothing like a difference of opinion and a bit of rivalry. The latest one is over the use of social media in the sport. Whereas Bernie Ecclestone, the sports’ head and the man who decides where races are held and who gets to see them believes nothing should be given away for free, deputy team principal Claire Williams believes that to ensure the sport’s continued popularity more social media should be employed.

The example she used at a recent conference was that more life-behind-the-cameras content should be available. It’s not difficult to see how these two polar opposites of opinion come to pass. In very simple terms, for Ecclestone, the more people who have to pay to see the better, for Williams, the bigger the audience and the happier the sponsors. And, with respect to Williams, F1 has been doing social for some years now.

All that behind the scenes content has been made available by Red Bull Racing with its F1 Spy and McLaren’s Fifth Driver since 2009. But it is always tempered by the strict regulations heavily enforced by Formula One Management and the simple fact that F1, as it’s as much about the race in terms of technical innovation as cars on a track thrives on secrecy - a picture of a motorhome in the Paddock hardly constitutes great behind the scenes content.

Fans want a lot more, but teams and Ecclestone would never allow it. Social is all about giving content away for free and that’s not going to happen in F1’s current state. A state of conflict. F1’s default state.

Making A Mark: Tattoos’ Text Appeal

Emojis are a curious thing. The childlike cartoon symbols used in texts, social posts are either considered the lowest form of communication or a great shortcut to letting people know you’re being sarcastic. They divide opinion like little else.

But for one NBA player they have become a brand trait. Albeit a permanent one tattooed over his whole body. For Atlanta Hawks star Mike Scott has decided to make his mark on the game by getting himself covered in angry faces, mean faces, pairs of dancing girls, and more smiley and not so smiley faces – it’s all because Scott uses emojis a lot when I text and has done for some time. He claims he started the trend. It’s one way to stand out in sport, and demonstrate an understanding of the language of the digital age. But it’s not going to look cool when he’s 64. And yes, he’s having more done.