How social media is changing sports

The development of technology has brought social media to the masses, since television and radio are both slower and are considered antiquated to the new Generation-Z fans. Social media is undoubtedly a great marketing tool for anything, from the nobodies to the celebrity, and sports teams are no different. 

“I use the Annandale Twitter page that Mr. Aldenderfer runs,” Said Lacrosse and Football Coach Bill Maglisceau, “If we ever did something, like when the lacrosse team volunteered at a clinic youth, or when there’s any change in schedules, I’d just send a picture and description, and he’ll tweet it out.”

It is safe to say that every established sports team has a dedicated Instagram or Twitter page for their fans to keep up with their progress. These two incentivize the production of compressed information, and they are optimized for the mobile user, which is perfect for people’s short attention span these days.

For example, Twitter allows only 280 words in one tweet, so every tweet contains only the essential information. Instagram shifts the significance of words to photos by making font sizes of the description smaller than the pictures.

Many people are deeply passionate sports fans, and talk about their social media engagement. “I’m a big fan of the Oakland Raiders, grew up loving them because my mom’s family lived in San Fran,” Senior Peter Epperly said. “ Being very, very committed to the Raiders, I don’t really follow any team other than the Raiders for the NFL. Instead, I follow their every move, watch every game, even rewatching them. I monitor their transactions, all the players they signed, traded, and drafted for. I even research the players they could possibly sign, trade or draft for the team.”

Other than the Raiders, he also follows the NFL, NBA, college football, college basketball, watches the MLB on occasions, and even the Olympics. 

When asked about how he felt whenever the Raiders lose, he states, “I do hate seeing my raiders losing but I always watch until the end.” 

A simple statement that showcases his loyalty for the Raiders that would last through thick and thin.

This investment in the Raiders, not surprisingly, gave him a serious opinion on team loyalty, “If you follow multiple teams, you don’t get as much enjoyment out of seeing them succeed, like if you’re cheering for a team during a 4-12 season and then they go 12-4, you’ll feel like you succeeded too.” 

Epperly uses a large range of  sources to keep himself informed, “All of this information I got, I see it on social media, more times than not I see it first on fan pages, NFL websites, YouTube channels, and the Raiders websites.”

Another NFL fan, Senior Salvon Simmavong said, “I follow everything out of interest but I’m a Chicago Bears fan so that’s where my focus is. I follow most of their players on Twitter, also the official team account on Twitter and Instagram.”

Although Simmavong is a Bears fan, she doesn’t seem to be as serious as Epperly when it comes to teams other than her favorite.

 “I also keep track of the Steelers, Redskins, Raiders, and Packers (because they’re our rivals), I’m a Bears fan always but I just like watching the stats of other teams.” Simmavong said.

Aside from the two main social media platforms, she also uses the ESPN app to keep informed about the stats of other teams. 

“Although the Bears do lose to the Packers quite often, I’m a realistic fan, so when we lose, we lose. It sucks but I’m not gonna go all out and act like we’re the greatest out there. I acknowledge the pros and cons of both defense and offense of both teams” She added. 

Of the three people interviewed, Senior Alieu Kamara had the least passion for factions.

“I like watching anything involving two teams whenever they get interesting, but I don’t have a favorite team that I commit myself to,” 

He explained this lack of investment to any singular sports team.

“I don’t really root for a team because that’s usually for people who grew up loving the sport since day one. since I didn’t get into basketball until middle school, at that point, having a favorite team didn’t really serve a purpose anymore I guess.” 

However, it’s worth noting that Kamara still likes to keep himself informed. He follows The Nets, Clippers, Pistons, Wizards, Bucks, DC Breeze, all on Instagram, but nothing on Twitter. 

“I watch games when the scores are really close, or when a player is really heated up in terms of playmaking or dominating. I remember watching Kevin Durant lead a comeback against the Knicks last year, that was intense, or when Lebron James played in game 5 of the 2012 Eastern Conference finals,” Kamara said.

Appealing to the new generation’s fast-paced tendencies would definitely let sports teams reach more people, but it seems that student fan commitments are influenced much more by how they’re brought up, rather than how good the account’s posts are.