MLB: Social Media Helping Ratings

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(from Sports Business Journal, October 15, 2012) Since the MLB all-star game there has been an increase in social media activity throughout the MLB. The playoffs have seen the biggest increase with over 2.62 million social media comments on Twitter and Facebook through the first 6 days of the postseason. This is more than twice the activity during the entire first round of the playoffs last season. After New York Yankee, Raul Ibanez, hit a walk-off home run during the Division Series, there was over 74,000 comments within 5 minutes after the dramatic home run.  The MLB believes that they will surpass this number during the postseason.

“The social media activity has been a significant complement to what’s happening on TV with our broadcast partners, and it has directly informed our content creation and our programming decisions on a truly real-time basis,” said Jacqueline Parkes, MLB Chief Marketing Officer.

This year the players were able to tweet during the Home Run Derby, and once they were taken out of the All Star Game. This lead to 804,000 social media comments during the Home Run Derby, and more than 808,000 for the actual game, which was played the next night. The 808,000 social media comments tripled the number from the previous All Star Game in Phoenix.

In June, a Fan Cave video shot featuring Cincinnati Reds, Aroldis Chapman and Bronson Arroyo, singing “Red Hooded Sweatshirt” quickly went viral. This lead to MLB cutting the video down to a 30 second TV promo, which was aired on TBS during the postseason broadcasts.

“We’ve been able to get much more real-time in our analysis through social and work directly with our broadcast partners, with [MLB Advanced Media], determine what’s trending socially, respond to that, and try to optimize on that data,” Parkes said. Even though the MLB has had social media increases, they still trail the NFL in peak social media. The October 10 game between the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles, the game in which Raul Ibanez hit two home runs, generated 485,401 social media comments. The NFL has had 3 games already in which the social media comments have reached 500,000.

MLB executives are still happy with the increased social media gains. “Social media is one of those areas particularly benefiting from the building day-to-day drama of the postseason,” Parkes said.