Teams lean in on social, digital content
Social and digital content are providing a channel for teams to keep in contact with fans as events are postponed and seasons are delayed. Without in-person events to connect to their fan bases, teams are using electronic communication via email, social media platforms and team websites to inform followers about health and safety, answer questions about ticketing and entertain fans longing for a diversion.
“We are primarily using email and utilizing a little social media,” said Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins. “We communicated immediately upon the suspension of the season and we held a press conference and we sent the entire video to all our season-ticket holders and our partners as well.”
The Seattle Mariners, in a market that saw one of the nation’s first outbreaks of the coronavirus, initially communicated with fans via email and social media about the postponements and ticket information. The team also plans “to engage with our fans and the community by sharing information about community service providers and assistance that might be useful to people during this period of self-isolation,” a team spokesperson said.
“We hope to engage our players in outreach to fans with informative, maybe even entertaining posts. We are also working with our radio and TV partners to develop alternative baseball-related content during this void when we would normally be watching spring training and regular-season games,” the spokesperson added.
Philadelphia Union CMO Doug Vosik said fans have been vocal on social media about the content they want to see. “As a result, our content is focused on the following key themes: humor/fun, club trivia, player-generated content, fan-generated content, esports and historical game highlights and replays,” he said.
Shawn Thornton, senior vice president of the Florida Panthers, said that the team’s content staff had developed a strategy for the Panthers’ social channels, including sharing highlight reel videos featuring the best goals and saves from the 2019-20 campaign, all of which will begin to debut this week. Thornton said that while the team wants to remain sensitive during the trying times, both locally and across the U.S., “there’s a need and a want for sports content.”
“We want to remind people how exciting the action was over the course of the season,” he added. “Everyone is now going to have some time on their hands.”
Like the Panthers, the Columbus Blue Jackets are also still working through their content and digital strategy to fill some of the void without games, practices and training workouts. Todd Sharrock, vice president of communications and team services, said that the pause in play will allow the club to tell more personal stories and those with a human interest element, such as players’ journeys to the NHL and their interests away from the rink.
According to Sharrock, those “sometimes can get lost when you are covering three or four games a week during the season.” He added that the Blue Jackets will continue to share in-home visits with players via FaceTime or Skype as well as in-game elements. The team is also developing a digital series of the 2019-20 season, beginning with training camp to where the club is today.
“It is important to keep our fans updated as news warrants,” Sharrock said, “but with everything going on in the world right now, it is also important to provide them with some entertainment.”