LESSONS OF PERSONAL ATHLETE BRANDING VIA SOCIAL MEDIA

Since 2015, I’ve been involved with some work in athlete branding, media management, and crisis communication with my colleague Thilo Kunkel of Temple University. The first of our publications was published in late 2016 about the work we have done with Michael Lahoud, who is a professional currently playing for Miami FC in the North American Soccer League (NASL). He was born in Sierra Leone, where he escaped civil war when he was six years old. As a refugee, soccer helped him to integrate in the United States of America, where he was drafted as the ninth overall pick in the 2009 Major League Soccer (MLS) Superdraft. He is a community advocate who uses his sport to support charitable efforts, such as The Wall Las Memorias project, the NoH8 campaign, and Schools for Salone. He was the Major League Soccer Humanitarian of the Year in 2010, and together with Kei Kamara, he is the recipient of the 2015 FIFPro World Players’ Union Merit Award (a prize worth $25,000), which recognized their involvement in the Schools for Salone project that builds schools in their home country of Sierra Leone. His brand is Soccer can make a difference. This interview consists of two parts, with the first part being conducted in December 2015 when he was a player of the MLS team Philadelphia Union, and the second part being conducted in July 2016 after two transfers within 4 months. The interviews provide an overview of his approach to athlete branding via social media, and its impact on his career.

You can read and download the full article here: publisher, academia.edu, or researchgate.

October 8 Live Tweet topics starting at 2:45PM Perth time

Topic 1:

At the beginning of August, A-League club Sydney FC announced its new major sponsor: Webjet (See: http://www.footballaustralia.com.au/sydneyfc/news-display/Sydney-FC-and-Webjet-Agree-Major-Partnership/48392 andhttp://sportsbusinessinsider.com.au/news/category/sponsorship-and-marketing/sydney-fc-ceo-pignata-secures-webjet-as-main-sponsor-for-two-years/and http://theworldgame.sbs.com.au/news/1115100/sydney-fc-announces-webjet-deal)

Topic 2:

As discussed and defined in class, a brand is “a name, symbol or design, or a combination of these, intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors”

Recently, NRL player Greg Inglis has announced that he will create his own personal branded clothing line (in the line of Michael Jordan and/or Greg Norman).

http://sportsbusinessinsider.com.au/news/category/sponsorship-and-marketing/20-years-after-the-shark-brand-inglis-is-the-next-big-thing-to-fend-for-himself/

We will discuss how the Inglis brand can help to position Inglis in the marketplace and which positioning tactics will be employed.

Topic 3:

In week 7, we discussed the proliferation of mainstream media and the hours that sport is on TV. Further, there was a short discussion on netcasting, which was characterised by: a potential to compete with television’s dominance in sport broadcasting and providing netcasts of past games can be another service to strengthen the interaction of customers with sport website.

Recently, the NBL announced that the league would retain their online rights and have made most (if not all) game available online through the NBL.TV service. See www.nbl.com.au

We will discuss how the retention of Internet broadcasting rights by the NBL enables the league to increase advertising revenue streams through online broadcasts and enable fans to watch their favourite (or any) team via the Internet; thus increase fan engagement with the NBL.

Topic 4:

In week 8, we discussed the many reasons why organisations sponsor teams/events/athletes and it was found that “sponsorship is usually undertaken to encourage more favourable attitudes towards the sponsoring company or its products within a relevant target audience”

In recent event, A. Del Piero was signed by Sydney FC and then Destination NSW sponsored the team. We’ll talk about why Destination NSW would sponsor the team and how it relates to the Del Piero signing.

Live Tweet topics for 27 August 2012

Live Tweet topics for 27 August 2012 that starts at 1430 (2:30 PM) Perth time.

On 28 March 2012, I conducted a full lecture online using Twitter. It forms part of an assessment item for my first year unit Sport Marketing (unit code #SPM2122) in the Bachelor of Sport, Recreation, and Leisure. #SPM2122 is doing it again in semester two.

The topics will all be listed below with relevant links, but the questions will remain undisclosed until the live chat.

 

Topic 1:

The 2012 London Summer Olympic Games were touted to be the “social games.” However, the IOC enforced Rule 40 (see: http://www.london2012.com/mm/Document/Publications/General/01/25/29/32/rule-40-guidelines_Neutral.pdf), which prevented athletes, teams, coaches, and others from using social media to discuss non-Olympic sponsors and/or advertisers. See here for another perspective on social media and the Olympics http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/173610/the-social-olympics-the-effect-on-london-2012.html)

 

Topic 2:

On 14 August 2012, the AFL announced that Gilette became the league’s official sponsor of the trade week. Gilette currently sponsors the Grand Final sprint and has a history of sponsorship of the AFL (See: http://www.afl.com.au/news/newsarticle/tabid/208/newsid/144503/default.aspx)

