Thursday, July 20, 2006

Sport teams and the Internet....

Most of the people who read this blog are ten times more technologically savvy than I am. It will be interesting to see if I am correct with the following ideas.

It is amazing that some professional sports teams do not spend more time marketing their product to the online community. How hard can it be? You hire some kid just out of college to handle all your online activities – with the help of someone from the PR department. You pay the kid peanuts and free tickets to watch the team. It's a win/win situation.

Q&A Events

It is great to see some teams have finally grasped the importance of holding online Q&A sessions with fans. The Bruins, Celtics and Sox each do this regularly throughout the year. I doubt the Patriots will do this sort of thing, unless it is with its season ticket holders. They have 50,000 people waiting to buy season tickets. They don't need any more coverage.

Teams should conduct at least three Q&A sessions during the year -- once during spring training, once during the season and once during the off season. Ideally, they should have a couple of more sessions if they are trying to generate fan interest. While most executives are willing to participate in these types of events, the teams should also have one or two athletes answering questions as well. These events are extremely easy. The team gets to choose the questions they want to answer and the PR person is the one really answering the questions. You will also make a person's day by answering their specific question during the online session.


I do not understand why teams do not create blogs on their team Web sites. This is one of the easiest ways to connect with their fans. Teams should create blogs for the following reasons:

* To discuss issues affecting the team and to ensure the right message is presented to the public. A team is always in a better position if they cut out the middleman (media). A team can discuss anything from an injury or the reasons why they made a certain trade.

* Sell unused tickets before a game. This would be a great place to post information about discounts on tickets if they team is trying to sell out a game. The team can create a link where people who read the blog can purchase tickets. This would also encourage fans to view the blog on a daily basis.

* The blog might be a place for the team to discuss upcoming events with its sponsors or charity events in general. Fans want to be informed about these types of activities.

It's important to note that 90 percent of the time, a senior executive does not write his blog. I know, you are shocked. Sun Microsystems' Jonathan Schwartz created a blog over two years ago. He does write some of his blogs, but most of the time they are written by one of my former managers who now works at Sun. It is really easy for a PR person to write blogs as long as the blogs don't have a PR tone to them.


I don't know how long Myspace will stay on as the top site for online social networking, but teams MUST develop pages on this site. Myspace is the ideal place for teams to connect with people under 25 years old. A team needs to spend significant time cultivating new relationships with youth. Most of today’s youth finds most of its information and new interests online. Teams can offer youth discounts to games or to be a part of the fan club or to plan events just for them.

I don't know if any teams are already on Myspace, but they should all be on these types of sites moving forward.

Online Video

Teams will never be able to post video on YourTube since it does not accept copywritten material. Teams do need to consider posting the video from the press conferences after the games onto their sites. Posting this information online should be extremely easy and it would offer fans with additional opportunities to view their heroes.

Teams need to find new marketing avenues to connect with their core and new audiences. One hopes in the next year the teams place more emphasis on Internet marketing.


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