The San Diego Hall of Champions hosted its first ever Sports Social exploring the interaction between sports and social media and marketing and featuring a panel discussion with media members.
The San Diego Hall of Champions, located in Balboa Park, hosted its first ever Sports Social exploring the interaction between sports and social media and marketing. About 100 people gathered to discuss elements of social media, particularly Twitter and Facebook, with business owners, sports writers and reporters, and athletes. The evening began with a meet-and-greet networking session which allowed participants to discuss their own uses of social media. Several sports-related and non-sports businesses hosted information tables.
The second half of the event was a sports and social media panel discussion featuring sports writers/reporters and representatives of local sports franchises. Members of the panel included Jack Cronin from XX Sports Radio, Craig Elsten of 619Sports.net, Sharon Heilbrunn of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Joel Price of the San Diego Chargers football team, Warren Miller of the San Diego Padres baseball team, and former San Diego State University and current Jacksonville Jaguar football player Kirk Morrison. The panel was hosted by Christian DeLeon of the San Diego Hall of Champions.
The panel discussion focused primarily on how social media has changed the face of sports reporting. Craig Elsten explained how social media has blurred the line between traditional formats such as radio and television and the newer Internet-based media. “Anyone can open a Twitter account and talk about sports,” he told the audience. Sharon Heilbrunn talked about how the Union-Tribune struggled initially with just how to use Twitter to complement the newspaper and its associated website. One of the biggest questions is whether to break news stories in the paper or through Twitter, understanding that “if you don’t, someone else is going to do it.” Jack Cronin agreed that “it’s silly to ignore a media that has brought down dictators around the world.”
Some of the most interesting insights into social media and sports came from Kirk Morrison, a linebacker with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Morrison talked about how Twitter can provide “instant analysis on different sports,” including such events as the injury to Jay Cutler during the 2011 playoff game between the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers. Morrison said that one thing he enjoys about Twitter is that “you get to see everybody’s perspective” at one time. He also discussed the dangers to an athlete’s reputation of not paying attention to what goes out over social media.
One of the most unusual uses of social media by a team came during the hours following the 9.0 earthquake that hit Japan on March 11, 2011. The San Diego Chargers were able to use social media to make contact with fans living in Japan, many of them members of the military, to let them know the team was thinking of them. Then a few hours later, hearing of the tsunami warnings for Hawaii, the team was able to contact fans in that state to help spread the warning.