Further, Carlton Draught currently sponsors the substitute player, who is called the Carlton Draught Sub (See: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/breaking/13962098/afls-alcohol-own-goal/ and http://www.afl.com.au/tabid/208/default.aspx?newsid=138681)

 

Topic 3:

At the beginning of August, A-League club Sydney FC announced its new major sponsor: Webjet (See: http://www.footballaustralia.com.au/sydneyfc/news-display/Sydney-FC-and-Webjet-Agree-Major-Partnership/48392 and http://sportsbusinessinsider.com.au/news/category/sponsorship-and-marketing/sydney-fc-ceo-pignata-secures-webjet-as-main-sponsor-for-two-years/ and http://theworldgame.sbs.com.au/news/1115100/sydney-fc-announces-webjet-deal)

 

Topic 4:

Nike has undergone considerable change in the way it markets itself and how it spends marketing dollars. Nike Digital Sport was lauched at the Nike headquarters in 2010, where devices and technologies are created that allow users to track their sporting prowess. Further, Nike Digital also aims to collect as much personal data on Nike users as it can (See: http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2012/02/13/nike-digital-marketing/)

In August 2012, adidas announced the creation of a social media shoe (See: http://www.sportsnetworker.com/2012/08/13/adidas-social-media-shoe-ready-for-tweeps/ and http://www.ubergizmo.com/2012/08/adidas-unveils-social-media-shoe-for-tweeps/), which the company plans to mass produce in 2016.

 

Topic 5:

Nike has recently started to sponsor UFC fighters: Anderson Silva is sponsored by Nike Brasil (other fighters have national Nike sponsorships) and USA fighter Jon Jones has a global Nike deal, which is the first for Nike and UFC sponsorship. (See: http://www.mmamania.com/2011/8/3/2341775/just-did-it-ufc-middleweight-champion-anderson-silva-lands-nike and http://mmajunkie.com/news/30111/malki-kawa-deal-with-nike-for-ufc-champ-jon-jones-opens-door-for-every-other-fighter.mma and http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2012/8/8/3228539/nike-ufc-jon-jones-global-sponsorship-deal-mma-news).

 

 

Quick stats & initial thoughts from #spm2122 tweetchat of 9 May 2012

Quick stats and lists of questions from #spm2122 tweetchat of 9 May 2012

As previously written, I am conducting two tweetchats as part of my SPM2122 Sport Marketing unit/course that I teach at Edith Cowan University. The rationale for these chats is twofold: First, I seek to engage the students in social media and teach them to engage the wider community through their posts. Second, I seek to have inclusive discussion on contemporary issues relating to sports marketing. Class discussions are often dominated by a small section of individuals and people who are shy may not be confident to speak aloud in class. Thus, Twitter is a medium that can be used to give everyone an equal voice.

The rules and questions were:

I’ll moderate the Qs, chime in when you’re ready, refer to the ? In your answer (ie Q1- A1, Q2 – A2, etc) and tag your answer with #spm2122

Alright, let’s start with introductions. Who you are, where you are, your favourite sports team. #spm2122

The first question will be nice and easy to get us all comfortable and chatting with one another. #spm2122

Warm-up Q: For Aussie rules to become more popular worldwide, the sport needs to change its name? Your suggestions. #spm2122

Q1A: Recently, USA magazine Sports Illustrated (@SIow) printed a hashtag (#SILinsanity) on its cover. What do you think about this? #SPM2122

Q1B: Have you seen it before on mainstream media (tv, newspapers, anywhere)? Have you seen it since? Provide examples #SPM2122

Q1C: Hashtag use in mainstream media. Sign of things to come? #SPM2122

Q2A: Are the #LONDON2012 organisers being too strict in their restrictions of #socialmedia? #spm2122

Q2B: Volunteers can make or break an #Olympics, is restricting their #socialmedia usage a smart decision? Give reasons/examples #spm2122

Q2C: Ambush #marketing will happen no matter what restrictions are placed on #socialmedia by  #olympics organisers. Discuss #spm2122

Q3A: @PeterWilt1 recently wrote a piece on @sportbizinsider comparing the histories of the #MLS and #ALeague. Your thoughts. #spm2122

Q3B: Is there enough public support to sustain the #ALeague over the long-term? #spm2122

Q4A: The @pacers recently held a “faith and family” night with music concert before a game. Could that be done here in Australia? #spm2122

Q4B: #AFL stadiums have to now include a non-denominational prayer room. What are your thoughts? Does it impact you? #SPM2122

Q4C: Should sporting leagues attempt to be as inclusive as possible? Is this #multiculturalism at work? #spm2122

Q5: Should Athletes be paid when they attend the Olympic Games? Some NBA players say yes. http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/dwyane-wade-ray-allen-think-olympians-paid-224740420.html;_ylt=Ajru4SQzQ.57IKXuwnDs1mO8vLYF Your thoughts? #spm2122

Stats:

The tweetchat took place on 9 May 2012 from 9AM to 1030AM

1604 total tweets. Of these 985 (61%) were original tweets, 497 (31%) were @ message tweets, and 122 (8%) were retweets.

