5 Ways Social Media Has Changed the Game For Athletes

By Jessi Pierce

06/29/16

Take a second to think about who you follow on Facebook/Twitter/Snapchat/Instagram. While mom and dad and groups of friends and other relatives (props to grandma or grandpa if they have accounts on any of the above channels) might dot the lists, odds are celebrities and athletes make up a good portion. Who doesn’t want an inside peek on how the athletically inclined and glamorous live?

Social media opens up a door that was otherwise closed. It’s a behind-the-scenes opportunity to get to “know” your favorite athletes, and, it’s also a pretty great platform for athletes who want to reach out to their fan base for a number of reasons.

Here are the top five ways that social media has upped the anti for athletes and sports fans alike.

1. Athlete Access: Where else can you directly reach out to your favorite athlete from the comfort of your own home? Whether it’s a simple good luck shoutout, a question about a play or simply saying ‘hey’, social media allows athletes, teams and fans to interact like never before. The elusive retweet potential, or better yet an actual response, has fans cheering as loud as they are in the stadium.

2. Live Streaming: Periscope, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook Live now give sports fans an inside look like never before. With a cellphone on hand all the time, teams and athletes are quick to share—when permitted by the team I imagine—inside locker room celebrations, team warmups or sneak peeks on the road.

3. Team and Program Unveils: New jersey? Updated logo? About to name an Olympic roster or trade to a new team? Sure, ESPN might offer a spot for it, but social media is the way to go. Each channel lends itself to unique and fun ways to share a player’s or organization’s update.

4. Raising Awareness:
Many athletes have foundations and charities that they are proud to be a part of. Some have teamed up with a child who is battling cancermaybe even their own—and want to share updates and help raise awareness. Social media has one of the loudest voices to spread the word on such causes, and athletes are quick to grab the megaphone and use their celebrity status in the best possible way.


5. Being More Than Just Athletes:
Probably one of the best parts about the way athletes have embraced social media is the fact that it gives them an opportunity to take off the mask/helmet/jersey and become just regular people. Social media allows them to share personal moments that happen away from the field/court/ice. It gives fans a glimpse into their lives and serves as a reminder that they are just like everyone else—just with a couple thousand extra followers and a pretty great set of athletic skills.