Blogging and social media has evolved immensely over time. Bloggers have long been connoted with nerds living in their mothers' basements. As for many social medias, they've generally been lumped with teenage girls and a more technological way to gossip and waste time. However, reality is, many people don't have the slightest clue as to how valuable both are in this day and age, particularly in the sports world. Sure, the stereotypes may have been true a few moons ago, but nowadays the very people that are blogging and using social media are exactly the type of people marketers are trying to target. And thus, both are extremely valuable marketing venues in building an even larger fanbase and in turn, more capital.
Most sports teams are starting to embrace it - prominent blogs are more and more getting credentialed like the mainstream media and as far as I know, all sports teams have official fan pages on Facebook and Twitter accounts that reach fans they wouldn't normally reach via that gaudy, frustrating-when-I-can't-fold-it-properly, thing called a newspaper.
The Cleveland Indians are a good example of one of those teams embracing their different outlets to fans. They recently took the current growing social media landscape and broadened it by creating a "social-deck" at Progressive Field (fitting name, yeah?) for bloggers and social media users during games. This from SportsBusiness Daily:
The Indians have created the Tribe Social Deck at Progressive Field, one of the first major efforts under a new social media strategy being pursued by the club. The 10-seat section in the ballpark bleachers is being occupied each game by bloggers and other social media users and influencers with the aim of furthering the Indians' roots within social media channels. The free section, part of the Time Warner Cable-sponsored bleacher area and outfitted with wireless Internet access and a TV, is currently being used on an invitation-only basis. But the Indians are currently working with MLBAM on developing an online application process for upcoming games, in effect becoming a press box of sorts for social media users.
I don't see why this shouldn't become a normality in every professional sports stadium. It encourages these bloggers and social media users to pimp the brand name to a broader audience and in turn, creates sincere interest and revenue in and for the said brand. I'm actually surprised its taken this long for something like this to pop up.
So here I am calling all sports teams, Detroit in particular, to follow suit. There are a lot of benjamins to be made. Strike while the blogging and social media iron is hot. Now's the time.