Social Media Blogger/Online Citizen Journalist hybrid. LA born. DC made.
Major League Baseball celebrated its 83rd Midsummer Classic on Tuesday. The National League dominated the American League, effectively shutting them out 8-0. Besides the National League’s stellar performance, one other significant and very noticeable factor was the MLB’s effort to enhance the game experience of baseball fans through social media channels.
Matt Kemp, center fielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, made Twitter history by becoming the first MLB player to send an in-game tweet.
— Matt Kemp (@TheRealMattKemp) July 11, 2012
The public relations arm of Major League Baseball also made it a point to note this in their own Twitter feed soon after Mr. Kemp sent out the tweet.
— MLB Public Relations (@MLB_PR) July 11, 2012
Social media efforts to engage fans didn’t end at that point. Besides establishing hashtags for the game (#ASG) and making those hashtags visible to the television audience (by placing them on the billboard behind home plate), the MLB took it a step further by setting up laptops near the field for celebrity personalities to use at various times during All-Star festivities.
The league also made it a point to connect baseball fans with their favorite players by setting up Twitter lounges for players to chill in and tweet from after playing an allotted number of innings in the game. The MLB FanCave, a direct-media experience aimed at immersing baseball fans in games throughout the long season, even had a whole Facebook album devoted to professional players tweeting on computers.
Sports and “new” media appear to be emerging as one of the best combos. Given that passionate fans go online to be activists for their teams, it seems as if its perfect marriage. As social platforms continue to evolve and add more features, be on the lookout for sports organizations to find even more effective ways to engage fans.