The 12th Reason why Sports Clubs Should Take the Lead in Social Media and Social CRM


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Recently I posted an article entitled
href=””>”11 reasons why sports clubs should take the lead in Social CRM” on this site. The post, which got some great attention, encouraged readers to comment on the list and potentially suggest necessary or potential additions.

One of the comments left led to further discussion with contributor Marcus Cheng (of the Miami HEAT) and together we concluded there was definitely one additional element which deserved to be added to the list. We decided to explore it a bit further and put together the following piece:

The 12th Reason why Sports Clubs Should Take the Lead in Social CRM: Availability of Content

Compared to other industries the world of sports produces a lot of content and at a very fast pace. Sports content can be divided into “on-field related” and “off-field related” content. The on-field related content is primarily centered on games and training sessions which both happen on a regular basis but also includes more irregular events such as open training sessions, exhibition games, etc.

The off-field related content includes content about the clubs in the community, players’ private lives, and transfer rumors, to name a few.

Putting the on-field as well as the off-field content together and getting coverage via different media (print, radio, TV, online), we end up with an unrivaled amount of content compared to other industries. How many companies receive dedicated coverage every day in the newspaper and have reporters assigned to cover their every move?

Social Media increases fan involvement and enjoyment while also reaching out to new fans

The increased usage of social media within sports is on the one hand driven by the fans and on the other hand driven by the clubs and athletes themselves.

As the main driver, sports fans enjoy speaking about and discussing matters related to their favorite team or a specific event. The continuous availability of new content and the desire of fans to express their opinions lead fans to post and discuss topics around their favorite club or other events on an ongoing basis. It is thus also no surprise that the biggest Tweet moments (tweets per second) to date have occurred around sporting events (one during a World Cup soccer game and the other during the NBA finals).

The second driver of the increased social media usage are the sports clubs and athletes themselves. From a social CRM perspective there are two main reasons for why sports club engage in social media. The first one is that social media enables fans to increase their involvement with a specific club. Some fans might for example just have been passive television viewers in the past but social media gives them a platform to interact with other fans and maybe even with the club itself. The bond between the club and the fan is thus strengthened and as a
href=”″>recent study shows within the NFL and MLB, around 50% of fans spend more time watching and following their respective leagues now than they did prior to their social media engagement.

The second benefit is that social media enables sports clubs to reach out to fans they have never interacted with before. There are for example thousands of Liverpool FC fans that have never been to Anfield or on the clubs newsletter list who are now following the club on Twitter or on Facebook.

This ability to reach a global audience online is of key importance to any major club. Take the English Premier League clubs or the NBA teams for example. Through social media they are able to engage with people who are not located in their vicinity and as far away as India and China. Social media is thus not only another method of engaging and interacting with existing fans but also a means to attract new/potential fans – a base from which relationships can be developed. Just the other day an
href=””>interview with the Boston Celtics was published on this matter, which underlines the reasoning behind clubs’ engagement in social media. From a broader perspective the new social media platforms also give clubs insights into their fan base, e.g. where are people located, how popular is our club in China – very valuable insight in relation to sponsor negotiations, value estimation of media rights and even merchandise sales.

This enormous opportunity for sports clubs is based on the unrivaled amount of high interest content available and produced around the club, its games and its players. As Liverpool Manager Roy Hodgson recently put it: “We bear strong expectations at this club and everyone is interested in us. We fill newspapers and airtime and, of course, everything that happens at the club is put under the microscope and that includes players’ performances.”

Availability of content is thus the well deserved 12th reason why sports clubs should take the lead in social CRM.

Kristian Gotsch
Kristian Gotsch has more than 15 years experience within the world of CRM. As CRM Manager at the Eredivisie (Dutch Premier League), Kristian has a great interest in sports and CRM and is the founder of Loyalsticity. Prior to his current role Kristian held various CRM positions at T-Mobile, PwC and Microsoft. This is a personal rather than a corporate blog. My opinions reflect my own views rather than necessarily those of my employer.


  1. A smart and logical addition to the 11 reasons!

    Continuously fresh content – from the trivial minutia to the big news – is key to any good sports CRM/social media strategy. Without the compelling content to attract/engage/evangelize fans, all your efforts, no matter how well designed or executed, will inevitably fizzle. As strategists in the sports industry, we must always keep in mind that the fan is a FAN of the sport, the club, or the player(s), NOT our nicely designed Facebook page or witty Twitter update! 😀

    The company I’m involved with definitely helps sports leagues/clubs produce highly viral “on-field” content, such as statistics and video highlights. I can certainly attest to the massive web traffic our servers handle by interested fans checking out their favourite team. I’ve also seen our URLs flow through the social media space, by see how often we’re cited in Twitter, etc. We’re just not beginning NOW to make our webpages more Facebook/Twitter friendly to encourage fans to share our pages with other like-minded folks.

    I was impressed with that stat you had whereby Twitter moments (Tweets per second) were highest during sporting events. I think that’s a very telling fact that supports your argument that sports marketers have a unique opportunity to leverage CRM/social media to their advantage.

    I’m curious if any other readers/commenters have other anecdotal evidence as to the “high stickiness” factor of sports content?? Are we lucky enough to perhaps have the BEST type of content for CRM/social media??

  2. Social media is built around and for passionate people. And what stirs passion more than sports? This list is a great resource not just for sports marketers, but also for businesses who have a fear of engaging with communities across the social web.

    Lauren Vargas
    Sr. Community Manager at Radian6

  3. Got this article in my inbox and it just reinforces how lucky we are, as Lauren pointed out, to have content that large masses of people are passionate about:

    The title of the article is “How to Become a Newsmaker”.

    While there are some businesses where, initially, it would seem to be challenging to generate passion in the market, one of the intrinsic benefits of one-to-one marketing through any channel is the opportunity to add a personality to the messaging. If done properly, brands can communicate its passion for its business through that personality and messaging in an almost infectious way.

    The other construct through which Kristian’s list and its principles apply to almost every business is the concept of The Long Tail. In today’s highly-fragmented, “ADD” world, there seems to be almost an infinite number of niches wherein brands can establish themselves as indispensible members, if not leaders.

  4. Great views on social media and football!! This could be a start of something big.

    Football is the most global sport in the world! I’m a football fanatic and want to follow my favourite European teams in social media. It isn’t always easy due to different languages.

    How awesome would it be to read for example all the relevant news of Ajax in English from Facebook? Now it’s only in Dutch and thus Ajax doesn’t reach fans abroad. What about tweeting in Japanese for the Japanese fans? Messi has already realized the multilingual problem and he writes posts in English and Spanish. Football clubs must be multilingual in social media! I don’t want to sound too commercial, but there is one service which solves the problem. We wrote a blog which is slightly covering the topic

    What do you think?

  5. @Tatu – good point. I wonder what the impact of not communicating in more languages is for clubs? A recent analysis of how football clubs work with language versions of their websites show that the top clubs in Europe go about this matter in very different ways:

    So far I have not seen any cost/benefit analysis of what is the best solution and it might even be club specific (e.g. depending on number of fans per country/language)


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