How will social media and sports TV work? Here’s a few ideas…

I recently came across a video by Sports Business blogger, Russell Scibetti at the Global Sports Forum in Barcelona. Russell gave an example of how very soon we can expect to see social media (more specifically online audience participation) working alongside sports broadcasting. It’s something that I predict will become immensely huge within the next 2 years. Sports fans love statistics, and they love opinions, that’s why so many read blogs or the papers. However, there’s an increasing trend to micro-blog during live sports events via Facebook and Twitter. This goldmine of fan created content is waiting to be tapped into and there is massive potential for how broadcasters can be creative in delivering the very latest “buzz” across social media. Here are a few ideas:

Hashtag co-ordination

A simple enough concept but this will be the first step for sports broadcasters to motivate their audience to create conversations in-play. It only takes a prompt somewhere on the screen, or a presenter to explain that fans can follow what’s being said by contributing to a game specific hashtag. Whilst this is easy to do on Twitter, on Facebook it is a little more complex. Sports broadcasters could integrate their own Facebook page into their official website and use the social plugins available so the audience could leave their opinions in the commentary box. With all this data in one easy to find hashtag, broadcasters could then select appropriate comments and show them on screen.

Sky Sports Fanzone used to show fans SMS messages, so why not bring this back but enhance it with social media?

Retweet/Like competition for match decisions

This idea involves simplifying how broadcasters can compile opinion, and also exploit the competitive nature of sport rivalry. Rather than ask for comments, broadcasters could simply offer A or B answers to a questions via individual tweets, and then urge their followers to retweet/Like whichever answer they think is best. This could be used for matters such as:

  • Which team will win tonight? [Followed by two separate tweets such as ‘Man Utd will win, RT me if you agree’]
  • What the 87th minute goal offside or onside?
  • Who would you start upfront today against the opposition?

TV broadcasters could then calculate the number of RT’s/Likes very quickly and bring this up as a in-game stat. So whenever there is a contentious decision, TV could show immediately what their Facebook or Twitter users thought within a few minutes.

Fancast video blogging

Ok, so maybe this would be a bit unrealistic and difficult to moderate, but I’d love to see fans urged to make quick video commentaries about the sporting event. With the rise of smartphone users, this could be done quickly and easily. Fans already give their opinion on phone-ins, and sometimes we get brief interviews with fans pre-match, but I want to see more. Watching fans (even if the camera quality is a bit rubbish) talking passionately is both engaging and humorous. Most of the time, I find myself agreeing with my fans rather than the pundits. We already see it on YouTube, so why not bring it TV? Perhaps fans could even upload their video with a hashtag and then fellow supporters vote on their favourite video to be shown on air?

What idea do you have for using social media on sports TV? Leave a comment about what you want to see.

Sean Walsh

Founder of and leading Football Social Media expert.

You may also like...

1 Response

  1. Ryan Fadus says:

    These are very interesting ideas and like you said I am very surprised that no one has thought of this yet. It’s so simple and yet nothing has happened with it. This is a great way to get fans more involved in the game itself and make the experience better for them. With the hashtag idea I remember they did it for the Ravens’ Super Bowl parade and who knows maybe soon it will be popping up on the bottom of the screen during football games. The fancast video blogging is also another great idea like you said it might be a little hard to moderate, but they could really do the same thing they do with moderating the tweets.

    Actually, one site already allows users to broadcast the games from their homes, is called LetMeHearYa. This is almost like the fancast video, but without the video and the broadcasts can be done anyway a person wants to do it. One problem I could see with the hashtag thing is after a whole game of it, it could get every annoying and even in the way if people are trying to see if a person stepped out of bounds or not. Unless, they do it a few times throughout the game then that would be fine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *