Snapchat’s role within sport continues to grow, with clubs and organisations here and in the US embracing the video and photo messaging channel.
One example came last month as Snapchat launched its first official story dedicated to a Premier League match (Newcastle United v Manchester United at St James Park) allowing fans to submit their snaps to become part of an official snapchat story.
But that’s not the only evidence of its increasing prominence. We’ve rounded-up what clubs and organisations have to say about the excitement and potential of Snapchat’s role within sport.
“You see people saying, ‘The Saints snapchatted me.’ We’re not really Snapchatting them; we’re just adding it to the story, and they’re seeing the story. But they see Snapchat as a personal messaging app, as opposed to being a social media outlet.”
Alex Restrepo, Web/Social Media Manager at New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints were the first NFL team to create an official Snapchat account, back in 2013. They were met with some doubt from other teams, who were concerned about ‘wasting’ content that would disappear after a few seconds. Fast forward to 2016, and 30 of the 32 teams in the NFL have followed the Saints lead, diving headfirst into snapchatting fans.
This quote marks how the team at the Saints recognised Snapchat’s key offerings over these concerns - namely the fact that users view Snapchats as individual messages from the team to themselves, rather than the publically-broadcast nature of a Facebook post or Tweet.
Alex Restrepo has also emphasised the importance of the real-time nature of Snapchat, so fans know that it’s in the moment and feel involved, as well as the pointing out that users can screenshot Snapchats, turning them into permanent content to share with their friends. This dramatically increases on game days, according to Restrepo, because: ‘People are with their friends, and talking about what we send, and then the friends add us.’
“We were keen to engage with a younger demographic and saw a niche in our developing social strategy for a channel that was focused on fun content and showcases the moments when we can take ourselves less seriously than might be expected of a top-flight football club.”
Jim Lucas, Digital Communications Manager at Southampton FC
Here in the UK, Southampton FC became the first Premier League club to sign up for the Snapchat. The rest are following slowly - as of the beginning of the current season, seven of the 20 Premier League clubs were actively using the platform. This quote, from Jim Lucas, highlights how the nature of Snapchat means it can be used as a less formal outlet, with unplanned, light-hearted content.
Lucas went on to explain how their full social strategy is in alignment with this; they use Twitter and Instagram to post professional images, and Vine for professional videos, freeing up Snapchat to be used for behind-the-scenes images and videos filmed on smartphones, presenting another side to the Club and players to fans.
"Modern fans are on the go. They can’t be tied to Sport Center’s slow-moving queue. I’m excited about the movement we are creating - towards fresh, fun news that gets it right. We continually find ways to lower barriers to participation, so that as our audience grows in size, it also grows in loyalty."
Suzi Alvarez, Director of Brand Marketing at Chat Sports
Chat Sports, a sports news and rumour site with a large social following, use their Snapchat account for a popular morning news feature, Quick Hitters, which rounds up the biggest sports stories every day and delivers them via brief Snapchats, with Suzi Alvarez as a presenter at 10am, successfully utilising the appeal for users of easily and quickly learning the latest news with minimum effort.
Alvarez here points to ESPN’s Sports Center, an equally popular US site and app which bases itself around a live feed of incoming stories which, as Alvarez states, must be followed for information, rather than Chat Sports information being brought straight to the user.
SportsManias, another US-based sports news site, have a similar focus on direct-to-camera narration in their Snaps, with their host and Director of Social Media Alex Perrault stating that he tries to make their Snapchat stories "feel like a one-on-one experience, where the viewer feels like I’m talking to them."
”On Instagram or Twitter, repeatedly posting about a sports game can be annoying and will drown out everyone else in your friends’ feeds. On Facebook, real-time content often gets lost in the filtered feed.”
Josh Constine, Editor-at-large at Tech Crunch
In the most recent sports-related Snapchat development, they themselves have rolled out a new ‘geofilter’ called Live Score, which allows Snapchat users who are attending certain matches to to overlay real-time score graphics onto the Snaps they send.
This is seen as a challenge to Twitter’s Moments and Facebook’s Sports Stadium, in that it very quickly combines an real-time image from the match with a verified statistical source, but without the need for the users to seek out this content on the platform. Live Score is currently only rolled out in the US, but is growing, and is available at every NBA arena there.
Although not strictly a digital sports marketer, Tech Crunch’s Josh Constine really nails the advantages that Snapchat’s unique feed has over Twitter and Facebook, which Live Score is fully utilising.
We’ll be keeping an eye on any further Snapchat developments in the world of sport.