Sports Media has confronted social issues in the past few years. Athletes are constantly taking on roles in the social networking world and feeding fans with information in seconds. The issue is that sports media is being watered down and traditional journalists are competing against social media outlets (Facebook, twitter, etc.) to present news. Social media has bolstered sports and created brand powering with teams.
The following is a list of the ten most popular sports entities globally in the media: 1. FC Barcelona 2. NBA 3. Real Madrid 4. Manchester United 5. ESPN 6. Lakers 7. Chelsea 8. AC Milan 9. Arsenal 10. WWE (courtesy of http://www.sportsfangraph.com). These teams and professional sports leagues have become popular in the media for their marketing appeal. FC Barcelona has gained 8.5 million twitter followers and 41,609,365 Facebook fans.
(courtesy of: sportsfangraph.com)
FC Barcelona has used their media power to promote their sponsors (e.g.Unicef, Qatar Foundation, etc.) and gain fans internationally. Players like Lionel Messi have become global superstars thanks to networking on sites like Facebook and twitter. The message is spread in different languages and forms to all present the same idea… “Support our team.”
What fans most enjoy is the personal feel of social networking and media with sports they feel like they are on the same playing field with athletes and their opinions can be heard through social media tools. Fans love seeing athletes post pictures to twitter of their everyday excursions
(courtesy of Johnny Manziel twitter)
Athletes seem more “real” through the use of social media outlets and sites. They show a side that fans can appreciate and relate with.
However, there is a downside to Social Media and it’s relationship with sports. Athletes reveal news and the surprise factor seems non-existent. Houston Texans running back Arian Foster was scolded for tweeting photos of his MRI. Some team officials fear that team policies and secrets will be revealed on social networking sites. Brooklyn Nets point guard Derron Williams infamously broke the news of his contract via twitter.
The pressure to provide more to fans and the masses has been magnified thanks to social media. Many of the sports stories are watered down and it is hard to filter online news/speculations. Journalism has been under fire for its validity and honesty, mostly due to the influx of false news appearing on social sites.
Athletes have been under fire for misusing social media and abusing it. Former Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson tweeted about his discontent for their coach and was released for doing so. Free Agent wide receiver Chad Johnson was fined for tweeting during an NFL preseason game. Running back Rashard Mendenhall was criticized for his controversial 9/11 tweets.
The issues of social media are not limited to professional athletes. Even collegiate and high school athletes have been affected by social networking. Former high school football player Yuri Wright faced scrutiny for a twitter issue. The Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, NJ) cornerback tweeted provocative and derogatory tweets during his senior year. Wright was expelled from Don Bosco Prep and lost scholarships from Notre Dame, Rutgers, and Michigan. Wright currently plays at Colorado, but lost out on an opportunity to play at a national powerhouse program due to the misuse of social networking.
(courtesy of beermugsports.com)
A positive aspect is the ability for coaches to scout out players through sites like YouTube. Athletes can upload their high light tapes and add commentary/music for a modern appeal. Certain highlight tapes gain followers and are spread across media networking sites, helping boost a player’s chance of getting recruited.
Social Media has become a crucial part of sports. Over 80% of people monitor social media while watching sports at home… nearly 60% monitor social media at live sports games. Doing so creates social media “outbursts”. For instance, Tim Tebow threw a touchdown pass to beat the Steelers in the playoffs…he broke a record for tweets gaining 9,000 a second pertaining the incident. Current Houston Rockets Point Guard Jeremy Lin gained 550,000 twitter followers during the “Linsanity” craze.
The issues of social media and sports are diverse and plentiful. There are positive aspects of social media and there are sides that seem detrimental to professional athletics. A balance seems necessary; however obtaining such equilibrium is not easy.
- “How Social Media Has Changed The Sports World.” Social Media Coach For Athletes RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Mar. 2013.
- MarketShare. “The Lines Between Social Media And Sports Continue To Blur.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 13 Feb. 2012. Web. 21 Mar. 2013.
“Socialympics: How Social Media and Blogging Has Boosted Sports Media.” Convince and Convert Social Media Strategy and Content Marketing Strategy