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Why Twitter dominates the social sports arena

Caitlin McGarry | Sept. 20, 2013
Twitter is a home run for connecting directly with fans, building a social platform, and keeping the excitement going after the game ends.

"My view on traditional game-day experiences is that they're pretty fragmented—they send you one place for news, photos, another for stats, another for social media," Morgan said. "We built this experience so it's dynamic. It has up-to-date stats plus social media."

Direct connect
SportStream realized that teams need help with social media, especially ones who don't have staff devoted to keeping up their social presences. Other sports organizations have the social media system down pat. A team-specific approach offers a much narrower view—but it's essential to attract the diehard fans who want to interact directly with their favorite franchises.

One team in particular, the San Francisco Giants, is widely considered one of the best at using Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to communicate with fans, perhaps because of its Silicon Valley DNA. The team has amassed more than 520,000 Twitter followers, nearly 300,000 Instagram followers, and 1.7 million Facebook likes—not too shabby.

Bryan Srabian has been the voice of the Giants on Twitter for four seasons and knows what the people want: basics.

"The starting lineup, any team information, keeping them up to date on player transactions, what's happening in the game—that's where a team can get creative and then customize [the tweets] to what their fan base wants," Srabian said. "More so than any other sport, baseball has such a strong connection with fans."

Twitter helps the Giants keep that connection strong, especially during the off-season. Srabian said it's easy to keep the excitement flowing when the Giants are playing well—or they're in the World Series, like they were last year—but during the slow, baseball-less winter months, social media keeps fans' spirit high.

There's no real rulebook for sports teams on Twitter. Srabian said he learned by figuring out what fans responded to. Certain types of posts—opening lineups, contests, and promotions—are always popular. But figuring out what makes Giants fans tick is something no app can do—at least not yet.

"I'm in San Francisco, and there are a lot of startups around us and a lot of buzz around the Giants, [so] I do get to hear about apps and demo them," Srabian said. "I do think that we've done a good job of connecting with our fans on existing networks. [That's] not to say there won't be something in the near future that could change that. A company comes to us, says, 'Hey, we can curate all of your Twitter streams into one and you can really talk to your fans.' [But] unless it's completely better than what we have now...we're always looking for ways to improve, but it really has to wow you and show that you can move the needle."

 

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