By Parth Shah, @shah_parth_
It's that time of the week again! Welcome to another edition of the Social Media Seven, with this week's best in social media sports. Don't miss out on the conversation! Let's get it started:
1. U.S. Soccer
With the U.S. Men's National Team advancing to the final round of World Cup Qualifying, they have another opportunity to face Mexico on home soil. In 2001, the US faced Mexico in Columbus, Ohio, hoping to use a home-field advantage to take down their most-hated rival. That matchup ended 2-0, dos a cero. Thus began a tradition of playing World Cup Qualifiers in Columbus, each ending with the same scoreline. This qualification cycle brings about yet another opportunity to take it to Mexico, and the USMNT aims to do just that. The U.S. Soccer social media team had a field day reliving the Dos A Cero victories of years past, doing well to educate the casual fan that may not have known of the tradition. With soccer still growing in the States, spreading information and building anticipation and excitement for a big game is huge. U.S. Soccer hopes to capitalize on the history and significance of this matchup to continue growing the sport across the country. Having these moments poetically written is an interesting concept, but one that definitely seems to work. The team also did exceptionally well with the USA-Mexico hype video - it's hard not getting goosebumps! Let's hope to see yet another U.S. Dos A Cero victory in Columbus this November.
2. Oregon Ducks Football
Known as the leader in uniform and apparel branding in college football, Oregon has set the bar incredibly high for the rest of the field. The program has become a favorite of many over the past decade, with their high octane offense on the field and trendy, bold marketing strategy off the field. With such decisions comes a need for proper rollout, something that the Ducks continue to excel at as well. Unveiling their new 'Duck' inspired uniforms, the team put together a very cool GIF showcasing the similarity between an actual duck (the mascot) and what the players would be wearing on the field. The graphic was very well received in the social media sports industry, as many leaders commented on how they were juxtaposed as mannequins. The social media team also put together an awesome video about being a Duck, something that helps the program continue to build brand attachment and loyalty. No one can say the Ducks aren't having fun in Eugene...
3. Florida Gators Football
Sticking with college football, the Florida Gators also had a strong week on social. The social media team put together two really creative GIFs, one for the team's '"business suit" (aka uniform) and one to get fans excited for game time. While many teams utilize this to draw in attention on game days, the use of a variety of different pictures and graphics was an interesting mix. Showing off the team's uniform piece-by-piece is a neat strategy, as branding and on-field look is becoming more and more popular and talked about in sports. Not to mention, it allows fans to come prepared for games, wearing colors that match the Gators that they support.
4. Miami Hurricanes Football
Staying in Florida, the Hurricanes continue to make waves in Coral Gables. This week, the program released its new throwback-inspired uniforms in conjunction with Adidas, and safe to say, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. The 'Canes drummed up excitement in the days leading up to the unveiling, and they certainly delivered. Social media was set ablaze, as casual and die-hard fans alike drooled over the sharp, modern uniform look that pays homage to Miami's past history and tradition. The rollout on social media was so successful that the big players in SM sports, including outlets like BleacherReport and ESPN, joined in on the fun, along with celebrities, alumni, and more. As Adidas and Front Office Sports' own Michael Ehrlich detailed in his awesome first post about the decline of press releases, social media is now the primary PR strategy for most marketers. The 'Canes did just that - and saw tremendous results. In addition, the program announced a partnership to create CANES VR, a virtual reality branded experience for Hurricane fans. It will be interesting to see the social media tie-ins and implications that Miami uses to its advantage in the coming months with this new technology!
5. Stats of the Week: #TeamUSA at Rio 2016
Rio 2016 has come and gone, but that doesn't mean what Team USA was able to accomplish on Twitter has to go unrecognized. Check out the article that the social media team compiled, detailing the best of the best in social media strategy, posting, and much more! It is truly incredible to see just how powerful social media has become in spreading information, reaching fans, and building a brand. Team USA, dominant in the events and on social media.
6. Must-Read Article:
Snapchat's CEO announced this week the release of the company's first hardware product, video-sharing sunglasses. While still in its infancy stages, the spectacles hope to be something more than just a mere novelty. Read how Evan Spiegel plans on rolling out and harnessing these glasses for the newly renamed Snap, Inc in the coming months and years here. Will there be applications in the world of social media sports? It's never too early to start planning! (actually, maybe it is a bit premature, but still, you get the point)
7. Did You Know?
Last week, we discussed the introduction of Twitter's partnership with the NFL, streaming each week's Thursday Night Football matchup live on the social media platform. It is interesting to see just how large of a jump was made from the first game to the next, regardless of the scoreline and matchup. While this kind of exponential growth is not to be expected from week to week, it is definitely a positive sign that this streaming relationship may be one to stay.
Thanks for joining us! Have a comment, question, or just want to talk about #SMSports? Feel free to reach out on Twitter so we can keep the conversation going. Until next time, all the best!