Monday, March 26, 2012

How NCAA Final Four Teams Rank on Social Media

The Final Four was official as of yesterday and the schools that are left in the NCAA Tournament are Ohio State University, University of Kentucky, University of Kansas, and University of Louisville. 

Below is a brief look into how these schools announced the great news to fans, how they influence the social media world via Klout, and their use of Twitter during this exciting time.


Ohio State University – Klout score of 60, influential about Ohio State, OSU, and Basketball
University of Kentucky – Klout score of 57, influential about University of Kentucky, Basketball, and College
University of Kansas – Klout score of 56, influential about Education, Jayhawks, and Basketball
University of Louisville – Klout score of 43, influential about Basketball, Louisville, and Portland
Notice anything?  Every Final Four school is influential about basketball, as they should be after making it this far.

Influence on Klout can come from a variety of sources if that team has decided to add more than just Twitter.  All Klout accounts access Twitter but some schools choose to add Facebook pages, Google+ profiles, and so on and so forth.  For the Klout scores that are listed above, the Twitter pages used were the Twitter accounts for the entire school, not just athletics.  For this post I have decided to take a look at the school’s athletics Twitter profiles, therefore these Twitter accounts have little effect on the Klout scores seen above.


Ohio State University (@Buckeye_Nation) –
        Following – 8,014
        Followers – 45,724
        Tweets about the Final Four so far – 11
University of Kentucky (@UKAthleticsNews)
        Following – 296
        Followers – 39,871
        Tweets about the Final Four so far – 11 

University of Kansas (@KUAthletics) –
        Following – 6,857
        Followers – 33,721
        Tweets about the Final Four so far – 12
University of Louisville (@UofLsports)
        Following – 50
        Followers – 13,200
        Tweets about the Final Four so far – 5
Who Will Win?

According to the bracket predictions are as follows.  43.2% have Kentucky winning, 5.4% have Kansas, 4.3% have Ohio State, and a mere .49% of people have Louisville walking away with the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball title.

Teams who have blue as a color have won 74% of the national championships since 1985 and with two of the four teams in the Final Four having blue as a primary team color, we may see this statistic prove true for 2012.  

With that said, best of luck to everyone whose bracket still stands a chance!  As for me, I'll sit back and watch!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Coaches vs. Cancer has met March Madness

The American Cancer Society delved into March Madness, much like everyone else, with Coaches vs. Cancer.  Coaches vs. Cancer is a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).  They allow basketball coaches, teams, and communities to make a difference in the fight against cancer.  Before March Madness, Coaches vs. Cancer has raised nearly $80 million since its 1993 inception to support the American Cancer Society.

The $80 million benchmark is closer than ever before due to Coaches vs. Cancer being named the benefiting charity of the CBS Sports Round by Round Bracket Challenge for this year's March Madness.

Schedule of when to have a bracket submitted for each round.
This began on March 12th so you may be thinking I am too late in telling you.  Fact of the matter is that this is a round-by-round challenge so there is not just one large bracket for the whole tournament but rather a bracket for each round of the tournament (sounds nice, right?!).  This means you still have four chances to help raise money for cancer research along with other funding for cancer related programs.  Not to mention, for each round you participate you are entered to win a trip for two to the 2013 NCAA Men’s Final Four in Atlanta.

For each correct pick by every fan, Infiniti will make a donation to Coaches vs. Cancer, guaranteeing a minimum of $100,000 and up to $700,000.  Also, for every voter’s correct pick, Infiniti will be promoting the Coaches vs. Cancer program on the Round by Round bracket homepage.  Several coaches who have always supported the mission of Coaches vs. Cancer have made short videos discussing their reasons for joining the fight against cancer and their connection to the program.  These will be shared, too.

“The challenge captures the commitment and competitive nature of the coaches.  When it comes to fighting cancer, these guys just don’t want to lose,” says Donald Distasio, executive vice president of the American Cancer Society and Eastern Division operating officer.  “For fans, it’s a good feeling when your team wins, and it’s going to feel even better to know they raised dollars that make a difference in the fight against cancer.”

Social media is playing a role in this challenge as well.  Fans are reminded to make their new picks before each round of the bracket through the Infiniti Twitter handle @InfinitiNews and Facebook at  Coaches vs. Cancer’s Twitter handle @CoachesvCancer is also keeping fans in the loop.

So what are you waiting for?  Go make a difference in the fight against cancer and make your round-by-round bracket right now by clicking here!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Facebook Interest Lists Helping Sports

Facebook has made yet another development in their new layout.  Along with the Timeline, now you can have Interest Lists.  This feature lets users subscribe to user-generated lists on what matters to them.  These will be similar to Twitter lists in the fact that they are all created and updated by users; similar to Pinterest boards in the fact that all content is shareable; and similar to Google+ Circles with the idea of having groups to share and get information.  Facebook is trying to become the single online destination for every interest imaginable.

When searching for a list on Facebook you will be able to see who created it, the people and pages in it, and the most recent posts.  You can also subscribe to the list and share it with others via your Facebook profile.

