The Five Trends for Social Media in Sports for 2016

Social media has served the sports world well. It gives a voice to every athlete, organization, and club regardless of popularity or size. Not everyone has taken advantage of this opportunity though therefore we look ahead to the changes that social media will bring in 2016.
Social media disappears 

Even though Facebook and Twitter combined have over 2 billion users worldwide it is becoming abundantly clear that the social media itself isn’t as important as what happens on social media: the people and the stories they share. That means that container concept “social media” is slowly disappearing. Buying advertisements on Facebook and Twitter is just seen as buying advertisements. The same goes for livestreams of events or sports games, whether you do it via Facebook Reporter or Periscope, or a deal is closed between Facebook and the NFL: it will always remain just watching sports. 

"Content is still king"

People and their adventures

People who share stories and experiences will continue to be the power of social media. This entails stories by top athletes and coaches, but especially the “normal” athletes. The love for sports rests with the fans, the amateur athletes, and the parents of athletes. That’s where the energy stems from, that’s where the content and the connections come from. Capturing the energy and using it to promote the sport will be the big challenge for 2016. 

"'social media' is slowly disappearing"

Personal Brands

Those of you who have been following Týrsday for a longer period of time already know: personal brands are our forté. Talent seldom denies itself and is the guide to the world overflowing with content. Athletes appear to be the most trustworthy and committed talents. Regardless of all the dark clouds that hang above sports (doping, fraud, bribery), athletes tend remain free of bad associations. In fact, their star rises ever higher. This has important ramifications for where the sponsor money goes. Increasingly it is the athletes and their websites. 

Messenger Services

The excess and obscurity of social media have delivered a different, silent, winner: the messengers. From WhatsApp to Facebook Messenger and iMessage to Snapchat; 1 on 1 and group communication is back from the dead stronger, bigger and with more users. Watch out for the first athletes that communicate with fans over Whatsapp or the goal alerts that will be sent to you via messaging services this year. 

"social media have delivered a different, silent, winner"

It’s all about context

Content is still king. This existing trend leads to, amongst other things, extremely expensive live rights for sports games. In 2016 we will see a new wave of content rise up: the adventures of athletes and the stories surrounding the live content. These new stories have value when placed in the correct context, linked to live events but providing a different angle. In that way you provide a completely different need. Stories ensure immersion and long lasting commitment, outside of the field of play as well. This digital context is the ideal place for sponsors to maximize their impact. 

The blog above previously appeared - in an adapted form - at  SportNEXT   

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