Sports have always been one of the topics that interests me the most. As a communication major, I aspire to become a sports writer or broadcaster in the future. Therefore, my ideal topic for this capstone project will revolve around sports, more specifically “The Beautiful Game,” or soccer as we know it. Within the sport of soccer, my intention is to dig deeper into this broad topic and focus exclusively on the MLS and its growth in the U.S. The MLS has grown drastically over the last decade, from knocking up their number of professional club teams to 22 to incorporating world class players from all over the world, the MLS steps firm in its intention of becoming a major professional sports league in this country.
With that said, within the topic of digital communication, my intention is to tie the MLS with social media, and how networks such as Facebook, Twitter or Youtube, have helped to brand the MLS and furthermore expand its popularity in this country. The MLS is active on many social media networks and the engagement level in all these networks is quite high. For instance, looking at their Google Plus account, the MLS has more followers than the NFL,MLB,or the NHL. Their YouTube channel has over 180,000 subscribers and they nearly 650,000 followers on Twitter as well. Their aggressive pursuit of social media not only makes it much easier for fans to engage with the sport but also raises the visibility of the sport across the country.
Research #1 Digital-Branding and Social-Media Strategies for Professional Athletes, Sports Teams, and Leagues: An Interview With Digital Royalty’s Amy Martin
Keywords: Social Media, Digital-Branding, Sports Leagues, Marketing.
This article revolves around Amy Martin, a marketing executive and social media consultant who has worked with numerous sports affiliates such as the Phoenix Suns, Chicago White Sox, Shaq O’neal, the UFC etc. Martin provides insightful information on how sports leagues are reaching out to social media in order to help their brand and get it out there to the public. With her knowledge in sports marketing and branding, this article allows for a deeper understanding of why and how sports leagues and affiliates find social media so crucial in their efforts to brand their leagues. Furthermore, Martin offers her experiences in working with brands like the Shaquille O’neill name and what she’s had to learn and adapt to in order to market the brand. Tying this with my topic, I think it offers great insight information on how social media can play an important part in branding a league, in this case the MLS, and helping it grow.
Research #2: Meeting Relationship-Marketing Goals Through Social Media: A Conceptual Model for Sport Marketers
Keywords: sport marketing, web 2.0, prosumer, digital media
This abstract focuses on the relationship-building process between consumer and brand. More specifically, it focuses on sports marketing and the importance of social media in building relationships with audience and consumers. The article goes on to examine the effect that brands can have within their consumers when incorporating them into their gameplay. Social media is crucial in this process as sports brands such as the MLS, NBA, NFL take advantage of the broad range of possibilities social media provides to engage their fans and grow their brand. Not only does this process help boost fan-loyalty, but as the article describes it is a key-relationship marketing goal that is so important for the brand to grow. In my case, the article provides insightful information on how the MLS as a sport marketing brand appeals to social media to grow their name and expand their popularity among fans in the country.
Research #3: Relationship Marketing and Social Media in Sport
Keywords: sports, opportunities and challenges, social media
This article digs into the relationships between social media and marketing in sports. The main idea focuses on building-relationships with consumers in an effort to expand the brand. It doesn’t necessarily talk about a major sport league like the MLS or the NBA but it does provide context on the why’s and how’s of social media in sports. It goes on to analyze the impact audiences can have on these sport brands when they are actively engaged and are being asked to participate. According to the article, effective customer engagement leads to successful marketing of the brand. Social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Youtube are analyzed as part of the study and are given emphasizes. This pairs well with my research since these are the three main social media networks that I want to focus on when it comes to my study.