69 participants -45 participants tweeted at least 15 times.

-Ranged from 105-1 (the top 20 ranged from 105-30)

-Note: I did not have the highest number of tweets. I led this chat and moderated when needed, but let the students drive the discussion more than last time. I was sixth in total tweets.

Twitter Trends in Australia – Trendsmap 9 May 2012.jpg

Once I get my thoughts together from yesterday’s tweetchat, I’ll update this post.

When the home team is not featured: Comparison of two television network commentaries during broadcasts of the 2006 FIFA World Football Cup

This is an excerpt from an article that I co-wrote with my master of sport management supervisors and was published in Sport Management Review in February 2012.

The authors are:

Olan Kees Martin Scott – University of Ballarat
Brad Hill & Dwight H. Zakus – Griffith University

I have only included the abstract, introduction, and implications.

A link to the full publication is available from SMR and http://tiny.cc/47brcw

The full reference in APA format is:

Scott, O. K. M., Hill, B., & Zakus, D. (2012). When the home team is not featured: Comparison of commentary between two television networks’ broadcast of the 2006 FIFA World Football Cup. Sport Management Review, 15(1), 23-32. doi: 10.1016/j.smr.2011.05.003

Abstract:

Broadcast commentary of sport contests is often seen as biased or ‘‘one-eyed’’ for the ‘‘home team’’. This study sought to determine if this labelling was correct. Two different broadcasts of the national Dutch team’s games during the 2006 Federation Internationale de Football Association’s (FIFA) World Cup in Germany were compared. Both the Dutch Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS) and Australian Special Broadcast Services (SBS) networks each televised this team’s matches, together providing eight matches for analysis. First, the framing strategies used by each broadcaster were identified through a fourteen category thematic scale derived from the data. Secondly, a Chi-square analysis of the results revealed significant associations for the types of themes employed by the home network (NOS) and those of a neutral broadcaster (SBS). Results also revealed associations for the use of nationalistic themes in the commentary. These results have salience for sport management and sport media studies as audience size and therefore revenue generation is of import.

Introduction:

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the sport media relationship has constantly evolved. From simple printed game reports to the current interactive, on-demand electronic formats sport and media have become dependent on one another for success; what Jhally (2006) labelled the sport-media complex. The symbiotic relationship between these two institutions generates a large portion of the revenues necessary for each aspect of the complex to survive financially (Rowe, 1996, 2008), among other ways, as revenues are predominantly achieved through audience creation and through sponsorship. Interwoven within this relationship, however, was the media’s ability to effect cultures and societies through the mediation of the audiences’ consciousness. It is through the use of intentionally scripted ‘‘frames’’ (Eastman, Brown, & Kovatch, 1996) that this occurs. Moments of televised sport, such as the ‘‘black power’’ protest salute by American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos during the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games, are regarded as ‘‘a moment that would have heavy consequences for all it chose to represent’’ (Bass, 1999, p. 3).

The ability of commentators to culturally influence perceptions of television audiences is related to embedding of framed themes into network broadcasts scripts that often include topics that appeal and seek to maintain viewer interest. A key theme typically employed by networks was the ideological use of nationalism (Guo, Cheong, & Chen, 2007; L’Etang, 2006). The use of nationalism in media broadcasts allowed networks to connect with audiences through dialogue that promotes a viewer’s home nation. The use of scripted dialogue in commentary of mega-events using nationalism to capture television audiences was logical as networks typically focus broadcasts on aspects of an event that involved their home country (Larson & Rivenburgh, 1991). Through their participation in the Olympic Games numerous countries obtained abundant ‘‘home country’’ content that is used to align sport competitions to their respective national audiences.

Yet, as a global media mega-event, the format of the FIFA World Football Cup is limited in terms of the number of participating nations; only 32 nations compete in this event. As a result, many networks holding national broadcast  rights do not have home country content to telecast. Even so, these networks still have to generate television audiences to obtain revenues to cover costs of their broadcast fees, production, and to enhance their own investments.

Such restrictions on ‘‘home team’’ content demands that many networks have to differently frame their broadcasts to generate audiences. This study sought to understand how two national television networks framed their broadcasts of the Netherlands’ 2006 World Cup matches to their respective home audiences; particularly, in this case, when one network’s broadcasts did not involve their own national team. While understanding how broadcast content is scripted is worthy of study in its own right, this study included a focus on: how broadcasts not including a ‘‘home team’’, thereby reducing the use of nationalistic themes, were scripted; how thematic cross-cultural mapping occurs; and whether or not scripts served a purpose in such broadcasts. This study examined all of the games of the 2006 World Cup that the Netherlands played, cataloguing and contrasting the discourses used by two television networks broadcasting these same matches to their respective nations. Differences in discourse by Netherlands’ NOS and Australia’s SBS television networks allowed nationalistic biases to be identified. In addition, quantitative comparisons were made both within and between broadcasters, allowing for cross-cultural and linguistic differences to be revealed.

