In the past week, social media in the sports world took a step closer to realtime player posting as Major League baseball allowed, for the first time, use of Facebook and Twitter by All Stars after they had left the game. The move is particularly significant as the All Star Game is much more than just a fan enthusiast exhibition. The game’s end result plays a role in home field advantage for the victors in the playoffs.
Over 800,000 comments on the two most popular social media platforms entailed a 257% increase in traffic from last year. By the end of the first inning, in fact, there were more comments than total comments in 2011. MLB reported nearly a dozen player participants, who used both a special media room as well as their personal accounts. Also of note: Fox-TV enjoyed a 3% increase in viewers – the first jump in four years.
It’s a smart move by professional baseball – provide existing and potential fans with access to content they can’t get anywhere else, via favored communication platforms. And you can bet others will take note, perhaps with the NFL, NBA and/or NHL relaxing their policies to the point where pre-season or exhibition games are no longer off-limits. What better way to build next-generation followers?
I’m fine with it as long as our Blackberrys and iPhones don’t take us too far afield of what is actually taking place on it. Based on the many I see at games looking down to their devises rather than out toward the action, it seems that all too often we are not getting caught up in the moment but, rather, missing it entirely.