7 Apps, Websites, And Stadiums At The Forefront Of Sports Media Innovation

Tensions have run high between Kansas City and the Bay Area ever since those plucky west Missourians earned the honor of being city number one for Google Fiber installation, overshadowing the less publicized beta launch on Stanford’s campus. That history is sure to motivate the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals as they clash in this year’s World Series, starting tonight.

Well, maybe not, but Uncubed will use the occasion as an excuse to talk sports – namely, sports media, a landscape long dominated by that fratty, four-lettered behemoth from Bristol, Connecticut known as ESPN. From new broadcasting formats to futuristic stadiums to an athletes-only publication, Uncubed shares the lowdown on how sports media are finally escaping the shackles of complacency.

Players’ Ball

The dawn of Twitter brought with it something novel for sports fans: unfettered, instant access to many of their favorite athletes’ thoughts. Derek Jeter’s newly launched sports journal, The Players’ Tribune, gives athletes a new platform – an online magazine with a staff of athlete essayists. Since soft-launching at the start of October, Players’ Tribune pieces have addressed topics from domestic violence to Donald Sterling, offering thoughtful takes on hot-button issues in place of careful interview answers and publicist statements.

Voices In Your Head

A few months ago, we reported on SecondMic, which lets fans choose which broadcaster (or podcaster) they listen to during a game instead of being stuck with subpar commentators. With TOK.tv, enjoying an alternative audio feed while watching the game becomes participatory. Up to four remotely scattered friends can audio chat while browsing the app’s interface for game updates. Suddenly, watching your hometown team from across the country becomes a bit less lonely.

All In The Community

If Facebook is like a giant high school cafeteria, think of FanCred as the locker room (sans nudity). The iOS app creates a digital scrapbook for sports fans to share their excitement and exasperation in real time. On the other side of the spectrum, social networks for aspiring athletes are also cropping up – FieldLevel helps four-year college coaches connect with high school and junior college coaches in the recruiting process, and BeRecruited serves as a LinkedIn for aspiring college athletes.

Crowd Fun

A day out at the stadium is rife with tradition – the same chants, the same lines, the same overpriced hot dogs. Levi’s Stadium, the new stadium of the San Francisco 49ers, is changing all that. In-house apps enable line tracking, food and beverage delivery, and streaming video of other games in action. The public reception has been mixed due to various bugs, and there’s still no app for inadequate leg room, but other stadiums are sure to follow the tech-ready model.

Social Media at Sochi: The Impact of Facebook, Twitter & Instagram

The Olympics have always been a time where nations gather around television sets worldwide, and watch to see how their country’s athletes measure up in the grand scheme of things. What’s different this time around, is that social media has evolved so much that this is not the only view we’re getting of the Olympics.

Because of the power of social media, athletes’ freedom to post whatever they want has been suppressed by the International Olympic Committee. Sharing on different social media outlets has become so influential that guidelines needed to be provided as to what was considered acceptable. This advisory apparently does not apply to journalists covering the event, who have been posting their less than livable sleeping quarters. There’s even a Twitter handle named @SochiProblems, giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the games that they would not have been privy to otherwise. The focus on the Olympics now becomes not just about the games but also the conditions surrounding it. In fact, the supplementary Olympics content being shared on social media may be getting more buzz and overshadowing the games themselves.

Instagram was launched in October of 2010, so it didn’t even make the February 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. This has given us an entirely different avenue to view Olympic content. Adhering to the guidelines that the IOC has set forth, athletes have been posting photos in their uniforms, videos from their practices, and documenting iconic moments, like the Opening Ceremony. This way of sharing content has become so influential, that even a publication like The New York Times is posting Instagram compilation articles. That being said, Instagram and Vine videos are also new to the games. These outlets are not only creating a way for viewers to become a part of the conversation but are also becoming another way to document history.

According to metered-market results, the television ratings for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics was down, Forbes commented on the lackluster spectacle as well, but it didn’t stop numerous outlets from “live blogging” about the event. The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo, Mashable and more, all were providing their own play by plays in real time, commenting on what was being aired. This of course wasn’t live, since the ceremony was air-delayed for the US and sparked a negative backlash on Twitter with the hashtag #NBCFail, proving once again, the voice of the viewer and the exponential growth of social media since the last games.

This year’s Olympics in Sochi are a perfect example of the influential power that social media has on everything. It can completely change our view of an iconic event like the Olympics because we’re now getting more than the one view of what we’re seeing on TV. In the future, I can see our experience evolving to include something similar to Google Glass, so we can feel like we’re walking around at the Olympics, while never leaving the comfort of our own home. Until then, we can always live vicariously through participant’s Vine videos or whatever sharable media they come up with next.

Want more Vine and Instagram? Make sure you check out Nokia’s Now Studio at Campus next week! We’ll have on-hand stars from the platform to show you how to maximize shortform content.

