After discussing and posting the press release about the New England Patriots' latest online venture, I was able to get in contact with Jim Munz, Product Manager of the OView platform at Optaros, about the Calendar Application that was released just a couple of weeks ago. Questions are and will continue to be abound for sure, but this response speaks to the importance of protecting the Patriots brand while dealing with the social media realm. Please feel free to leave some as comments or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pror to this news, I had discussed how sports leagues are starting to bring social media into their marketing fold with varying degrees of success and effort. I have always been surprised that the NFL, which is the country's most popular league, has been rather... should I say slow?... in adopting Facebook, MySpace and others as a part of their outreach with fans.
Munz: As you point out these sports franchises have been slow to adopt social tools such as Facebook, MySpace, (etc.) Part of the reason I believe that this is taking place is that in order to work within these spaces you need to provide something of value, in the case of the Patriots that is information, media, (etc.) around the Patriots to their fans. This works well for the fan when they do this because it provides another means to interact with the brand. A challenge is how do allow this out their and establish interactions around it with the fan base, without having people out on all of the sites where it lives 24/7.
The starting point here is with the Patriots Calendar App since it allows delivery across fan site, Facebook, and Patriots.com while at the same time providing the Patriots with a way to centrally manage this experience so they can maintain control of updating this information when it changes.
The Patriots are more progressive than most in this regards, they know they need to be out there doing these type of interactions on the social sites with their fans. But managing that without a tool to support them is difficult given the quick pace of the media schedule around the team.
Many thanks again to the people at Optaros for the news and correspondence and I'm looking forward to contuing the conversation of social media and sports for all interested.