How Social is your Sport?

Antonio Nichols| @AntonioBNJr

Sports fans are notorious for their strong social media presence and dedication to their teams. However, the functionality of social media in the eyes of the governing bodies of professional sports is very inconsistent across the board. Most of this inconsistency is due to the different audiences that different sports aim to reach. In this particular comparison, the NBA and NFL have very different views on what the function of social media should be in regards to the content teams are able to post and what content they want associated with their brand.

  Photo Credit:  r2i

Photo Credit: r2i

  Photo Credit:  Re/code

Photo Credit: Re/code

A recently released internal memo from the NFL details the league's new social media policy that prohibits teams from posting any unapproved video from kickoff until 60 minutes after the game has ended. The league also outlined the consequences of violating this policy. For the first and second offenses, the team could be fined up to $25,000 and $50,000, respectively.he third and subsequent violations carry a hefty fine of  $100,000 and the chance for the team to lose post League-Controlled content.

According to the league, Video is defined as anything that moves, not excluding the popular use of GIFs on platforms like Twitter and Facebook. While comments from the NFL front office would suggest that the league supports the use of social media and understands its importance, their actions prove otherwise. The main issue with this new policy is that when teams are playing, it is a very high volume time period for team Twitter and Facebook pages. However this does not seem to make too much of a difference for NFL officials. While the NFL dials back its social media presence, the NBA on the other hand is full steam ahead.

With Basketball being a sport with a more targeted demographic than football, it is easier to see the massive positive effects and attention that the sport can gain from its social media usage. Not only is the target demographic for basketball younger that football, but the players themselves in the NBA are younger on average than NFL players.

Recently the NBA became the first sports organization to surpass 1 billion fans on social media. This number includes team, player and league accounts over all social media accounts. While the younger audience and fan base is a major part of the NBA’ s social media success, it also promotes more interaction from its followers. The NBA understands that social media is a free form of marketing fueled by crowd sourcing information and media from fans. This understanding and use of social media places them far above the curve, because not only do they have their major following in traditional media, they also have the added support from social media.