In a previous blog, we discussed the natural integration of sports and social media. Another rudimentary application of social media is the creation of an athlete’s brand. Marketable athletes can be great candidates for social media interaction. Sports fans have different levels of affinity. The first is to a sport, the second, to a specific team and the third is to the individual athlete. Athletes play a critical role in affecting all of these affinities.
Fans love athletes they can relate too. Look at Lebron James. Although widely accepted as an incredible athlete, before putting on an NBA jersey he single handedly transformed the face of the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise, increasing ticket sales and sponsorships. WHY? A Cleveland native with a large following, Lebron was one of their own and coincidentally highly marketable.
Social Media provides a scalable medium to allow athletes to be more accessible which in turn increases the affinity for the athlete and in turn that particular team. Creating a relatable image whereby athletes are considered regular people off the field pays significant dividends.
Some athletes are ahead of the curve but they are barely skimming the surface of what can be done as it relates to engagement and interaction using social media. A few that come to mind include:
• Chris Bosh, Toronto Raptors forward, successfully utilized a self-made YouTube spoof to gain fan votes for the All-Star game.
• Tracy McGrady, Houston Rockets, allow fans to download photos and ring tones from his website
• Jimmy Conrad, perennial MLS All-Star, blogs on ESPN.com and AthletixNation.com while working with AthletixNation to perform more engagement task to build his brand.
• Terrell “sniffle sniffle that’s my quarterback” Owens, Dallas Cowboys utilizes a cutting edge (semi social media) website to promote his name and brand.
Deliberately building an athlete’s brand is better for everyone involved. Fans receive the interaction and engagement they want and love, the team rewards the athlete in compensation because they can recoup their investment by selling more tickets and merchandise, the athlete makes more money and increases the probability of sponsorship opportunities, agents make more money (like they need it ) and the league is able to expand and reach more fans. Hopefully in the near future we will see more Athletes working with their teams, to create an invaluable social media experience
All in all it boils down to a simple equation:
Marketable Athlete + Social Media = Increased athlete affinity, increased sales, increased engagement and increased revenue
Davyeon Ross is the President and CEO of AthletixNation INC, a social networking and technology company for sports entities. To learn more, visit www.axninc.com