As the start of the Premier League season approaches, this week has seen clubs step up their social media activity in announcing new kits, and new signings.

Will Atkins, Community Manager at The Playbook is here to run you through some of the best sporting social media Plays of the Week from the past seven days.

It’s a Palace thing

Kit launches give clubs and their suppliers a chance to plan out some eye-catching social campaigns that can’t help but be noticed.

However, when Chelsea and Nike released the Blues’ third kit for this season, they didn’t expect to have their thunder stolen by a rival Premier League club.

The new red-and-blue strip (which as a Chelsea fan, can only be described as one of the worst kits in our history) was announced to a fanfare that revealed the kit was inspired by some nineties sneakers, and the strapline ‘It’s a Chelsea Thing’.

So far so normal as kit announcements go – until Crystal Palace (who the striped kit bears more than a passing resemblance to) responded with ‘#ItsNotThoughIsIt’.

Simple, yet very effective, the Eagles tweet showcases the value of giving a club’s account a distinct “voice” – and coming just half an hour after the original post, demonstrates the importance of being able to react quickly on social.

With over six times as much engagement as Chelsea’s tweet, Palace have already drawn first blood ahead of the new Premier League season starting this weekend.

Adidas and Arsenal stick to their tried and tested formula for success

Speaking of kit launches, while some clubs have understandably been hamstrung over planned announcements due to Covid-19, the same can’t be said of Arsenal.

Having spoken about Adidas and the Gunners’ famed reveal videos in one of the previous Plays of the Week, this week saw another drop to announce the third strip.

Clearly filmed pre-Covid (as can be seen by the crowds of Arsenal-supporting extras), the video tells of what it means to be a Gunner – perfect fodder for the legions of content-hungry Arsenal fans on social.

Adidas have found a tried and tested formula for success in their year as the team’s supplier – and this doesn’t stray far from the tactic of fitting history, fans, and players on the streets of north London into a two-minute clip. It even has Mikel Arteta as narrator.

Guaranteed engagement and, no doubt, plenty of kits snapped up too.

Doherty deletes tweets

Staying in north London – and one of the most original player announcements since they became a thing.

When Matt Doherty signed for Tottenham, he would have been well aware of his Arsenal-supporting past, and the very real likelihood of them being dug out and used against him online.

Instead of brushing it under the carpet, Doherty and the Spurs account went on the front foot, with their reveal video showing their new right-back deleting his previous posts that pledged his allegiance to his now rivals.

Football can be a serious business at times, but a bit of humour can’t go amiss – with Doherty’s expertly acted facial expressions making this an instant classic.

And finally… 49ers say hi to the fans

After most major sports leagues returned to action over the past few months, this weekend will see the NFL make its first appearance post-coronavirus.

For a sport where the fan experience is so key, it will be interesting to see how the franchises engage their audience with no supporters present – and this example from the San Francisco 49ers shows that the simple ideas are often the best ones.

Using just a static camera set up as the players walk past, and the request to “say hi to the fans” – the resulting video shows unguarded and authentic responses from the roster.

With some big-budget content no doubt dropping in the next couple of days across the league, it’s nice to see there’s always a place for some well-executed and genuine pieces of fan engagement on social.

Will Atkins is Community Manager at The Playbook – the game changing communications, campaigns and content agency that has worked on the INEOS 1:59 Challenge, NFL UK, UFC and LaLiga amongst others.

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