Category: Social Media

NFL Introduces Stadium WiFi Policy – Should Australian Leagues Follow Suit?

Watching AFL football on a phone or iphone.There’s nothing worse than being at a football game and not being able to text your friends, check social media sites or even browse other scores. Well that’s about to change in the US.

The NFL has recently introduced a policy that will see an end to bad signals and lost connections once and for all. By the end of 2014 all NFL stadiums must meet minimum requirements for WiFi and cellular coverage. Just what the ‘minimum requirements’ actually are is still in question, but many believe that it would be along the lines of the level of coverage a fan would receive at their home. At the moment 20 of the 31 stadiums have WiFi.

NFL’s Chief Information Officer Michelle McKenna-Doyle has this to say on the matter:

“We put minimum standards and metrics in place so not only do clubs know how our Wi-Fi is performing and to hold carriers accountable, but also [sic] analytics for what our fans are doing, which leads us to more marketing,”

Obviously those involved in the NFL have an idea of the importance of coverage at stadiums. With some teams seeing their attendances down it is wise to look at enhancing the fan’s experience.

This leads me to Australian stadiums. It is no secret that nearly every venue is severely lacking when it comes to coverage. At Etihad Stadium, it is virtually impossible to connect to data once a game as started, as the coverage cannot cope with a crowd beyond 20,000 people. When these stadiums were built, mobile internet, let alone WiFi wasn’t invented yet. Racecourses are the first ones to come to party, with all 3 metropolitan tracks now having free on-course WiFi. The cellular coverage is suspect on big race days, but nevertheless they are ahead of the curve.

The implementation of a WiFi network to these stadiums is costly, potentially running over a million dollars. However, the upside is there. A fan’s ability to use social media from inside the stadium would create more conversation about the team. Not only would the fan’s experience be enhanced, but the benefit would flow to the teams. With the ever increasing advancement of the at-home experience, fans are deciding to choose this option over seeing the game live. They can stay connected to the world. In some stadiums, attendees have a blackout from coverage the entire game. At many games, fans are encouraged to check in and follow the conversation on Twitter. This is virtually impossible in Australia as the coverage is so poor, leaving only those experiencing the game on TV, sans live atmosphere, the only people connecting.

While the NFL won’t have an official punishment for breaching the policy, McKenna-Doyle stated that the consequences will run greater than a fine that they could impose. “If they don’t do this, there will be poor-performing ticket sales. They will suffer enough consequences not doing it.”

Never Be Dormant! How To Network In Sports Business

networksNetworking can be tough. It can be daunting, intimidating and seem like an impossible task. But this isn’t a business for the fainthearted. Opportunities aren’t just going to fall on your lap without hard work.

As someone who is still trying to gain employment in this field, networking is paramount. If someone knows of your skills and capabilities, they may consider you for a position in their company, or know someone who is looking for a candidate like you.. However, it’s not just about making a connection with someone. It’s about maintaining the dialogue and engagement with your network, using your network to your advantage.

Firstly, social media is your best friend. You’ve probably discovered this article through either Twitter or Linkedin. That’s a great start. Ensure with Twitter and Linkedin that your profile is up to date, free of any errors.

Next, start using these tools everyday. Don’t just follow people in the industry, engage in conversation. I am always talking with other people in sports business about stories, ideas etc. It’s a great way to show people (and perspective employers) that you know what you’re talking about. Joining groups that you are interested in on Linkedin can be rewarding too.

There are an abundance of twitter chats that will enable you to converse with other sports business industry folks and make connections.

The following are weekly chats great for networking:

Sports Business Chat: #sbchat

Sports Pr Chat: #sportsprchat

Social Media in Sports: #smsportschat

Sports Jobs Chat: #sjchat

On the subject of Twitter hashtags, my favorite one is #sportsbiz. Do a search of this and you will find many like-minded people who love to discuss sports business.

Attending sports business events is another great way to build your network. There may be industry nights, career fairs or symposiums in your area that you can attend. Any connection you make at an event like these make sure to follow up with dialogue shortly after, even it’s its just a ‘Great to meet you” message.

The bottom line is to follow the rule of ABN: Always Be Networking. Make sure your network isn’t dormant, it should always be working. At the end of the day, it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.

Follow me on Twitter here, or connect with me on Linkedin here.

When A Twitter Chat Can Go Wrong: #AskHarry

v65oai7fxn47qv9nectxIt was suppose to be a way for fans to connect with the manager of their football club. A simple engagement where people could ask questions to QPR manager Harry Redknapp by using the #AskHarry hashtag.

What transpired what not what the social media team at QPR would have envisioned.

The hashtag became the number one trending topic worldwide, but for all the wrong reasons. People jumped on the hashtag and unloaded with barrage of jokes and abuse, with topics which the chat was clearly not designed to address. Questions regarding his alleged tax evasion, mismanagement of funds at Portsmouth and even the legitimacy of his fatherhood to son Jamie were propelled in his direction.

Some of the follwing were the most retweeted tweets:

As you can see, no topic was off-limits, and these were some of the more tame ones. I’m not too sure what QPR can do to remedy a situation like this, and to be honest the hashtag will probably get a workout for the next 48 hours at least. If anything, QPR could just run the course of their usual business on social media and ignore the tweets they deem inappropriate.

Why Do People Connect With Sports Agencies On Social Media?

v65oai7fxn47qv9nectxIMG Worldwide has 15,500 followers on Twitter, while Elite Sports Properties is approaching 2500. Stride has 715 likes on Facebook; Velocity Sports has 263.

What are the reasons someone would follow an agency on Social Media? They are not in the same category as many other companies such as Coca-Cola or Nike, where there is an element of brand loyalty attached. Not only that, these companies usually offer an incentive to follow them by offering competitions and discounts, something rare or near impossible with a sports agency.

To understand why people connect with these agencies on social media, firstly we need to look at what they publish on these platforms. Looking at an example of a few agencies’ previous tweets, we can break them down into three categories:

    • Tweets or retweets about a players’ performance.
  • Tweets or retweets involving a company/team associated with a player they manage.
  • Tweets or retweets involving a player signing a new contract/endorsement.

Someone wouldn’t follow an agency for the purposes of staying informed about a player they manage. It would a rare occurrence for an individual to have all their favorite athletes represented by one agency, so that reason can be ruled out; It is more likely they follow the athletes themselves. Agencies don’t always publish results of their clients, so it would be more likely a person connects with a results service for this information.

Next we need to establish who connects with agencies on social media. Using a sample of  several companies on twitter, it can be deduced that the majority of their followers are:

  • Sports management students
  • People involved in the sports business industry
  • Companies and teams connected to the agency or the clients
  • Media personnel
  • Athletes

Based on all the information presented above, the reasons why people connect are as follows:

1. Students connect in the hope of working for an agency, and hope to obtain a better understanding of the business. However, a lot of agencies hold their information close to their chest.

2. Sports business professionals connect for networking purposes, whether it be to further their own business or their employment prospects.

3. Companies and teams connect with agencies to stay informed on the clients they are associated with.

4. The media connect for all the latest information on clients, and to develop a relationship with the agency to obtain greater access to their athletes.

5. Athletes connect as they obviously have a vested interest. Athletes’ families and friends also do for these reasons.

Although there are general sports fans who follow the agencies, it is rare. As previously mentioned, they can get their information from other outlets, such as ESPN and Fox Sports.