For sports fans in the digital age, one screen just isn’t enough.
As the ever-evolving phenomenon known as “social TV” continues to explode, progressive teams, leagues, networks and sponsors are leveraging the use of fans’ second, third and fourth screens to enhance the viewing experience and make it more interactive for all parties.
The audience certainly seems ripe for interaction. According to recent Nielsen research, 88 percent of U.S. tablet owners and 86 percent of U.S. smartphone owners said they used their device at least once while watching TV during a 30-day period, with looking up show-related information coming in as the second-most popular activity behind checking email.
With so many fans actively seeking a multi-screen sports viewing experience, the benefits for teams, leagues, networks and sponsors that engage fans beyond their TV during a broadcast are numerous. Here are a few:
Increase Viewer Retention
Interacting with viewers during a broadcast incentivizes them to stay tuned. Fans wanting to see their tweet read on the air, discover the answer to a trivia question posed on an in-game mobile application or engage with other fans and team execs via an in-game live chat on their laptop will stay tuned-in so they don’t miss anything which affects their second, third or fourth screen experience.
Extend Brand and Sponsor Messaging
There’s only so much time in the TV broadcast to squeeze in ticket promotions, activate sponsorships, showcase merchandise and promote upcoming events and initiatives. Extending the broadcast experience through social channels gives brands numerous additional platforms on which to promote important information to an engaged audience.
Enhance the Broadcast through Real-Time Monitoring and Dialogue
Savvy in-game announcers, sideline reporters and studio personalities are monitoring social media channels throughout their broadcasts to get a pulse of the real-time social media conversation happening around the game, referring to specific posts and addressing the conversation during the game. Those who do it well are gaining a loyal viewership that appreciates a real-time two-way dialogue versus a one-way scripted broadcast.
Attract New Viewers Who Want to See What All the Buzz is About
Teams, leagues and networks that plan in advance and socialize their broadcasts by leveraging the social footprint of announcers, studio personalities, athletes and celebrities plus use dedicated hashtags, have presence on Get Glue and find other creative ways to boost the conversation often see their events dominate the trending topics list. The natural reaction of many people who see a certain trend occupying their feed is to switch over to see what all the buzz is about, giving ratings an added boost.
Those are just a few of the many benefits to engaging with fans through social media during a live sports broadcast. Of all the great things teams, leagues, networks and sponsors are doing in the social TV space, here are some that stand out:
- The WWE made Wrestlemania one of the most social sports events of the year
- The Phoenix Suns and Fox Sports each hired a designated social media sideline reporter
- Fan tweets were a major factor in determining this year’s NBA Slam Dunk Contest
- NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski tweeted live from his car during the Daytona 500 broadcast, sending the Twittersphere into a frenzy
- ESPN’s SportsCenter asks for and regularly showcases viewer tweets during the show and takes social media feedback into consideration for its Top Plays segment
The opportunities for sports in social TV are seemingly endless. It will be exciting to see where things go from here.
Image credit: brmurray
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