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The rise of live social platforms such as Facebook Live, Snapchat and Instagram Stories continues to fuel new opportunities for sports teams, brands and networks to drive deeper engagement with fans – beyond the app.
A few years ago, Twitter was the most common way for fans to engage in the moment. Now fans are consuming live streams and stories of their favorite players, teams or brands in the moment. And they’re doing it across more screens than ever before.
Live social content can now be displayed anywhere from mobile and web properties to broadcast TV and events. Across professional sports, the giant video displays in stadiums are no longer just highlight machines. They’ve become a built-in tool for teams and brands to ratchet up the engagement with fans during the game.
Fly Like An Eagle
This Fall Seattle based Tagboard, a social search and display platform company serving thousands of global brands, partnered with the Philadelphia Eagles and several other teams across professional sports to display Instagram Stories content live in-stadium for the first time ever.
The Eagles, which have nearly one million followers on Instagram, have completely evolved their content production from being broadcast-focused to now being social media focused as they display live content to engage with 68,000 fans attending home games, and millions of others watching.
“Incorporating Instagram Stories into our live presentation was very appealing for a number of reasons,” said Eric Long, Director of Production with the Eagles. “We capture a lot of great exclusive access at the stadium on game days. Displaying Instagram stories from our team account on the video boards provides additional value to a large live audience, while creating a call to action for fans who are not already following us to do so.”
By sharing live content on the giant screens in-stadium, the Eagles and other pro teams have been able to grow both their social following and engagement numbers. In fact, Tagboard sports clients are seeing engagement increase by 20% or more within the hour when live-story content is displayed on-screen in-stadium, on game days.
Pump Up The Volume
The other huge benefit with live content is the ability to turn up the conversational volume with fans in the moment – tapping into the emotion of the crowd at big moments during the game.
“Timing absolutely matters in everything we do in our game presentation, and Instagram Stories are no different” said Long. “One of the great things about live sports production is the unpredictability of what will happen in a game. We build a script for our show that provides us with situational options and then make decisions of what to execute in the moment based on the context of the game. Instagram Stories are one of those tools and we’re very intentional in when and how they’re used.”
Along with the Eagles, teams across other professional sports including the San Francisco Giants (MLB), Seattle Sounders FC (MLS), Golden State Warriors (NBA) and Arizona Coyotes (NHL) are displaying Instagram Stories for the first time this fall. Broadcast networks are also jumping on the trend in a big way – including Telemundo and the Golf Channel who are displaying Instagram Stories live on-air for the first time.
“There’s a huge market opportunity for the integration of live social content across displays” said Josh Decker, CEO of Tagboard. “Brands are not only leveraging live content to tell stories in a more impactful way, but also driving unprecedented engagement as they display it across screens and bring conversations across communities together. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the Eagles and other pro sports teams, brands and broadcast networks.”
With live social content and displays now seeing higher engagement than other media types, new sponsorship opportunities are also emerging for brands. McDonald’s recently sponsored a board at an Oklahoma Sooners football game, while Miller Light sponsored social content by the Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers during games.
UGC In Real Time
Another big benefit with social media displays is the lift in organic engagement brands are seeing as fans share their own user-generated content (UGC) live in the moment.
Pabst Blue Ribbon is a great example. The popular beer brand is leveraging Tagboard to display live social content across their websites and at their Project Pabst music festivals across country, with a focus on highlighting content from fans.
“Together with Tagboard, we’ve created a real-time social experience at Project Pabst events where we’re pulling live content from all the top social platforms,” said Paul Meyers, Director, Digital & Social Media Marketing at Pabst Brewing. “This allows all concert goers and Pabst fans to share in the experience together by posting images with hashtag #ProjectPabst. These images appear on two large LED displays throughout the festival and encourage a great experience for both our fans and our brand.”
In addition to displaying live social content, Tagboard makes it easier for brands to discover the latest UGC across keywords, phrases, accounts and hashtags. Brands can also quickly request the rights and permission to share the UGC through the platform. In the past year, Pabst has seen engagement for its content increase by 2 to 3 times when using Tagboard.
“As a brand, Pabst Blue Ribbon makes a deliberate choice to focus on reaching our fans and drinkers where they choose to spend their time – live social media,” said Meyers. “In a lot of ways our drinkers are the mouthpiece for the brand. Tagboard allows us to see virtually every piece of content about our brand and we, in turn, share the very best of that content to our Pabst Blue Ribbon pages.”
This article originally appeared on Forbes.