Archive for November, 2008


Pssst…double-teaming Stephen Curry the whole game may not work out, but does make people talk about you

sports-blog-index-logo5 Every Monday trough Thursday, Buzz Manager Blog reports the Top 5 Topics discussed by the most influential sports blogs, as rated by Sports Media Challenge’s Sports Blog Index.

Over the past 24 hours, college basketball was the most popular topic among the most influential sports blogs. Areas of discussion included the Maui Invitational tournament, Syracuse’s upset wins over Florida and Kansas, and Loyola (Md.) using double teams on Davidson PG Stephen Curry to hold him to zero points, but still losing the game by 30 partially due to the resulting mismatch of the other four Davidson players to Loyola’s three. The Cleveland Cavaliers playing at the New York Knicks sparked conversation about Cavs F LeBron James going to the Knicks when he potentially becomes a free agent in 2010. Ball State finishing the regular season undefeated at 12-0 with a win over Western Michigan, with many lamenting that Ball State would not get any BCS recognition. Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, two pitchers from India signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates, remained in the Top 5 for a second consecutive day following a discovery that the two players have a blog. Rounding out the Top 5 was amusement over two Iowa fans caught engaging in sexual activity in a bathroom stall at the Metrodome during Saturday’s game between Iowa and Minnesota.



Interactive Shaq: a model for athletes in a 2.0 web world

So everyone is asking:

  • did Sports Media Challenge really get THE_REAL_SHAQ to twitterYES
  • shouldn’t every athlete do the same?  NO
  • why haven’t leagues aggressively adopted social media and in particular twitter? CAN’T IMAGINE
  • and on and on, and on…

Last week Buzz Manager(TM) was trolling the internet and fan-generated-media known by others as CGM (blogs, chatrooms, YouTube, twitter etc.) for Shaq like we do for all of our clients. It’s critical for us to listen to and measure the amount of chatter & public sentiment about their brands/issues.

By listening to fans we can and do uncover relevant and even actionable information. In fact, we FIND, LISTEN, ENGAGE & LEAD in that order. Buzz Manager alerted us “Shaq is twittering”. Wait a minute- it wasn’t really him. But as I told the Big Man, it could be him and he could do it from his phone. He could reach out and talk directly to fans and them to him. No mirrors, no curtains, just Shaq and the fans.

Word of Mouth is powerful- incredibly influential. @THE_REAL_SHAQ got over 12,000 fans (and counting) to “follow” his tweets in a week. Sure they love his humor but more than that, they love how they can reach and virtually touch a larger than life superstar. They’re saying things like,

  • “Great little piece about Shaq on Twitter, Devin. It really is one of the biggest pop culture events of the year.” – Schrik
  • “just got a twitter really only to make sure i can see what shaq twitters about” – maybejack
  • “New to twitter. I hear Shaq is here so ya know I had to join. I look forward to hearing whassup from everyone!” – tweetAZ
  • “But it was just cool that Shaq talked to me! I think he’ll make Twitter mainstream.” – modite
  • “Shaq + Twitter = Best Thing To Happen To The Internet Over The Last Week. BY FAR.” – schlizzag
  • “I’m not even a huge basketball fan and I still think it’s neat to see Shaq on Twitter.” – jonvictorino
  • “any basketball player with the insight to twitter is worth following. plus, it’s shaq!” – DanielThePoet
  • “can i just say that following Shaq’s tweets is one of the best things about Twitter?” – sushipanda

What makes @THE_REAL_SHAQ successful?

He genuinely enjoys and values talking directly to fans. Interactive Shaq knows something about and appreciates how technology connects the world. He’s willing to share bits of his personal and professional life througHout each day. Once a week won’t keep the masses glued to their mouses! The Suns to their credit quickly jumped on board a unique opportunity and provided the team’s infrastructure to amplify Interactive Shaq.

We often talk to clients about building, enriching and protecting their brand legacy. In fact, SMC is working hand in hand with a company called Legacy Direct.  All sports personalities have images, some even reputations, the smart ones use their athletic platform to build personal brands and influence millions. In the sports world, there are few brands bigger around the globe than Shaq. His authenticity and willingness to reach out to fans endears him and converts influencers to advocates and advocates to evangelists. Wow! The power of word-of-mouth. Follow THE_REAL_SHAQ and kathleenhessert Digg it reddit Yahoo MyWeb Google StumbleUpon


Tiger’s Family to Replace Buick

After Nine Years Woods and Buick Part Ways

With a second child on the way, Tiger recently acknowledged that he wanted more time for his family. General Motors Corporation was looking for ways to cut costs during the economic downturn, so this just made sense. Woods expects to spend less time marketing his new endorser than he did for Buick and more time with his wife and family. No one expected anything less of the world class athlete, glad to hear that he can let go of 7 million dollars for his loved ones.

According to the Associate Press, Larry Peck, golf marketing manager for Buick said, “Timing is everything, we’ve had such a great partnership with Tiger. It’s hard for us to walk away from that. But this frees up time for him. And it sure frees up a lot of money for us.”  (In a recent ESPN article.)  Sure it frees up a mere $7 million a year. Which is petty cash for the automobile manufacturing giant that is pursuing about $12 BILLION in U.S. aid to survive.

