Sports Coursework

Question

Students will submit a sports management report worth 150 points. Report topics must be related to the course and its content (review chapter topics for ideas). Contact me if you have any questions or concerns about your topic. 
Reports should be a minimum length of 1,500 words, not including title page and references (minimum 2 referred journals). All reports be should be double-spaced, 1-inch margins, Times New Roman, size 12 font, and follow APA guidelines. 
The report should contain the following components: 
-Title Page -Introduction -Sport Topic -Lessons Learned -Summary and Conclusions -References 

The topic for this paper would be social media in professional and college teams. How professional and college teams use social media in similar and different ways.

Two journals as references.

Answer

Social Media Use in Professional and College Teams

Contents

Introduction. 2

Social Media Use in Professional and College Teams. 2

Lessons Learned. 5

Summary and Conclusions. 6

References. 8

Introduction

Social media has become a dominant aspect of life in today’s information age. Its use in professional contexts continues to increase dramatically. Today, many people rely on social media to gather information on their favorite sports teams. Similarly, college sports fraternities are increasingly relying on its power to mobilize supporters. The widespread accessibility of the Internet makes it easy for sports organizers to reach out to different stakeholders. In the future, the world of sports will be increasingly reliant on this technological tool considering that most social media users are young people who also happen to be the most ardent fans of various sports clubs at both college and professional levels. It will continue to provide a powerful platform for branding and communication between players and fans. Developing an effective social media strategy is the greatest challenge confronting the sports industry. To avoid alienating fans and sponsors, sports organizers and managers must reorient their social media activities regularly in response to emerging online trends.

Social Media Use in Professional and College Teams

In recent years, social media has greatly enhanced communication and connectivity among individuals and social groups across the world (Merkel, 2013). In sports, it has transformed the way marketing activities such as promotions are undertaken. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn provide an excellent platform for college and professional athletes to seek fans’ views. Conversely, fans rely on the same platforms to get first-hand information regarding their favorite teams’ latest performances.

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            Meanwhile, one of the sports-related activities that have been revolutionized by social media is ticketing. Prior to the emergence of online interaction platforms, fans had to queue outside sports stadiums to pay for tickets. Today, the new systems provide a convenient portal through which fans can purchase a ticket from a remote location. Using smartphones, they can generate digital entry tickets that can be verified using code scanners at various entry points within sports stadiums. Similarly, cancellation is easy, and this flexibility greatly contributes to an increase in sales since buyers are attracted to the idea of purchasing a ticket with the knowledge that it can be returned if not used.

At the same time, professional football teams are increasingly putting in place measures for harnessing the power of social media. For instance, they continue to prioritize online marketing through interactions between fans and athletes, advertisements, public relations, sponsorships, and sale of merchandise (Wallace, Wilson & Miloch, 2011). In this regard, a major challenge is the multidimensionality of this new phenomenon. Management teams are exposed to diverse platforms that promise to deliver equally beneficial outcomes. However, each approach has its own set of drawbacks, which may remain unknown owing to the newness of the social media phenomenon. One dominant method entails using social media to connect with fans with a view to attracting sponsors (Merkel, 2013). Their role in sports cannot be overlooked since they provide finance, in addition, to control, either directly or indirectly, the dynamics of college and professional sports.

Moreover, there are many situations in which sponsors themselves are involved in the branding activities of a sports team. In this case, the corporate entities seek to leverage their existing sales promotion channels to enhance the visibility of their respective teams’ brands. In some cases, a sponsor may choose to target a specific athlete in its ongoing online marketing campaigns. The objective of this strategy is to create a mutually beneficial arrangement that fosters both parties’ commercial interests. The main challenge associated with this approach is the resulting erosion of a sense of equality among team players. Those who are not frequently targeted by sponsors for endorsements may feel humiliated or discriminated against, and this may impact negatively on their performance.

            In football, the power of social media is being harnessed aggressively as part of efforts by club management teams and their sponsors to tap into new ways of harnessing the financial potential that comes with a growing fan base. A popular football club like Barcelona has millions of fans, the majority of whom are potential buyers of the club’s merchandise and tickets. For these fans, football is not just a sport but also a way of life. They monitor progress in various national, regional, and continental football leagues mostly via social media. However, the complex bureaucratic system involving sponsors, players, managers, in the sport makes the integration of online platforms a difficult undertaking.

Fortunately, as young people, most athletes are active in social media and are able to develop and main strong relationships with their fans (Merkel, 2013). Many of them, rely on public relations teams to promote their personal brands and those of their respective clubs on social media. Consequently, they are able to land lucrative deals involving product promotion and endorsements. In this undertaking, they may face the challenge of striking a balance between personal and club brand. If not properly monitored, the public relations efforts may trigger conflict between players’ agents and club management teams.