More interested in dealing with regulation? Then, you’ll want to check out our special three-hour track with LiveWorld/Pfizer.

Stephanie Carino has spent over the past 10 years working in the city in the Fashion, Food and Event industries. She currently works in the PR Department at leading Technology and Business Book Publisher, Apress. On the side, she also writes event coverage and reviews for, Socially Superlative, a NYC-based event website, covering predominantly food, travel and entertainment stories. Connect with Stephanie on Twitter.

Miami Heat Win the 2012 “NBA Social Playoffs” (Infographic)

This post originally appeared on theScore. 

What do the NBA Playoffs look like through the eyes of social and factored in social media presences? Well, it would have LeBron James of the Miami Heat winning his first finals MVP. theScore has run some interesting analytics with our old friends at Sysomos and found that James beats Kobe Bryant, placing the Los Angeles Lakers into second spot.

The road to the finals was a tough one, with factors such as: Facebook likes, Twitter followers, Google+ circles and Twitter Interactions to decide each round of the bracket.

NBA Social Media Playoff Key Findings*:

  • Most Connected: The team with the most overall connections (Likes, Followers and Google+ Circles) was the Boston Celtics with more than seven million.
  • Least Connected in the League: The team with the least overall connections was also the league’s worst performer on the court (and worst winning percentage in NBA history)- the Charlotte Bobcats with just over 166,000 total connections.
  • Most Interactions on Twitter: The team with the most interactions (@reply’s, RT’s and tweets) was the Miami Heat (@MiamiHEAT) with over 1 Million during the season.
  • Least Interactions on Twitter for a Playoff Team: The team with the least interactions who made the playoffs was the Indiana Pacers with 212,000.
  • Total Connections: The total of NBA Team Connections on their official Facebook Fan Pages (Likes), Twitter handles (Follows) and Google+ (Circles) pages compiles to over 55 million.
  • Linsanity: There were more than 3.1 million tweets about Linsanity or Jeremy Lin – more than the sum of all tweets to or from the official handles of all Eastern Conference teams (2.8 million)
  • NBA Mentions: “NBA” was mentioned more than 18.6 million times on Twitter throughout the season. More than 3x that of the NHL or the MLB
  • Kardashian Effect: Lamar Odom who was actually released by the Dallas Mavericks on April 9th due to his poor play and inconsistency, managed to find himself in the power rankings of most followed players in the NBA. This is possibly due to his marriage to reality TV megastar Khloe Kardashian, who has more than 6.7 million followers.

In this simulation Kobe cost the Lakers the championship. If Kobe ever does join Twitter, will he overtake LeBron?  And would his following be enough to close the gap to defeat the Heat’s collective following?


*Note all statistics were as of April 26, 2012, the final day of the 2011-2012 NBA Regular Season
*For all twitter data – popular social media monitoring solution Sysomos was used.

Sports, Gaming, and Social Media

This post is a series of blogs contributed by SMW NYC media partner Differences Magazine. To learn more about Differences Magazine and to see the original post by Vivian Nunez, please click here


Watching any kind of sports game has always been considered a very social experience, but in the last few years that social experience has transitioned more and more into a social media experience. Many of the questions that were addressed in the first half of the panel had to do with social media and whether its involvement in sports would take away from the integrity of the sporting event. The overall verdict was that a balance needed to be reached between physical “in the moment” interaction and virtual interaction with sporting events.

Sports networks have begun to use mass relevance as the perfect gateway to incorporate social media into the sports experience. They have also been using mass relevance as the perfect way to bridge the gap between those experiencing the event live and those tuning in through other platforms. The advantage to this particular kind of interaction is the conversation that emerges as a result. Many young adults are as plugged in to the TV set as they are to their smart phones while watching sports; the use of mass relevance really allows their voice to be heard regardless of where they are watching the event from.

Social media has also been incorporated into the everyday life of sports through its athletes. MLS, NBA, NFL, MLB, and the NHL all have athletes that connect to their audience through Twitter and although that interaction really helps leverage the brand as a whole, its most important contribution is the relationship it establishes. The use of social media cuts out the middleman that tends to exist between a fan and his favorite athlete. For the young adult demographic it is monumental to be able to speak or share thoughts with your favorite athlete or sports personality through Twitter, Google+, or any other social media platform.

The integration of social media into the sporting event really assists each sporting channel because as stated in the panel “fans are the insider perspective of games”, a lens you can get no where else. As a result, the Millennial generation can relate more to a game if they are also able to capture the moment and update their friends about it. The best aspect of being able to use social media through the season is that it is also as easy to get information during off-season, a win-win for both the sports brands and the sports aficionados.