Woods’ agent Steinberg said he would “expect there to be some exposure on the bag” when Woods next plays.  Don’t get me wrong, I think Tiger will survive without the sponsorship dollars… but just for fun, what are some possibilities of future endorsers? Seems like any automobile manufacturer would like to step into the shoes of Buick. He did wonders for the company over the past 9 years, regardless of their decline in sales. They wanted to use Woods as a tool to get younger buyers of the car, and that he did.

The superstar athlete is of Asian decent so maybe an Asian automaker would be a profitable fit.  Regardless of what brand gets the infamous spot on Tiger’s golf bag, rest assured it will be for less money.

I am just happy to see him putting his family first.



Monday Night Football, Drew Brees take top spot

Over the past 24 hours, the Saints’ Monday Night Football win over the Packers was the most popular topic among the most influential sports blogs, particularly the strong performance of Saints QB Drew Brees. News that Tiger Woods and General Motors/Buick are ending their sponsorship agreement due to GM’s financial troubles was also highly discussed. Another popular topic was the Washington Wizards firing head coach Eddie Jordan after a poor start to the season. Eagles QB Donovan McNabb being benched Sunday, then being named the starter for this Thursday‘s game versus the Cardinals, remained in the Top 5. Rounding out the Top 5 was discussion surrounding the Pittsburgh Pirates signing two young pitchers from India, Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel.

Jets end Titans’ undefeated season, other NFL topics top of the blogs

Over the weekend, the NFL was the most popular topic among the top sports blogs. Areas of discussion included the Jets handing the Titans their first loss, the Giants beating the Cardinals, and Eagles QB Donovan McNabb being benched. College football results were also highly discussed, in particular Penn State’s win over Michigan State to earn a berth in the Rose Bowl, Ohio State’s win over rival Michigan, and Oregon State’s win over Arizona that kept the Beavers in position to win the Pac-10. The current three-way tie in the Big 12 South among Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech also generated a lot of conversation, with many wondering what the BCS ramifications will be if the tie holds. Bloggers were also discussing Notre Dame’s close loss to Syracuse and had a negative reaction to ND students reportedly throwing snowballs at ND players and other individuals on the sidelines. Rounding out the Top 5 was surprise that the Oklahoma City Thunder fired coach P.J. Carlesimo after so few games.

Blog In-Depth: Hal Steinbrenner takes control of the NY Yankees.

Buzz Manager™ analyzed online discussion surrounding Hal Steinbrenner taking over control of the New York Yankees from his father, George Steinbrenner.

The Buzz ranked 6 out of 10, a topic of a medium level of interest among sports bloggers.

Bloggers in the Positive category (61.29%) praised the move. They trust Hal to be a good steward of the franchise, more so than his outspoken brother Hank. They like that Hal is more quiet and reserved than Hank and perceived as more professional. They also felt that Hal has spent much more time with the team than Hank recently, making him the logical choice and the best for the organization.

–  Bloggers in the Negative category (9.68%) were few. Some were fans of other MLB teams taking the opportunity to be negative about the Yankees.

–  Bloggers in the Neutral category (29.03%) mentioned the announcement without expressing an opinion. Many note that this change has really only given him a new title, because George had already taken a much more hands off role and had all but handed the organization over to his sons already.



Shaq on Twitter Becomes Viral

Sports Media Challenge’s (SMC) proprietary search engine, Buzz Manager™, discovered that Shaquille O’Neal had an account on a social network called Twitter. SMC contacted Shaq to verify that this was really him. As it turned out, the Twitter name “ShaquilleONeal” wasn’t actually Shaq. Sports Media Challenge encouraged him to counter the impersonator by creating his own Twitter account under the name “The_Real_Shaq.” After creating this account, SMC contacted major mainstream media outlets and social media websites to alert influential content providers to the situation. There were dramatic changes within 24 hours. It is safe to say that this story has become viral in nature.

Something as simple as creating a profile on a social network has extended the reach of Shaq’s brand and helped to turn casual fans into strong brand advocates. This type of interactivity and openness ties fans to Shaq on a mass scale in a way that can’t be matched using any other method.

Where the story has spread:

The story was discussed in the New York Times, as well as many of the most influential blogs and blogs networks on the internet:

Deadspin: The most influential sports blog on the web (as ranked by SMC’s Sports Blog Index). It has over 350,000 visitors to the site per day.

 SportsbyBrooks: The second most influential sports blog on the web, with well over 100,000 visitors per day.

The Big Lead: The third most influential sports blog on the web, with over 80,000 visitors per day.

Ballhype: Arguably the most influential network for sports blogger on the web. The story about Shaq has remained the top, “most hyped” and most discussed story since being posted 24 hours ago.

Yardbarker: Also one of the largest and most influential networks for sports bloggers. Many websites actually linked back to an original post on Yardbarker as their source.

Other influential sites discussing the Shaq Twitter feed include: Yahoo Sports Blog, Fan Nation (a property of Sports Illustrated), Slam Magazine, Dime Magazine, Sportaphile, Sport Crackle Pop, Give me the Rock, Bright Side of the Sun (most influential Phoenix Suns blog) and many more.


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