Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota Timberwolves’

Social Media in Sports: How the Minnesota Timberwolves Are Connecting and Succeeding

April 10, 2009 2 comments

If you haven’t noticed on twitter or facebook, professional sports organizations and athletes are taking an interest in using social media to further enhance their reach and their brand.

Teams such as the Minnesota Timberwolves have done a very good job with utilizing it to connect with fans on twitter through real-time game updates, promotions and giveaways, and team news updates. Here are some of the examples of how the Timberwovles have connected with fans through twitter.

At the end of February, the Timberwolves gave away a suite with 22 tickets for the Wolves v. TrailBlazers game on twitter. All you had to do was include a specific hashtag replying to the Timberwolves twitter account. I already had tickets to that game; I still sent a reply to the Wolves since a chance at a free suite is too much to pass up. Since I am mentioning this, it means that I ended up winning the suite for the game and 21 of my friends. Not only did the Wolves give me 22 tickets for a suite, Scott Spiridigliozzi, Manager of Interactive Services for the Timberwolves and one of the people behind the Timberwolves account, gave me a gift bag including a team poster, t-shirt, warmup jersey shirt highlighting the old Timberwolves logo, and a personalized card thanking me for participating in the twitter giveaway. Talk about going above and beyond to make myself and my friends happy. It was a very fun night with many friends, depsite the outcome. I would not have not had access to a suite without social media.

Last Sunday, the Timberwolves organized the first ever Timberwolves Tweetup in conjunction with Champps, a key sponsor of the Timberwolves. At the tweetup, all attendees were given a free upper-level ticket to the game, free beer was available for the 21 and over crowd, along with light appetizers and a chance at an upgrade to a pair of lower level seats.  The turnout for the tweetup was around 30 people. Most likely, those are people that would have not attended the game if it weren’t for the tweetup. The cost of the tweetup was a keg of domestic beer and for the light appetizers. As their tweetups become more established and recognized, this may become one of their main promotions, all because of social media.

Not all sports teams are using twitter like the Timberwolves. Most keep it to updates about the team, updates during the game, and do not interact with people.  Some of the players of the Timberwolves have created twitter accounts, including Mark Madsen, Brian Cardinal, Randy Foye, Mike Miller, and Kevin Love.

Other athletes in other professional sports are utilizing twitter to connect with fans. Lance Armstrong frequently updates his posts with pictures from where he is training, who he is meeting with about his Livestrong foundation, and occasionally replies to close friends. Shaquille O’Neal uses twitter to give away tickets to road games to the first twitter user to find him whereever he and the Phoenix Suns are playing at.

Athletes and celebrities gain high numbers of followers very quickly because of who they are and not because they provide relevant content, create or contribute to the conversation, or are true influencers. Common twitter users often feel that they are ‘friends’ of these celebrities, despite the lack of reciprocal following. Most everyone follows a few athletes, celebrities, even politicians. Who do you follow? Why do you follow them? Do they follow you back? Have you ever had them respond to a message or @ reply you sent them?

~Jason Douglas

twitter: @jasondouglas

Advertisements

Running With the Wolves 5K Recap

Today was the day where I finally tested myself in a race situation. This was not part of the original plan; the Minneapolis Half-Marathon was to be my racing debut. Thanks to my marathon running friend, Kenny, he informed me of ‘Run With the Wolves 5K‘ early this week. Upon hearing about it, I instantly signed up. I have not timed myself once since I started running; this race was going to provide me with the benchmark to establish my goal for future races.

Leading up to this morning, I did not get the night of rest I had hoped for. Staying out a little later than I had planned, my phone kept ringing after 1:30am. Not in the mood to talk, I finally fell asleep around 3am. Race time was only 6.5 hours away.

I woke up only getting four hours of sleep, but I felt really good. I chose to take two days off from running to allow my body to be fully rested. I had a banana and wheaties for breakfast around 8am, leaving me an hour and a half until race time. Check in was easy since I had preregistered. I grabbed my bag of goodies which included a game ticket for the Wolves/Nuggets game tomorrow, a 2008-2009 team yearbook, some Gatorade products for after the race, and other promotional propaganda. Before the race, there was a contest to see if anyone could guess how many hours of sleep current Timberwolves player Mark Madsen got last night. After a couple minutes of guessing, I guessed ‘4:15’, which was close enough, winning me a $50 gift certificate to Dick’s Sporting Goods. Bling!

After some relaxing with the crew, it was race time. My goal was to not take any walking breaks. Based on pure guesswork, I had myself pegged for running ten-minute miles (had not been timing my runs); start, run, finish; that was the plan.

I had never run around Lake Harriet; I am used to the flatter confines of Lake Calhoun, or the flatlands of Hopkins. Lake Harriet has some decent uphill parts to the course which were a nice test for me. I used the downhill parts as my ‘break’ within the race, a strategy I will use in future runs.  I kept a nice, steady pace throughout the race. My legs never felt fatigued, further verifying I need to start pushing myself further. I kept seeking out landmarks along the course to use as a ‘checkpoint’. I hope I do not have to keep doing that to motivate myself. At the end of the race, I felt a sense of accomplishment, finishing the race how I wanted to: start, run, finish. I now know how it will feel to cross the finish line.

Now for the analysis of the race: I felt good during the whole race. My right trapezius felt tight from the halfway point on; that has happened a couple times before, not sure what that is from (there is no soreness now), my lungs felt good, my pace was consistent; overall, the experience was solid. The only negative to come of this: there was a guy that was sprinting as far as he could, then walked when he was tired. This was repeated four or five times. I thought the tortoise (me) would beat the hare (other guy). Unfortunately, sprint walking guy sprinted past me in the last 50 meters. I was not too happy about that.

My official time was 30 minutes and 14 seconds for a 9 minute and 45 second per mile pace. That slightly exceeded my expectations of ten minute miles.  If I was to keep that pace during the half-marathon, I would complete that race in 2 hours 7 minutes and 40 seconds. Long term, I would like to get below 9 minutes per mile; that might take a little while.

After the race, Ken, Alex, and myself got the chance to talk with Mark Madsen about twitter (he’s now following me… bling!), basketball, and other random things. He’s a very nice guy and was very accessible. We also got a photo with him. I can not wait to get the photos of today from Brit. Thanks to Brit and Marlee for taking pics!

Thanks to everyone for the kind and encouraging words. Today was a step closer to the half-marathon. 57 days away, but who is counting?

~Jason Douglas

twitter: @jasondouglas