Everyone’s A Part Of The Team: The Technological Role Of Audiences In Sports

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The shift from consumers to prosumers has been very rapid with the rise of social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, which has brought on new phenomenons, such as the hashtag.

This dynamic is present in a dialogic media platform, the internet; which is a platform in which your message can be directly broadcast to anyone without any interfering restrictions. Some companies choose to use this in a way that encourages the audience to engage with them, and the more activities they are engaged in, the more of the audience they grasp.

This is the case with most major professional sports, in my case, the National Basketball Association (NBA) in America.

The NBA and its teams regularly tweet to the fans, utilizing hashtags and encouraging this audience to engage back with them through the hashtag:

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 9.18.08 pm Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 9.17.19 pm

Audiences are not only engaging back with the NBA and its teams, during the annual all-star weekend, there are many competitions between individual players, and these are usually sponsored. Events such as the Slam Dunk Contest, Three-Point Shootout and the Rookie-Sophomore Challenge, encourage the viewers to tweet who they want to win based on their performance, who they think should win MVP for the game, and an array of other things.

An example of the audience directly affecting the outcome of a competition is the way the NBA ran its H-O-R-S-E game between two of some of the leagues best players – Stephen Curry and John Wall. The final shot they were to take was to be decided by a Twitter poll; the fans hash tagged 1 of 4 shots available, and the most popular shot was the one that Curry and/or Wall had to attempt.

I myself have now become a new type of NBA fan – the twitter fan. The media convergence that has taken place in the NBA is spear-headed by Twitter; when I can’t find a place to watch a game, the amount of twitter accounts I follow (which include NBA writers, analysts, commentators and former/current players) allow me to experience the game without watching a second of it. Every significant moment of the game is live-tweeted by all these accounts, and I sort through it using the appropriate hashtag (for example, if the Boston Celtics were playing against the Cleveland Cavaliers the hashtag would be “#BOSvCLE”.

The NBA also aims to make its audience feel one with their respective teams, this not only acts as a good marketing strategy, it allows them to comfort the audience into the NBA world by encouraging fans to get behind their team, interact with them on social media and speak up on the internet.

Above: an advertisement for NBA apparel, demonstrating the NBA’s aim to relate to their audience.

In the case of sports, especially the NBA, the switch from consumers to prosumers, have made the audience a very important extension of the teams themselves.

References:

“The rise and rise of twitter” Rogers, 2015: http://www.neurope.eu/article/the-rise-and-rise-of-twitter/

“The rise of Instagram, an app that has hardly changed for 4 years” Weigert, 2015: http://meshedsociety.com/the-rise-of-instagram-an-app-that-has-hardly-changed-for-4-years/

“The #Art of the Hashtag” Zoladz, 2014: http://pitchfork.com/features/ordinary-machines/9351-hashtags/

NYK Knicks Twitter Status 1, Apr 2014: https://twitter.com/nyknicks/status/499722623937679360

NYK Knicks Twitter Status 2, Apr 2014: https://twitter.com/nyknicks/status/458283270246236160

“Degree Men To Use Twitter Card Poll To Determine Shots IN Game Of Horse Between NBA All-Stars” Hall, 2015: http://marketingland.com/degree-men-uses-twitter-card-poll-determine-shots-game-horse-nba-stars-117902

“Join Your Team” NBA Advertisement, 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A01hqS49VMk&spfreload=10

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