The same theory of social media interaction in sports events is found in the gaming world. The gaming world might even be using it to a greater extent because it is their only base to be able to compare how good they are versus how good everyone else. Nonetheless the idea is the same, if social media was incorporated correctly and information was not only stated but used to start conversations the sports industry and it’s audience would benefit endlessly from it.

From Sideline to Byline: Unleashing Social Media on the Sports World

Matt Wurst is Manager of Digital Communities at 360i. You can follow him on Twitter @mwurst.

The sports world has always been defined by lines.

Some lines are visible for all to see. Games are played within the lines. Scoring in football or soccer means getting the ball across the goal line. Basketball shooters are rewarded with more points for hitting a shot from behind a three-point line. In tennis, the line is in. In volleyball, the line is out. Lines keep runners in their lanes. Batting orders are written on a lineup card.

Then there are the lines that exist outside the field of play. The rules of the game are defined by lines in a rule book. Even off-the-field/court conduct is restricted by rules to prevent athletes from going “over the line.” Bettors make wagers based on lines. Athletes even feed lines to the media that later show up as quotes in lines of print articles. Fans and media watch the games from the sidelines.

Unleashing Social Media on the Sports World, today’s panel discussion hosted by the New York Times, featured the perspectives of league official, blogger, beat writer and fan to discuss how the non-linear rise of social media is blurring some lines while hardening others.

In the hour-long Q&A session, die-hard New York Jets fan and “wine guy” Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) and the panelists shared examples of how social media has blurred the line between spectator sports and participation sports yet strengthened the lines of communication from athlete to fan.

Michael DiLorenzo (@NHLdilo), the Director of Social Media and Business Communications for the National Hockey League, discussed how the league and teams use Twitter to “satisfy the emotional craving fans have to be directly connected” to their favorite teams.”

“Social media is the sunshine and water that helps grow the passion of fans,” DiLorenzo said. “It also provides the shortest distance between, in our case, league and fans.”

Michael DiLorenzo starts the conversation early via Twitter.
Michael DiLorenzo starts the pre-event conversation via Twitter.

Of course, whereas sports used to be a world where athletes played and fans watched, the access that some athletes grant has its pros and cons. If done right, the benefits far outweigh the risks. However to do it right, athletes need to really invest in it and be authentic.

“If they aren’t authentic, this new era of transparency will run right over you,” said Jim Bankoff (@bankoff), the Chairman and CEO of SB Nation, a sports fan blog network.

With so many parties – the athletes, teams, leagues, agents and representatives – all having a vested interest in the message, the issue of control remains. But it is an issue that is being worked out across different sports and with varying degrees of success. Remember, access to athletes has been carefully managed for decades. There are pre-determined times before and after games when athletes can and cannot talk to the media. The NBA has implemented a similar rule about tweeting before and after games.

For Matthew Cerrone (@matthewcerrone), the founder of metsblog.com, social media has blurred the line between journalist and fan. The site started in 2003 as a hobby, but he now covers the team on a daily basis and serves as a conduit between players and Mets fans.

Sports journalism is changing as reporters adopt a more digital mindset. Writers and broadcasters are breaking news on Twitter. Game recaps are secondary projects after in-game live blogging or tweeting wraps up. But where is the line between journalist and fan now that anyone with an opinion and enough money to pay web hosting fees can become a blogger.

According to the Focus “State of the Blogosphere 2009,” 41% of bloggers describe their style as ”journalistic.“ But do they conduct interviews, research a topic or fact-check like journalists of yesteryear?

Vaynerchuk believes that the best, no matter the medium they use, will stand out for being capable storytellers. For New York Times baseball writer Tyler Kepner (@tylerkepner), journalists present multiple angles and perspectives, painting a fuller picture of how and why.

“As a journalist, you have to stand behind what you write or say,“ Kepner said. “When breaking news, you can tweet it out first, then get to work on the rest of the article or blog.”

But perhaps the greatest impact that social media has had in sports is how it strengthens the lines of communication between fans.

The immediacy of information is staggering and the volume of conversation is overwhelming. Social tools make it easier to connect fans of the same team and find communities to join. And we’ve really just scratched the surface, too. Geo-targeting will facilitate fan connections between friends and strangers on living room couches and inside stadiums. Enhanced filters will reduce the clutter and noise of extraneous conversations and better mobile devices will guarantee that we can always have a voice.

Except for the bicyclist sitting directly in front of me, there were no athletes to speak of in the room. NBA and MLB league execs? Sure. More sports bloggers than I could read in a lifetime? You bet. But despite what our business cards said, we were just a small community of sports and social media fans tweeting to each other from across the room, re-tweeting handles, sharing quotes and direct messaging.

And I know I’m not the only one who took part in today’s dialogue that is looking forward to the NFL’s own foray into social… the first ever official Super Bowl hashtag on Twitter, #SB44, kicking off this weekend!

“Sports exists for conversation,” Bankoff said. “And there has never been a better time to be a sports fan than right now.”