Google + Hangouts in Sports

Post by @tscheine. Ty is a Social Media Executive at Brafton where he manages social media strategies for their clients.

With Google Plus being relatively new and people still beginning to come on board; there are many advantages this platform can hold for sport organizations and universities. There really is no true ‘best practice’ guide yet to Google Plus and given that users are still testing the waters, allows for teams and organizations to be innovators and get a jump-start on this outlet that not everyone is active on.

Only a few weeks ago the Super Bowl Champions New York Giants hosted a Hangout on Google Plus. There was a two-week downtime of no football being played and this was a fantastic way to keep the fans interested and engaged. In the hour-long session fans were able to meet their favorite players, ask them questions and ‘hangout’ for an hour. Not only did this help increase the number of followers on Google Plus, it created incentive for fans to follow players giving fans an exclusive experience that the average fan can’t experience.

More teams need to take advantage of this new platform, especially the Hangouts. This is a great platform teams can use to hold their own press conferences to announce team news, signings, upcoming team events, promotions etc. It can be an exclusive place for fans to go for the latest information. The Hangouts differentiate themselves from Facebook and Twitter because it offers new content through a different medium; video.

Being able to visually and verbally interact with athletes from the comfort of your home is a great way to have a personal feel fans can’t get by watching from their home or in a stadium with thousands of other fans.

‘Hangouts’ are not just a space for athletes to engage the public. It would be beneficial to see executives and coaches from the teams to utilizing the Hangouts. It is an opportunity for coaches and the front office to interact with fans, give insight into why they made certain moves, discuss relevant team information and allow for there to be a two way conversation between the team and fans which will prove very beneficial to retaining fans in the long run.

Finally, Hangouts would be an awesome way for fans to engage with each other.  Teams have their local sports talk shows that you can tune into and listen, but what about being part of that talk show? This would be a fantastic opportunity for Hangouts to be a place where you have local analysts and fans discuss, argue and debate the latest news regarding their teams. With Google Plus recently hitting the 10 million users mark, I think it is only a matter of time until sport organizations utilize the network and it’s Hangouts to full potential.

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