Stepping Over the “Social Wall” to the Land of Interactive Digital Experiences

If you’ve attended pretty much any sporting event lately, you’ve likely seen what many refer to as a “social wall” — a display of content, mostly selfies, from fans around the event. Everyone loves seeing themselves up on screen, so it’s a great engagement piece to have in your arsenal. However, social media and production in general has evolved to a point where we can do so much more beyond the wall.

Some of the most innovative work being done in this space currently is in the digital realm of broadcast, live streams, and websites/mobile apps. These platforms present a unique opportunity to create immersive, interactive experiences between fans and the team. To help you do just that, we’ve put together a few quick tips on how to enhance your digital experience this year.


Let Viewers Drive the Conversation

One of the easiest ways to transform your broadcast into an interactive experience is to create a Q&A with viewers themselves. Whether that’s simply putting up an intro graphic with the question as you prepare to go live to kick off the conversation, or a dedicated segment within the show, Q&A makes fans truly feel like a part of the show.

As seen in the video above, the Trail Blazers did this very effectively this past post-season in their pregame show taking in questions from Facebook Live comments and letting those questions drive the conversation happening on the show. They even had players and coaches come by the set to answer the questions or respond to comments. Having this social element transforms the show from talking heads to a conversation everyone is a part of.

Preseason broadcasts and training camp shows are the perfect opportunity to implement this concept because there are so many questions fans have leading up to roster cuts and the start of the season. Give fans the unique ability to send in questions for the booth announcers about the game, for the owner about the roster, or for players and coaches about training camp.

Let Players & Coaches Interact

If you were watching the Draft this year on NFL Network, you probably saw one of my favorite activations of the year where after being drafted in the top spot, Kyler Murray had a chance to view and respond to content posted about him all over the nation. This is something any team could do easily after practice or a game to generate direct player and fan interaction.

Kyler NFL Network

Save Time on Graphics. Use Social for News & Stats

Beyond that direct fan interaction, social content is the ultimate source of news, stats, and information around the team. Instead of having to write up and edit a stats graphic for everything, why not just use social?

Incorporate intriguing stats and tid-bits that add to the story of the game like the Chiefs do during preseason and on press conference live streams.

Run a ticker that reads through social and text updates about the team throughout the show like the Cowboys do on their weekly show The Blitz.

Create a Digital Social Experience

Even if you can’t run a display right into your broadcast, take a page out of the Golf Channel’s playbook and drop in a social carousel ticker below the live stream itself.

Outside of direct broadcast integrations, there’s so much more you can do on digital to engage and reward fans as well. Take the Panthers for example who run a sponsored web campaign #PlayLikeAPantherContest and reward participants with select VIP training camp experiences.

Or as you get more into the season, use the University of Central Florida as inspiration who run a contest sponsored by their local airport promoting #UCFlyMCO if you travel to an away game. Winners each week then get a free flight to an away game the next season. Contests like this not only bring in additional sponsorship revenue, but they generate buzz and build strong, positive relationships with your fans.

This year, it’s time to take a step beyond the social wall, and we’re here to help you take that step. Use social to make your digital experience truly interactive through Q&A. Tell a story with the content and information already out there. Build up a personal relationship with your fans by listening to them, responding to them, and ultimately rewarding them for participating.