As some have said, the list feature will turn your Facebook into a personalized newspaper.  So what does this have to do with sports?  Everything.  Wouldn’t you love to receive a whole newspaper at your doorstep every morning that just had to do with the teams and athletes that you care to hear about?  Well, Facebook could be doing just that.  For example, under the Sports list you can add the public Facebook pages of all of your favorite teams, athletes, reporters, publications, and networks.  Facebook users can choose between broad lists (example: Sports), more specific lists (example: NBA), or make their own lists (example: My Favorite Olympians).

So how will sports take advantage of this?  These pages will combine the team page with fan pages to make one feed that is solely talking about that one athlete, one team, or one league.  Instead of having to Google how many points Jeremy Lin had in a game, fans can simply go to the NY Knicks or NBA interest list and it will be right there, including reactions from multiples fans and other sources.

This is great for teams because they will be reaching their fans in a new way.  Their fans are the people that are actually interested in the information and opinions of others.  For example, an avid MLB fan that does not enjoy the NFL can simply join the MLB list and not the NFL list and then the information delivered will be specific to them.  The MLB Teams interest list would include favorite athletes’ profiles, ESPN, and other MLB related sources.

Facebook Newsfeed is like a personal inbox that users often skim over and emails from sports teams are often overlooked.  However, when fans have taken the time to subscribe to the NFL List, for example, they will be more open to see advertising based on the content that they are reading.  Users will hopefully be spending a good amount of time looking at their lists because they chose to join them.  This means that teams, leagues, etc. need to take advantage and draw people in through these interest lists.  Teams can have links to sell tickets, gear, or anything having to do with what is being talked about by members of the list because they are likely to take action.  The bottom line is that teams need to make fans go to the list, enjoy the content, click on the team to go to a homepage, and then convert them from “fans” to true fans.

*This post may also be found on The Field blog

Monday, March 5, 2012

Twitter-Mania: Jerseys, Courts, Fields, and More!

With more and more athletes, coaches, mascots, and even stadiums getting Twitter it is only a matter of time before twitter handles and hashtags show up on programs, scoreboards, jerseys, stadiums, courts, and even buzzed into people's hairstyles.

On February 12th, the Philadelphia Wings lacrosse team decided to put their twitter handles on the back of jerseys for a game.  This marked the first time in American sports history (a Mexican soccer team did it in November of 2011) that a team had integrated social media onto the field.  All players were asked to create Twitter accounts about a month prior to the game and then they were all given professional guidance on how to manage a Twitter account and keep it family friendly.  If you think about many athletes in the NBA, NFL, MLB, and other professional sports, you would think that some of them need training, too.

After the game the jerseys were auctioned off to the public and proceeds were given to the American Cancer Society.  As a very involved American Cancer Society volunteer and a member of the Midwest Youth Advisory Team for the American Cancer Society, I could not be happier with this move.  It was more than a move to create social media buzz, it was a move to give back – it is very important for athletics to incorporate social responsibility.
I believe that it would have been a whole new situation if the Twitter handle jerseys were a permanent move, but do you think that this could eventually happen with the emergence of social media?

I think it may take a while and may not be for all sports.  For lacrosse, the small size and popularity of the sport allowed them to take advantage of this, but I don’t think we will see this anytime too soon with the NFL for example.  The National Lacrosse League (NLL) does not have too much if you look at past traditions so therefore incorporating something new like these Twitter handle jerseys was a good fit.  With the popularity and past tradition of the NFL, I don’t see jerseys like this happening too soon.

When it comes to college football however, it may be something different than a Twitter style jersey.  For example, take a look at the football endzone hashtag that Mississippi State had back in November for their big rivalry game.  The team painted #HAILSTATE in their endzone, which is their school’s traditional rally chant and fight song.  According to Mississippi State’s athletic director, Scott Stricklin, the original plan was to simply paint “Hail State” in the endzone.  It was when someone suggested using a hashtag that “there was [a] moment in the room, like, 'Ohhh, that’d be different, no one’s done that before.'”

It may not be too long before Twitter truly becomes the universal platform for engagement with sports, especially with March Madness approaching and the Olympic Games not too far off.

So what are some other things going on?
  • Kobe Bryant’s facemask has a Twitter handle: @KobeMask.  The first tweet?  “Lots of stars @ Staples tonight. I’m a little shy.”  It also has tweeted things like: “Thank you @DwayneWade for finally allowing me to have my big break!” and “Wow! I might die from a heat stroke.”
  • The Boston Celtics were said to be the first pro sports team to advertise Twitter on their home playing field by putting @celtics on the court.
  • Twitter’s mascot “Larry the Bird” is named after the Celtics legend Larry Bird, said Twitter founder Biz Stone. 
  • Georgia Tech’s maintenance crew painted @gtathletics on their sideline during football season.
  • In the PGA, golfers sponsored by TaylorMade wore hates that had #driverlove embroidered on the left side.

One in four people have a smartphone so wouldn’t it be crazy to not take advantage if you were a sports team?