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Volume 25 No. 196
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Social Studies: Fusion's Hung Tran Discusses Esports Landscape

The Philadelphia Fusion are gearing up for a homecoming event this weekend as the club readies for its second season in the Overwatch League. The celebration will include an appearance by Flyers mascot Gritty, as both clubs fall under the Comcast-Spectator ownership umbrella. Fusion Dir of Marketing, PR & Events Hung Tran (@Fusion) is expecting a bigger turnout this year after “a couple thousand people” showed up for the inaugural event in '17. Tran, who spent seven years with the Flyers prior to joining the Fusion, said the esports outfit loves to use social media platforms to show that gamers are multifaceted. Tran: “For the longest time, the gaming stereotype was you lived in your parents’ basement. But what esports and gaming has done is change that stereotype. Anyone can be a gamer -- it doesn’t matter who you are, what you believe in, how athletic you are."

SOCIAL SNAPSHOT
Must-follows: Cray Sounds. She’s a DJ and also a big gamer.
Favorite apps: Instagram. I am a photographer on the side. It’s how I express my creativity when I am not working.
Average time per day on social media: Probably a couple of hours.

Esports' view of social media vs. traditional sports:
We have similar goals where we want to tell the story of the game, of the brand, of the teams. We just go about it in different ways. Traditional sports tend to be more conservative in their approach. They have a lot of highlights from previous matches and games. They show a lot of press conferences. Esports has a more personable perspective. We do the same thing -- where we tell the story on match day -- but then you get the behind-the-scenes and what it’s like to be an esports athlete. We have more access to our players.

Fusion’s approach to social media:
It’s that interaction between the fan and the streamer and the pro esports athlete that has really helped esports grow over the last few years. Just imagine if you are able to go to LeBron James and have a conversation with him and have him react to you as you send him messages. For this younger audience, that’s a powerful tool to know that you are appreciated and know the people you support are interacting with you.

Difference in social media from season one:
In the beginning, we had two goals. The first being we wanted to prove we belonged in the endemic esports audience. We also wanted to prove we could rep a city like Philadelphia. To the second point, that was a lot easier, because on our staff [there] are four or five people from Philadelphia who had moved out to L.A., so we understood the fan base and the type of people the city would support.

Increased sponsor integration in Season 2:
We literally started with zero followers and spent the next year building that. We had sponsors come to us and make us offers to be partners, but it was important for us to find the right sponsors. We took Season 1 to grow the brand, figure out who the right sponsors were and we’ve signed a bunch of deals in the last few weeks. We have the right partners that we believe in and have the same core principles as we do.

Building a following from nothing:
A lot of time and dedication. The staff spent the last year on building the Fusion brand. Everyone contributed. There were a lot of late nights and early mornings and not a lot of days off in the past year.

Fusion working with other Comcast teams:
We have had great support from all the Philadelphia teams. The Phillies welcomed us to their ballpark last year. They took our players on the field, gave them a behind-the-scenes tour and hooked them up with a nice suite to watch their first game. The Union have been terrific partners with us. They have an esports player in "FIFA" and eMLS league. And the Flyers have been wonderful, being in the family. We had a dasherboard during the preseason last season and this season as well.

If you know anyone who should be featured for their use of social media, send their name to us at jperez@sportsbusinessdaily.com.