Implications

Even though it was expected that networks broadcasting home country content such as NOS would use nationalistic themes, what was not expected was the use of nationalistic themes from countries competing in that broadcast by the SBS network. Typically, broadcasters rely on the use of home country content from sport events to connect to their home audiences. This finding that SBS used nationalistic themes of Dutch history and Dutch fans ritualistic celebration in commentary significantly more than NOS network to connect to their Australian audiences was surprising. In fact, these findings are counterintuitive as it is expected that Dutch commentary would favour the use of their history and their fans’ ritualistic celebration and not SBS. Dutch fan support at matches, with their flag waving and wearing of the Dutch colour orange, should be an important theme to promote in capturing, building, and maintaining Dutch television audiences. Yet, SBS commentary focused on the use of theses themes significantly more than NOS.

Inspection of language in themes of Dutch history and ritualistic celebration used in SBS commentary reveals Dutch history is educational, while ritualistic celebration appears as educational, descriptive, and emotive in nature. Most SBS commentary was additional to the actual visual imagery of ritualistic celebration being pointed out and focussed on by the commentators at various moments in the broadcast. This style of commentary broadens the scope of material broadcast in attempts to appeal to multiple viewers and maintain audience reach. Providing educational, descriptive, and emotive material that is additional to the visual imagery of the football match allows the commentary to cater for audiences who may not be interested in the game itself, but are attracted by the content about the countries, spectators, and other non-game related elements.

Reference to Dutch crowd support in SBS commentary, even though not promoting nationalism toward Australia, may elicit just such an emotional attachment between spectators and viewers, increasing entertainment value and enabling SBS to better capture and maintain audience interest. Tzanelli (2006) indicated that displays of ritualistic celebration broadcast at major sport events were attempts to stimulate passion and emotion in viewers connecting them to broadcasts and to sports. Highlighting the passionate support Dutch fans displayed toward their country and making reference to their ritualistic celebration within SBS commentary might also have been an attempt to assist in the enculturation process of football/soccer in Australia. Focusing on the ritualistic celebration of Dutch fans in SBS commentary might have been a tactic to positively influence the knowledge, belief, and value structure of Australian sport consumers to aid their adoption of football/soccer.

Billings and Tambosi (2004) noted that commentators have the ability to ‘‘culturally influence perceptions’’ (p. 163) of television audiences. The focus on ritualistic celebration by SBS broadcasts suggests that this may have been the case. SBS commentators might have taken the opportunity for not being able to broadcast home country content to influence cultural perceptions of viewers about football/soccer in Australia as stereotypes or beliefs held within these viewers’ minds would be limited with respect to the Dutch and their opposition teams. In this way SBS broadcasts promoted areas of interest they felt would better connect audiences to their broadcast content and at the same time advertise the entertaining and exciting elements of this sport encouraging viewers to increase their involvement.

When little if any home country content is available for networks to broadcast, it appears they use telecasts as a promotional platform for other regular prime-time programming which, is consistent with findings from Billings, Eastman, and Newton (1998). In attempts by SBS to both build and maintain audiences for the month in which the World Cup was shown, references to Australia and its football team the Socceroos were made during commentator discourse of broadcasts.

With a heightened focus on football in Australia and higher viewer numbers watching, SBS was provided an opportunity to also increase ratings for its other programs that it more regularly airs, along with the football programs. However, what was not expected was the limited frequency of use of this theme and the manner in which it was employed. Inspection of dialogue revealed that SBS used this theme primarily to promote upcoming matches involving the Australian team. No comparisons were made within commentary for the Australian Socceroos football team and Dutch team being shown, which limited the possibility for any discussion of a nationalistic nature. Even more interesting is the lack of reference to the Australian team’s coach during the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Guus Hiddink, who is Dutch. Thus, SBS did not frame telecasts involving the Dutch team and their opponents with analysis of the Australian football team. Telecasts of sport events are more than sight and sound with themes used in scripting and framing the ‘‘glue’’ that provides entertaining theatre keeping audiences watching no matter their interest level in that sport. Understanding that media commentator’s use various key themes in their broadcasts dependant upon their audience can assist sport managers to develop or maintain relationships with networks. Sport managers can assist networks to identify these various relevant themes for their market ensuring networks are continually provided with content that will create large audience size and revenue generation.

The full article is available from SMR and http://tiny.cc/47brcw