Sports fans are increasingly consuming scores, news and athlete updates via social media. Globally there are over 460 million fans who ‘like’ sports teams on Facebook and almost 100 million fans ‘follow’ teams on Twitter according to Sports Fan Graph.
In 2012 twenty-six percent of sports fans will use social media to follow leagues, teams and players according to a survey conducted by Perform sports media group. Twenty-two percent of sports fans polled indicated that they use connected mobile devices to get breaking sports news. A study by brand engagement firm GMR Marketing found that 41% of sports fans check Twitter and Facebook for breaking sports news compared to just 13% for television.
Sports fans are frustrated with the lack of social engagement tools available to them to engage with their favorite athletes. Professional athletes have been adopting social media en masse, particularly Twitter, but athletes are seeking better engagement with fans and opportunities to monetize the social media content they are currently giving away for free. Twitter is great for one-way communication, but engagement falls short for what is possible with athletes and fans. Twitter recently launched a new effort to promote hastags in sports, such as the hashtag #NASCAR. These hashtags offer the ability to better curate conversations.
A new sports social network, JockTalk, facilitates deeper engagement between fans and professional athletes. JockTalk enables fans to easily interact with their favorite athletes, and get rewarded for being a great fan. Athletes can answer questions from fans and can quickly sort top fans by market. All text, photo and video posts on JockTalk are automatically published to both Twitter and to Facebook. JockTalk is built into the ecosystem of these social media leaders and is complimentary, not competitive. The platform also enables athletes to generate income and awareness for the causes they support, and easily engage their fans in new and impactful ways. JockTalk features professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, PGA, Olympic sports and several international sports leagues. Athletes include Paul Pierce, Kevin Love, Wes Welker, Warren Moon, Heath Bell, Aaron Boone, Ryan Kesler, and Matt Carle. “I am excited to use JockTalk so I can more easily communicate and share content with my fans,” said Matt Carle, NHL defenseman for the Philadelphia Flyers. “JockTalk enables me to generate income for the causes I care about and facilitates deeper engagement with my fans through tools such as fan rankings and a Q&A section.”
JockTalk launched in beta in April and an iPhone application will be released in the summer of 2012. Game on!