PR in Sports

Looking at the World of Sports from a PR Perspecitve

What Sport Would Work for In-Game Tweets?

with 5 comments

Looks like PRinSports helped break the Charlie Villanueva Halftime Twitter story Sunday night, as Boston.com, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Deadspin.com and Ball Don’t Lie are just a few of the outlets that referenced the initial post. It also seems that not everyone was as excited about Charlie V’s Tweet.

The verdict came in Tuesday when Milwaukee Bucks Coach Scott Skiles told the AP that Villanueva’s in-game Tweets will be no more. Skiles told the team, and Villanueva, that nothing like that will ever happen again, although he stopped short of levying a fine.

After practice Villanueva tweeted the following, “Well guys, no more halftime tweets for me – I’ll leave it at that, won’t comment on it any further. But I still got love for ya. Stay tune.” Credit Villanueva for not only following up in the media, but explaining himself on Twitter. He obviously understands the importance of connecting with fans, and he’ll continue to find new and exciting ways to let fans in.

I understand where opponents of the in-game Tweet are coming from. For the most part I’m a purest when it comes to sports. But, this is really more about perception than reality. The perception is that Villanueva isn’t focused on the game. The perception is that Skiles doesn’t have the Bucks taking the matter at hand seriously.

But, Twitter isn’t go away. Athletes finding new and innovative ways to connect with their fans in a more personable way isn’t going away. The number of celebrities on Twitter and with Facebook Fan Pages is growing everyday. Charlie V’s halftime Tweet is the beginning, not the end, of more creative communication with fans. It started with athletes using blogs, but will continure to evolve as social media evolves.

The question is, what sport would be conducive to in-game Tweets? Would you have a problem with a baseball player sending tweets in the dugout in between innings? Maybe the pitcher after he’s been pulled? How about a golfer at the turn?

Let me know your thoughts, because this will happen again and it could become the norm.

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Written by Brian Gleason

March 17, 2009 at 11:30 am

5 Responses

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  1. It’s too bad the perception is getting in the way of this, or that the organization just doesn’t see the value of having a player be more closely connected to fans during a game. I have no problems with in-game tweets from just about any sport, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the game. It’s great because it doesn’t take much time and gives fans even greater access to the players they love. More access to players=stronger fans=more revenue for teams. It shouldn’t be rocket science. I think this pushback against Twitter will change over time, and forms of communication that put fans closer to the game/players will be more embraced by teams.

    Jason Peck

    March 18, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    • Hey Jason,

      Thanks for stopping by. I agree, this is only the beginning for athletes communicating with fans like this. Hopefully PR people will begin to discuss things like Twitter more with their teams athletes. I don’t have a problem with Skiles saying no to the in-game tweets, but their PR people should get with Villanueva and talk about maybe doing some tweets pre-game and then immediately after the game, since he’s obviously interested.

      I am very interested to see where this leads though, and which athletes embrace this. Most likely it will be athletes in individual sports where they don’t have to answer to owners/coaches.

      Brian Gleason

      March 18, 2009 at 4:38 pm

  2. I disagree with the Bucks here. It’s not like he was Tweeting about what he’s doing after the game or his girlfriend. He was Tweeting about the game and connecting with fans in a new and innovative way.

    He Tweeted this earlier (which I believe you RTed): CV31: About to take my nap, but I’m looking for some answers here, what’s the difference between halftime twitting and halftime interview?

    The answer is very little.

    Tom O'Keefe

    March 18, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    • Hi Tom,

      I’ve actually been going back and forth on this a bit since the Bucks banned it. But, Villanueva’s Tweet today, that you mentioned, comparing it to a halftime interview sealed it for me. As you said, as long as it’s about the game, the difference is very little.

      I think the Bucks had someone in Skiles that knows very little about Twitter, and social media in general, making this decision. It’s similar to when Gilbert Arenas first started blogging and people were stunned, but know almost every player has a blog.

      Brian Gleason

      March 18, 2009 at 11:39 pm

  3. I think the solution would be having Charlie talk to a team assistant or PR person who would tweet for them. The team could even create a twitter profile for just in-game tweets that players want to pass along. It could be for just one player or they could grab a different player for each game. Its essentially the same thing as an in-game interview and it would allow the players to talk directly with the fans without using “media speak” like “both teams played hard.”

    Alan C

    March 21, 2009 at 3:33 pm


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