Facebook Live videos are bringing fans up close and personal with their favorite teams through broadcasts they can watch no matter where they are.
Facebook and social media are increasingly used to deepen the experience of being a sports fan. Now, more than ever, social media provides unique experiences to sports fans beyond the tv screen.
Facebook Live especially is driving enormous engagement for video content on the platform. As we saw in our video trends post last week, sports teams that do live broadcasts on Facebook see an incredible spike in comments, disproportionate to other video content.
We’ve looked at five tips for successful Facebook Live videos before, but now we’re looking at the content tactics that sports publishers and social media teams can use to specifically engage sports fans.
Take Fans into the Big Moments
One reason Facebook Live works so well is because it creates a micro-event that fans can feel part of. Since only so many fans can attend games or fit into a stadium, a live video is an opportunity for fans to connect with their team in real-time, as the broadcast is happening.
This works especially well with important team updates. Sure, a static text post could announce a new player, a change in coaches, or a player’s retirement, but a live stream turns that into a historical moment that fans feel like they were there for.
With the flexibility of social media to be on desktop, tablet, or mobile device, fans can tune in from anywhere. The Denver Broncos recently used Facebook Live to have quarterback Peyton Manning announce his retirement.
The video was viewed nearly 980,000 times, along with driving over 40,000 likes and reactions, 21,000 shares, and 25,000 comments. Meanwhile, the Facebook videos for NFL teams this year only garner 600 comments on average.
Just imagine how popular Kobe Bryant’s famous retirement announcement could have been last year if he had live-streamed it.
Spike shows us the individual metrics around the retirement broadcast. We can also see that this video drove 5 times the usual amount of interactions for the Denver Broncos’ Facebook page. Take a trial of Spike to see the engagement around your content and your competitors.
For the fans who have followed an athlete’s journey from the start, or found themselves impassioned by a specific player, a live broadcast rewards their loyalty and fervor.
It allows them to commemorate the moment and remember it as an experience with their favorite team. They can discuss it with their fellow fans as it’s unfolding, and feel like they’ve taken part.
Access to Players
On the note of Peyton Manning and his retirement, fans do love their team champions. We’ve seen before that some athletes even command a bigger influence and social following than their team.
Facebook Live can give fans unedited, real-time access to their favorite players beyond the game. Plus, players with a large following are likely to attract audiences wherever their name is mentioned.
During this year’s All Star event, the NBA hosted Facebook Live interviews with athletes during the league’s media day before the game. Over 30 NBA players participated, including big names like Russell Westbrook.
The video interviews covered a motley of topics, from favorite basketball drills to their most-loved pregame meals. These little details humanize the players beyond being just athletes and make it so that fans know more about their team favorites.
Plus, the broadcasts are very simple to do. Simply let an athlete be candid and genuine in front of the camera. Fans get value out of these video snapshots into a player’s life, and get joy out of being there in the same moment the player was broadcasting.
Hype Up Fans
One way to boost the results of a campaign is to promote is across several channels, and the same is true for Facebook Live.
Ahead of the official season start, MLB has been using this content tactic with success to build excitement.
This video of the Detroit Tigers, showing the pitchers and catchers begin their spring training, saw over 222,000 views. There were 18,000 likes/reactions, nearly 5,000 shares and 1,800 comments on the broadcast that simply showed the players tossing baseballs around. Regardless, the comments were full of effusive fans, eager to see their team take on the new season.
The San Francisco Giants also did a live broadcast of their stadium, empty and waiting to start the season. It hit over 165,000 views, 8,500 reactions, 1,000 shares, and 1,000 comments. The comments were effusive, saying they were excited already, even just by the desolate stadium.
Facebook Live video is more than just a type of a content. It’s a way to reward fans for their loyalty and fervor by bringing them something they can’t see anywhere else.
As the trend of ‘cord-cutting’ one’s cable continues, keeping fans engaged through digital experiences only becomes more vital.
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This video by the Denver Broncos brings us behind the scenes of Super Bowl 50. The broadcast drove over 203,000 thousand views. 17,000 people reacted or liked the post, and there were 1,650 shares and 8,600 comments.
This video is quite unique among a sports team’s usual content. It lets fans behind-the-scenes, to see an aspect of the game they may not have seen otherwise. This way, fans feel like they’re getting special content, something just for them.
We’ll Do It Live!
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be worth an infinity of them. It’s certainly evidenced by how much discussion the Facebook Live videos drive.
Sports are one of the few mediums that have a massive, devoted fan base already, and live broadcasts can invigorate them and get them talking.
No matter your content strategy, there are a few things to remember—do your homework and ask yourself why fans would like your live video. Is it exclusive content? Does it show them their favorite players? Is it building up to something big (like a historic game)? Is it an announcement that as a true fan, they’ll always remember?
Content without value won’t get your fans engaged on social media. But giving your audience what they want will boost your team’s reach and keep your fans buzzing.