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Slam Dunking with Millennials

Posted: February 18, 2015, 2:35 p.m.
by Ethan Wiggins.

Every public relations professional knows that social media is one of the best strategies to reach your target audience. Social media sites can be used to facilitate conversation, humanize your company and unite your consumers. In particular, these three qualities are essential to professional sports teams.

Photo provided by pdas00 (Flickr)
Photo provided by pdas00 (Flickr)

Also critical to professional sports teams is the millennial fan base. According to a White House report, “millennials are now the largest, most diverse generation in the U.S. population.” Millennials make up nearly one-third of the nation’s population, and they are the only generation to have had Internet access throughout their lives. This fact makes them avid social media users with 80 percent of the generation using social media multiple times per day.

Millennials are fast-paced, action-seeking individuals who, when it comes to sports, like flashy jerseyshigh scores, and  drama. Millennials also want to be engaged with their content producers — the front office — and that has shown with the latest social media usage from professional sports teams.

CNBC article details the “winners” and “losers” of the sports social media race, specifically focusing on Twitter as the main social media platform.

Photo provided by wfxt_share (Flickr)
Photo provided by wfxt_share (Flickr)

The NBA, NFL and NHL led the charge for social media dominance, as MLB teams were, on average, the final league to join Twitter — like your parents. Millennials want activity and engagement on social media. In these categories, hockey and basketball are on the forefront. Baseball is not too far behind; however, a MLB season is 162 games long. The NFL season is only 16 games, and its teams’ Twitter activity is only one-fifth less per day.

Another way that professional sports leagues stepped into the social media game is by allowing fans to create their own content. The most famous of these campaigns is the NFL’s Together We Make Football, or @TWMF. The league offers Super Bowl tickets for the fan-voted best story of why they love football. This may seem like a simple fan club for football nerds, but it is worth much more to the NFL. Not only do the stories unite football fans and increase fan bases, but they also serve as a partial situation analysis for the NFL, showing the strengths that the game – or its product – has.

@TWMF Twitter Feed
@TWMF Twitter Feed

What does all this social media and millennials talk have to do with the sports’ success anyways, you ask? Through increasing prices of TV contracts and increasing levels of avid fans. In a data chart presented by the Simmons Research Database, two of the three sports that saw increases in avid sports fans during the three-year span may look very similar to you. These sports, the NHL and NBA, were also the most active on Twitter.

So, I say to you sports teams, listen to your public relations teams: Get on Twitter, facilitate conversations with your millennial fan bases, and watch the profits soar like Jordan.

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