Best Use of Social Media for Sports← Go back to category
Team members: Jim Marsh - Social Marketing Manager
About this entry
HBO has established a dominant presence in the social space for the sport of boxing, leading the way for athletes,networks, promoters, journalists, and other insiders to follow. 2011 was a year of major growth for HBO Boxing social platforms, engaging existing fans and discovering and educating new ones every day of the year. While boxing may be considered a niche sport, HBO has been instrumental in helping to transition the boxing industry into one that is heavily reliant upon social media.
The case for why this entry should win a Shorty
Twitter has become a major haven for boxing fans and insiders and HBO has effectively used the medium to bring the boxing world closer together while simultaneously finding new fans. HBO’s social media boxing experts live tweet fights from @HBOBoxing, providing fans with the latest fight action updates. @HBOBoxing helps link fighters with existing and potential fans while positioning HBO as the connective tissue. Fan predictions, questions and opinions are often solicited to empower “boxing-heads” and recruit them as ambassadors of the sport. Those who weigh-in are often rewarded with highly coveted items such as gloves signed by high profile fighters.
HBO brought fighter/fan social connections to the next level in 2011 with a series of live chats and commentaries on HBO Connect, the social media extension of HBO.com. High profile fighters Bernard Hopkins, Chad Dawson and Miguel Cotto all participated in live chats during fight week. Boxing fans were especially excited to watch a replay of Pacquiao vs. Marquez I on HBO alongside Manny Pacquiao as he tweeted his live commentary, the first time social media was used to get directly into the mind of an athlete as he relived one of his epic matches. HBO Connect events were promoted on-air and through the social profiles of all participants to spur growth and spread awareness.
The dedicated HBO Sports YouTube channel launched in 2011 and has become extremely popular with fans looking for fight highlights and promos for upcoming matches. The GetGlue presence found Facebook and Twitter users checking into their every match on the network and broadcasting their actions to their social followings.
• The HBO Boxing Facebook page grew by 154% to 573K connections, while the @HBOBoxing Twitter profile grew 86% to 95K followers.
• HBO maintains the largest Facebook and Twitter presences of any brand associated with boxing – only a few elite fighters maintain larger followings.
• GetGlue users checked into sports and boxing programming 116K times and 65K stickers were awarded. The total Twitter and Facebook reach was over 46MM.
• The HBO Sports Youtube channel drove over 17.8MM video views, and HBO.com/boxing tallied 4MM visits, with average time spent per visit hovering around 7 minutes, the second highest time spent within an HBO programming franchise.