SBJ/20081117/SBJ In-Depth

Who is using Facebook and why?

Jamie Sims
Senior VP, Career Sports & Entertainment

• What have you learned/gained? At the core it connects people and it controls the information so I can digest it on my time. It fills a need we all have to keep in touch and to share the passions in our lives — family, sports, friends.

• What are executives missing by not using Facebook? They’re missing the opportunity to connect with one another and being able to know firsthand trends that are emerging in how consumers interact with their passions, sports included.

David Schwab
Managing director, Octagon’s First Call

• What have you learned/gained? Being on Facebook is instrumental in understanding how people communicate every day. We track the hits on First Call every day, and links from Facebook are always among our top three sources. The amount of information we’re able to track looking at Facebook gives us a huge advantage in serving our clients.

• What are executives missing by not using Facebook? We can easily reach people and groups that could be interested in what we’re doing.

Gillian Zucker
President, Auto Club Speedway

• What have you learned/gained? In terms of advertising, it is easy to plan and execute advertising campaigns on Facebook and the site provides tools to track important metrics surrounding campaign performance.

• What are executives missing by not using Facebook? For direct interaction, organizations can create a page, provide content and interact directly with fans. For those seeking a less “hands-on” approach, there are a number of options for performance-based advertising, which can be targeted to individuals based on geography and demographic information, and purchased based on performance (pay-per-click or impressions).

Ari Fleischer
President, Ari Fleischer Sports Communications

• What have you learned/gained? As a 48-year-old who was not on Facebook until three or four months ago, I see sky-is-the-limit potential for marketing, promotion and image development. I’m also keenly cognizant of what Barack Obama just showed America about how to organize and promote through the power of young people.

• What are executives missing by not using Facebook? Given how 95 percent of young people are on Facebook, any sports organization that isn’t aggressively and cleverly using social networks like Facebook to market and promote their team, their image and their players is missing the entire future direction by which their fan base gets its information.

Doug Reffue
President, National Lacrosse League’s Boston Blazers

• What have you learned/gained? Whether we were staging the NLL entry draft and our “Blazers Day” promotion or a local grassroots clinic or appearance, we have a growing network of fans on Facebook who share information on our new franchise and are always well-informed. The way fans interact with their favorite teams has become less reactive and more interactive.

• What are executives missing by not using Facebook? The future of fan interaction. Every fan has a voice and a seat at the “Internet table,” and sports franchises are in a unique and enviable position to harness and benefit from the viral power of online social networking.

Mark Cuban
Owner, Dallas Mavericks

• What have you learned/gained? It’s a great way to catch up with old friends. Because it uses only real names, it was an amazingly huge blown opportunity for FB to [not license] access to all of us. Instead they chose to give it away. It will be interesting to see if FB can survive without a demonstrable business.

• What are executives missing by not using Facebook? Not all that much. It’s fun to keep up with people, but it’s not a great marketing tool. It’s a nice complement to other actions, more of a checklist item than anything else.

David Abrutyn
Senior VP, IMG Consulting

• What have you learned/gained? From a work perspective, we spend so much time trying to build meaningful relationships with people in business so we can know people better. With Facebook, gone are the days of note cards to remind you of birthdays, family members’ names, vacations, etc.

• What are executives missing by not using Facebook? This could be like asking people in the early ’90s what they were missing by not using e-mail.

Jimmy Pitaro
VP, GM, Yahoo! Sports and Entertainment

• What have you learned/gained? Facebook has proven the value of providing a truly social environment for users and there’s a lot of value in that business.

• What are executives missing by not using Facebook? Great, easy-to-use applications like Yahoo!’s Pro Football Pick’em game and SI’s Bracket Challenge.

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