LINsanity: How Social Media is Changing the Face of Sports

Jeremy Lin dominates on the court and on the web.

Jeremy Lin dominates on the court and on the web.

If you’re a sports fan, you may have heard about Jeremy Lin, the New Your Knicks point guard who, after years of struggling to make it in the NBA, has had a phenomenal run over the past month. Lin’s story is everywhere, and he has graced two Sports Illustrated covers in the past few weeks. In the magazine’s February 20th issue highlighting the young player’s success, legendary basketball star Steve Nash praised Lin saying, “If you love sports you have to love what Jeremy Lin is doing. Getting an opportunity and exploding!!” But this quote was not taken from a press conference or interview, but from Nash’s own Twitter feed.

In the Internet age, nothing is truly a big story until it has flooded Social Media sites.  An article posted on MarketWatch.com explains how Lin’s story has taken over Twitter, Facebook, and other major sites. According to Track Social, which measures analytics of various social media, the Knicks have seen an increase of over 400% in social media since Lin’s rise to fame, reaching an audience of about 2 million. The franchise has changed their online presence to reflect this new fan base, changing their facebook picture icon to Lin and filling their website with quotes and clips of the player.

The story of Jeremy Lin highlights the significance of Social Media on several levels. First off, the world of sports reporting has been drastically changed in the past few years. Reporters no longer need to hunt down quotes at press conferences or post-game interviews; thanks to Twitter, the players provide plenty of usable material compressed into easy-to-use 160 characters. Furthermore, fans are now able to have more of a say in who gets attention and, ultimately, more playing time. Before the Internet, the factors that measured a team or player’s popularity were ticket sales and merchandise. Today, millions of people can “like” a player’s facebook page, create hashtag’s on Twitter, or subscribe to a team’s youtube channel. This feedback is free, available to nearly everyone, and can affect change, just like in Lin’s case. The Knicks saw what the fans wanted, and have continued to have their new star play a predominant role on the team.

Social Media marketing and basketball have a lot in common. It’ about teamwork, understanding the game, and  always giving 110%. If your business follows these plays in online media, you can score a slam dunk.

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