Quick Hits

Quick Hits

So much has happened in the sports Twitter-verse over the past few weeks. I’m hoping to find some time to write about a few of these topics in more detail, but in case that isn’t in the cards, here is a quick rundown of topics that have had my attention lately.

#Linsanity

This isn’t a small story, and as a result, I’m not going to give you much background on Jeremy Lin. He’s been mentioned on every medium imaginable, from ESPN to Sports Illustrated to CNN and NPR. Suffice to say, Twitter has not been an exception. At one point during his recent run, Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch noted in a tweet that the New York Knicks Twitter feed (@nyknicks) had mentioned Lin 29 times in a 24 hour span. The rest of Twitter has followed suit. His Twitter account, @JLin7, has skyrocketed to almost 400,000 followers, and he has become a trending topic in just about every game he’s played.

One thing with Jeremy Lin. I’m hearing a lot of comparisons to Tim Tebow, and I don’t agree with them. The stories just aren’t similar enough beyond the quick Twitter success. Also, the NFL is set up for long term trending figures. By only playing once a week, the media is given six days a week to obsess over a particular player, and audiences all over are always left wanting more. By contrast, NBA teams play a few times a week, which makes me think that sports media personalities and Twitter users alike will tire of the #Linsanity sooner rather than later.

Could a @KingJames jersey be coming to an arena near you?

Probably not; the NBA is too big and possesses too many moving parts to make it work, at least in the near future. The idea is out there though, thanks to the Philadelphia Wings of the National Lacrosse League (NLL). On February 12th, the Wings made history by becoming the first professional sports team to stitch Twitter usernames on the back of player jerseys where last names are typically found. Steve Olenski has a great write-up of the event on socialmediatoday.com. You can also find him on Twitter at @steveolenski. Olenski thinks we’ll see other professional sports leagues take a wait and see approach to the idea, and I tend to agree. I’m not sure we’ll ever see such a gimmick in the NFL, NBA, MLB, or NHL, but I could see the idea catch on in leagues such as NASCAR or MLS, where organizations and teams are more willing to get creative to foster fan engagement and generate national publicity.

#Hashtags starting to make it big

Business to customer (B2C) organizations have been using sponsored hashtags for a while now as a way to create buzz about new products or services, with mixed results. Lately, the same could be said for sports organizations. Sports Illustrated just debuted a sponsored hashtag on their latest cover of Jeremy Lin, with the hashtag #SILinsanity written across the magazine’s headline. The action was met with a large amount of scrutiny, with criticism largely centering around the idea that putting a sponsored hash tag on the SI cover goes against the reputation SI has built throughout their history. I can’t say I agree with the sentiment. As times change, businesses should be commended for changing with them. Sports Illustrated saw an opportunity to capitalize on a growing trend, and took advantage of it.

The PGA Tour, another traditional organization, also recently allowed for hashtags to be featured. Equipment maker TaylorMade recently placed the hashtag #driverlove on the side of baseball hats worn by sponsored players. The hashtag is part of a larger campaign from TaylorMade centering on the feeling golfers feel towards their new TaylorMade drivers. In an interview with social media site Mashable.com, TaylorMade’s chief marketing officer Bob Maggiore said the brand is looking to try new ways of engaging with customers using social media. Maggiore also told the site the hashtag already has a modest “cult following” among golfers and fans after two rounds of practice at the Northern Trust.

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