Social Media and Sports

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Has social media’s impact on the professional sports
world been positive or negative?

Social media has made a massive impact on our culture. One of the areas that has not been affected is professional sports. In today’s world, professional sports teams and players from around the world use social media to connect with their global fan bases. Sports teams attempt to build a larger, stronger fan base by engaging fans through social media sites. Additionally, social media sites allow professional athletes to increase their marketability. However, they can also severely damage their career, personal life, and their ‘brand’ if they do not handle their social media interactions with care (Van Schaik). Twitter and Facebook allow teams and players to be interactive and personal with fans. They can use these platforms to not only deliver basic team news updates, but to share information about autograph signings, charity events, or ticket specials too. One of the most important aspects of any sports team is that they have a loyal, growing fan base that feels like they are valued and appreciated. Therefore, these fans will stand by their team through thick and thin. Social media provides the perfect opportunity for that. Sports teams and athletes are becoming more and more efficient at using social media to create a positive impact on their team and their fan’s. One of the positive impacts of social media on professional sports is the ability to share news and information with fans through it. Social media websites are beginning to replace sports radio and cable networks as the dominant places to find the latest breaking sports news. It seems more and more sports fans are turning to the internet for the latest sports news, updates, and information about their favorite teams or players. More specifically, fans are utilizing social sites such as Facebook and Twitter. In fact, fans are 10 times more likely to check Facebook or Twitter for their sports news than sports radio. Also, an overwhelming 81% of fans prefer the Internet for their sports information over any other platform (Blakley). Fans just are checking social media before or after the games either. More than 80% of fans interact via social media while watching games (Altobelli). I can attest to these statistics because I am one of this growing majority. There are a few reasons I choose to use the Internet and social media for my sports news instead of sports radio or TV. First off, with social media and the Internet I am able to find information about my favorite player or team instantly. With TV or sports radio, you basically have to take the information as it is given. For example, ESPN chooses to focus on teams from major cities like New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago. Very rarely will I be able to find daily updates on an injured Minnesota Twins player by watching Sportscenter. Instead, I can click on over to the Minnesota Twin’s Facebook page or Twitter and find daily injury updates. Another upside to social media in this situation is that it is up to the minute information. Most sports radio shows or cable networks discuss what happened yesterday in the sports news world. Social media is constantly updating so there is a plethora of new information always streaming. Lastly, I prefer social media over the other forms of sports news because they are readily available to me. Sports radio and ESPN are not always as mobile as I would like. I am not able to take Sportscenter into the car with me. Also, I do not have a reliable sports radio station to listen to in my area. At times I can get KFAN from the Twin Cities, but not on a consistent basis. Therefore, any sports radio news updates come about once an hour and are quite brief. Additionally, I spend a lot of time at my girlfriend’s cabin during the summer months. At her cabin, they only have a few basic local channels. ESPN is not available. As a result, I turn to social media and my cell phone for sports news....
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