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On the other hand, privacy is a major challenge as far as social media use is concerned. Many college athletes tend to make unwise decisions in the way they share information online. They may innocently join controversial online groups leading to public outcry and media backlash. Similarly, social media updates are always being subjected to public exposure. Consequently, there are many situations where a sponsor may express reservations about a particular athlete’s message probably because of the stance it portrays in regards to a controversial social issue. Therefore, online communication has subjected college and professional athletes to greater public scrutiny than ever before.

Lessons Learned

There are many lessons to be learned from this analysis of social media use. Evidently, they point towards the need for sports managers to come up with a coherent social media strategy that is responsive to changes in the world of online communication. To begin with, it is evident that if properly used in areas like ticketing, branding, and interactions with fans, social media can lead to tremendous benefits for both sports teams and their sponsors. Moreover, supporters of these teams stand to benefit a lot by sharing crucial updates regarding their favorite teams’ performances.

In developing a social media strategy, sports managers should be careful with their choice of dimension. There are numerous approaches to choose from, including those that embrace individual players’ active participation in fostering interaction with fans while simultaneously endorsing their teams’ activities (Wallace, Wilson & Miloch, 2011). Some dimensions may inadvertently lead to a sense of inequality among athletes, thereby impacting negatively on team performance. Owing to lack of experience, college teams may be more prone to this problem than their professional counterparts. Conversely, professional teams may be affected by bureaucratic bottlenecks and internal politics more profoundly than their college counterparts due to the high commercial stakes that characterize the former. These factors should be put into consideration when determining the choice of players to provide online endorsements, the stance to be taken on various social issues in online communication, and the regularity of online media updates.

Accordingly, social media backlash is a major concern for both college and professional teams (Wallace, Wilson & Miloch, 2011). Lack of proper coordination greatly contributes to a situation in which players or managers post inappropriate, misleading, prejudicial, derogatory, abusive, or inaccurate information on social media. The public may perceive such messages to represent a team’s official position. To avoid such problems, team leaders should work together with public relations managers to scrutinize the accuracy and appropriateness of all messages before they are posted online.

Similarly, the team manager has always faced a daunting task of aligning the interests of individual players with those of the club. In today’s digital age, this challenge has become more momentous because each player has numerous opportunities to express his/her fears, hopes, aspirations, frustrations, and expectations at a personal level in front of the public via social media (Wallace, Wilson & Miloch, 2011; Merkel, 2013). Incidentally, such communication plays a vital role in shaping public expectations regarding team performance. In extreme cases, it is relied on by investors in decision-making regarding major sponsorships. Thus, team managers must endeavor to regulate the nature and content of online communication among athletes and their agents. In college sports, an excellent way in which the problem can be addressed is through the hiring of in-house teams to manage all stakeholders’ online communication.

Summary and Conclusions

Social media plays a vital role in today’s information age, particularly in college and professional sports. With the growing popularity of online communication, this role will continue to shape interactions between athletes and fans in numerous ways. However, team managers face a herculean task of implementing online communication strategies whose pitfalls are largely unknown due to the absence of precedents. Nevertheless, the world of new media continues to bring about numerous benefits particularly in the areas of ticketing, branding, sponsorships, and endorsements. It has become easy for fans to follow the performance of their favorite teams, to purchase tickets, and even to interact with famous athletes. On the other hand, athletes and the teams they play for are overly exposed to public scrutiny. They encounter challenges in their efforts to express themselves online as private individuals and as members of a team. Similarly, striking a balance between personal and club brand is a challenging task for both college and professional athletes.

To address these challenges, stakeholders in the sports industry should focus primarily on the lessons learned particularly in regards to adaptive and multidimensional aspects of online communication. Such an approach will enable them to address emerging challenges. At the same time, it will create an environment where fans and sponsors are not alienated from clubs’ social media activities. Similarly, managers of college and professional teams should embrace individual players’ active participation in fostering interaction with fans while simultaneously endorsing their clubs’ activities. However, they should discourage them from engaging in online interactions that may lead to social media backlash and subsequent public resentment.

References

Merkel, D. (2013). Youth sport: Positive and negative impact on young athletes. Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine, 4, 151-160.

Wallace, L., Wilson, J. & Miloch, K. (2011). Sporting Facebook: A content analysis of NCAA organizational sports pages and big 12 conference athletic department pages. International Journal of Sport Communication, 4, 422-444.

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