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The Impact of Social Media in Sports

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Athletes like Odell Beckham Jr. are popular in the social media universe. Photo: Tim Ireland/AP

By Chenghao Ma |

The rising of mobile phone users and social media has changed the way we look at variety things in today’s society, including our engagement in sports. There are many different social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube etc.; people can use these social media tools really conveniently in their daily lives. Social media has become an important tool for distributing contents and attracting new readers, as well as creating more participation. The social media tools have impacted the sports from many different ways, such as communications and sports marketing.

Obviously, social media is one of the most important tools for sports, the fans and the athletes. First of all, as we know, the population of social media users has increased dramatically over the past years. People can engage in the sports, follow their favorite athletes and teams, and get the most updated sports contents instantaneously. Second, for sports organizations, the advantages of using social media is that it can help sports organizations to build relationships with the public, to reduce their marketing costs and to increase sales etc. Organizations can use social media to promote two-way conversations with the public and build a community under their mission. Third, social media has got attraction as an essential tool for connecting with sports fans. For individual sports fans, social media is a very important tool for them to interact and share information with other individuals, to engage in two-way communication with sports organizations. Finally, athletes can benefit from using social media to connect with their fans, to build a personal brand and to promote themselves etc. Compared with the traditional media, the social media nowadays costs less but affects more efficiently and more consistently. Just one post per day could make the athlete active in his/her fans’ sights, which will bring corresponding economic benefits. Besides, the athlete himself/herself may enjoy more while sharing their sports relevant updates, which will certainly lead to a sustainable development.

Despite of the many benefits, there are still some negatives of social media in sports. For example, bad contents can be spread more quickly than ever before; players may have no idea of using the social media appropriately; negative comments from fans could affect the performance of the athletes or the team, etc. There are lots of cases indicating that the use of social media among athletes need to be trained and one bad post can dramatically influence the athletes as well as the sports organizations. All in all, social media is still at its infancy and will continue to grow, and the engagement of social media in sports is one of the most significant issues in the sports industry. The sports fans and athletes, as well as sports organizations are embracing social media as the most important tools to promote, to communicate and to interact.

Mr. Ma Chenghao is a lecturer in the Physical Education Unit in the School of Humanities and Social Science at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in Shenzhen. He is also pursuing a doctoral degree from the United States Sports Academy. 

11 COMMENTS

  1. I think it’s true what you said about using social media to build a personal brand for themselves. I agree with you too that it’s a great way of networking and sports marketing. I would imagine an athlete to want to utilize social networking to not only build their fan base, but also to make new connections with others in the same field. My friend’s son is in a college football team and I will definitely let him know about the importance of maintaining a good social media presence for his career.

  2. […] Social media has changed so much throughout the years in sports. In my book, social media is seen as such a good thing with no bad things or strings attached. They would crowd the gym the practice after a victory, and just a great environment to be in. This article is giving the pros and cons of social media in sports. Social media is very helpful to me and I love to use to learn more about football and basketball. This is where I find all of my news, player updates, and more. I also get to build a connection with the player because using social media allows me to learn more about the person then who he is just on the field or court. For example, when I watch a player that has came back from battling health issues, even if they’re not on the Pats, I root for them and feel good for the. I was watching the Titans game in week 2 this season and I saw there o-lineman catch a touchdown and when I found out he was out the last season or two battling health problems, it was inspiring to me to see that he overcame it. From a players perspective, this social media is a nice way to make a connection with the fans and maybe increase their fan base and make themselves more noticeable and popular, which could lead to an increase in jersey sales. I follow a ton of athletes on Instagram and see what they do off the field and that gives me a better idea who they are as a person. On the other hand of all this, social media can be very bad for athletes. I haven’t heard of anything bad so far in my book with the media, but nowadays the media is hurting a lot of athletes. It is in the players contracts that they have to speak with the media and the media can interpret what the players say however they want. I have seen this come up a lot how the media only captures and reports some of what the athlete says, and the athlete doesn’t have a say. Also, some players make bad decisions and will say something that they will never say again, like if they are mad about something. This ends up going out for the whole world to see and can’t take it down. Like one case recently with the Antonio Brown situation where he tweeted and said bad things about the Raiders organization , Robert Kraft, Shannon Sharpe, and Ben Roethlisberger. This gave him a bad reputation and this has happened to other athlete where they have gained bad reputations from the media. Overall, I think that social media is a good thing for both fans and athletes. http://thesportdigest.com/2018/11/the-impact-of-social-media-in-sports/ […]

  3. Social media is a good platform to share our ideas, thoughts and anything that goes around. It’s good that we can use this to stay connected with our family and friends. Now the question is, what could be the positive and negative effect of it in sports?

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