Losing Offline, But Winning Online: Social Media Strategies of NY Sports Teams

By Michele Weisman As a Mets, Jets, and Knicks fan I know what it is like to root for teams who never win championships. Entire generations of fans have endured many disappointing seasons. How does this on-field futility translate to each team’s off-field social media strategy, which is essential to maintain and grow an enthusiastic fan base?

I have examined and graded each team’s social media presence:

New York Knicks

When the Knicks last won an NBA Championship, Richard Nixon was president. It’s amazing that we still call NYC the Mecca of Basketball, when the home team is so lousy and its management is so inept. When LeBron snubbed the Knicks for Miami, the city collectively moaned, “Here we go again.” Luckily, the signing of free agent Amar’e Stoudemire put some buzz back into the team.

Fortunately, there are a lot less turnovers on the Knicks’ Facebook and Twitter pages than on the court. Every day, the Knicks successfully engage with over 128,000 Facebook fans as well as 31,000 Twitter followers. Each week, one lucky person is designated “Fan of the Week” on Facebook.  Although there is no prize invoved except for recognition, this popular tactic has been employed by numerous other brands on Facebook such as Dunkin Donuts, Oreo, and Papa John’s.

The Knicks franchise is organically growing their fan base by sharing interactive content, including posting multimedia on Facebook and announcing breaking news regarding signings and trades on Twitter.

Bottom line- if a brand actively engages their fans by providing valuable content, you will build a loyal group of dedicated fans. The strategy is obviously working because even I am getting excited about the upcoming season!

Grade: A-

New York Jets

The New York Jets have not won the Super Bowl since 1969.  The hype for this season is tremendous. The Jets have been featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks, as well as on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Odds makers have favored them to win the AFC Championship and take a trip to the Super Bowl. While the Jets are notorious for not living up to the hype, how does their social media stack up?

There is certainly a lot of pre-season conversation occurring on the Jets’ Facebook and Twitter pages. The Jets are constantly responding to their fans via Facebook and Twitter. Plus, the graphics on both pages are superb. However, there is room for improvement. An increase of incentives for fans as well as additional contests should increase their current fan base of over 180,000 Facebook fans as well as 35,000 Twitter followers.

Grade: B

New York Mets

The Mets last won their championship two years before I was born. During my lifetime, they have made it to the World Series once, resulting in a humiliating defeat, to whom else, the New York Yankees in 2000.  For the most part, the Mets have been one grumbling, bumbling, fumbling and soon to be crumbling franchise.

Many of their fans think they could put together a better team than Omar Minaya. Does this organizational incompetence equal that of their social media strategy?

Currently, the Mets are giving all of their Facebook fans a 15% off discount for “Facebook Friday” on September 17th. However, their social media strategy on Facebook and Twitter lacks direction. Although the Mets are making an effort, content is not updated daily and there is no dialogue between the team and its fans.

Grade: C

How do you think the Knicks, Jets, and Mets can improve their social media strategy? Can you think of other professional sports teams with a great social media presence? Share in the comments section below!