It’s been another busy week in the world of sport, which means there’s been plenty of action on social media too.
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.
Liverpool bring fans front and centre for Thiago announcement
It’s been almost impossible to miss Liverpool’s pursuit of European champion Thiago Alcântara this summer – mainly thanks to the many creative ways Reds fans have displayed their excitement on social.
As well as the usual tracking of planes and speculation over who the player started following on Instagram, there’s been another Liverpool favourite – putting Thiago’s head into a video showing him dancing with his potential new teammates, this time to the tune of ‘Cuba’.
Social media hype was at breaking point as the news was eventually confirmed on Friday – with each of Liverpool’s posts recording huge numbers.
However, my favourite part was when the Reds social media team filmed Thiago watching his ‘Cuba’ video – bringing online fan culture into the big moment, and joy to the hearts of Liverpool fans worldwide.
Liverpool won Social Media Team of the Year at The Drum Online Media Awards 2020 – and while success on the pitch certainly helps, having their finger on the pulse of what fans are creating, and being able to respond, shows they’re a class apart off the pitch at the moment too.
A lesson for all sports teams – listen out for and work with what fans are already creating, and you’re almost guaranteed success…
He loves it, @Thiago6 ???????? pic.twitter.com/zeckJ1YdFP
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 18, 2020
Arsenal & Auba team up for contract announcement
Another long-anticipated announcement was Arsenal sealing the signature of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on a new contract.
Speculation over the Gabonese forward has been intense all summer, with every cryptic tweet pored over by Gunners fans.
I like this one as both player and club played the long game – starting on 16 August, when Aubameyang posted a single hourglass emoji.
Almost a month later came another hourglass – this time though, the sand at the bottom, indicating the wait might be over.
Then in came Arsenal, who changed their Twitter bio to “If you’re reading this, turn your notifications on” – complete with another hourglass.
A subtle, yet excellently executed social tease – knowing full well that the excitement of the fans would do the job of spreading the word ahead of the inevitable announcement.
When it came, the Gunners pulled out all the stops – going live for a stream of the skipper putting pen to paper, before handing the club’s Instagram account over to Aubameyang for an Insta live on the pitch.
As with almost everything Arsenal are putting out at the moment, they even roped in Ian Wright to get excited on there too.
Player, club, and legend working in sync to get some huge engagement – what’s not to love?
EA Sports adapt for coronavirus Fifa reveals
When it comes to this time of year, there’s no ignoring the new Fifa game reveal, and the 2021 edition is no different.
However, with a glitzy launch event no longer possible, EA Sports have had to be creative to find ways to create content and engage fans ahead of the game’s launch.
So, in a very 2020 way, they’ve put players up on self-filmed calls, going head-to-head to guess each other’s in-game ratings – matching up personalities, as much as positions.
Partnering with SPORTbible to ensure huge social reach, the resulting videos are a funny and authentic look into how seriously players really do take their Fifa ratings – and a compelling advert for fans to pick up the new edition.
“I get no respect!” ????
“Is that banter?” ????
“That’s so slow man” ????
“My defensive work is so underrated” ????@Madders10 and @JackGrealish guess each other’s FIFA Ratings and let rip when they find out their real scores ???? pic.twitter.com/fuFLkwEAAY
— SPORTbible (@sportbible) September 15, 2020
And finally… big personalities and innovation helping golf reach new audiences
After a gruelling week at the US Open, four of the world’s top golfers enjoyed a slightly more relaxing round at Tiger Woods’ new course in an exhibition tournament.
Named the Payne’s Valley Cup, the Ryder Cup-style match between Woods and Justin Thomas against Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy saw plenty of broadcast and social innovation that golf is moving increasingly further towards.
As well as a fresh format and a relaxed dress code, the players were all mic’d up – leading to snippets like this as Thomas talked his way through a chip onto the green.
“Sweet, good talk. Thanks!” – @JustinThomas34 to a distracted @TigerWoods. pic.twitter.com/RXX8Q9iZJV
— Skratch (@Skratch) September 22, 2020
After years of stubborn resistance, it seems golf is finally dragging itself into the 21st century – and having big personalities (such as polarising US Open champ Bryson DeChambeau, who was filmed taste testing pizza not long after receiving the trophy on Sunday) is helping bring the sport to a much wider audience.
Having shareable social clips on tap like the one from Payne’s Valley will help too – and after a coronavirus-hit year where golf has had to adapt and innovate, I’m looking forward to seeing how the sport continues to evolve for an online audience.
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.
For more information about how The Playbook can help you change the game, visit wearetheplaybook.com.