Photo Credit: wikimedia
It’s Spring and it’s baseball season! Major League Baseball (MLB) has always been at the forefront of providing fans a number of innovative and interactive experiences online, and the 2017 season is no different. Here are just a few ways that MLB is using social media this season.
#1: Video streaming
It’s now the second season that MLB has partnered with Twitter to stream live games. Just as Twitter partnered with the NFL to stream Thursday night football games, Twitter has partnered with MLB to stream Friday night games. The first game of the season, for example, featured the defending World Champion Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers. Fans can either head over to mlb.twitter.com or find the free Friday night game on the MLB Twitter page.
#2: Cross-platform digital storytelling
The baseball season is a long 162-game grind, and so MLB works extensively to tell stories around each game using social media to keep fans involved. To bring in new fans, MLB will feature behind-the-scenes stories about fun topics like uniform preparation or ball storage.
And each team uses images, GIFs and videos extensively to bring alive the action in each game. That’s particularly important because some teams don’t have winning seasons. It’s always easy to recreate the excitement of each win, but what do you when a team is going through a rough patch?
The San Francisco Giants – the team that AdWeek called “baseball’s marketing MVPs” – has even gone so far as to create a social media café (@CaféSFG) at AT&T ballpark, where fans can catch up on new social media updates and check out new experiences, like a virtual reality (VR) spring training experience. (Not that the Giants, led by Mad Bum and Buster Posey, really need any help bringing in the fans each season!)
#3: Tapping into the social media personalities of players
It’s fair to say that every MLB team has 1-2 “star” players, and then also the players who may not get all the media attention, but who are fan favorites nevertheless. In the old days, these were the “scrappy” players who ran hard and played hard, even if they were undersized. In the digital era, the new fan favorites are the players with fun or quirky social media personalities.
It’s up to each MLB team to draw out these personalities. One team that does it well is the Philadelphia Phillies. Already this season, they’ve featured a Snapchat Q&A with Brock Stassi (#BrockTalk). The Phillies also make sure to use Twitter handles of players (like @FreddyGalvis10, MaikelFranco7 and @Eickough19) whenever describing the action on the field. That helps fans connect with their personal favorites.
This new MLB season may not feature the epic drama of the Chicago Cubs trying to win their first World Series in nearly 100 years, but it’s likely that new heroes and storylines will merge during the season that will attract the passion and interest of fans. And social media is likely to be the place that fans go to get instant updates on how their favorite teams and players are doing.