Fans Starved For Football

Photograph of Donovan McNabb Throwing A Pass Against The Tennessee Titans

Photo Courtesy of



About 42.5 million Americans visited sports sites in the first full week after the NFL lockout ended.
That accounted for a 258% increase in unique US visitors.

THOUGHT: Thought the lockout was going to alienate the NFL’s customers?

Think again.

They’re called fans for a reason, as in fanatic. 

I’ve had the fortune of studying sports fans from several different perspectives: As one of them, as a blogger who creates content for them, and as a marketer who must understand them. These are some things I’ve learned about them. 

They are voracious consumers of content. They can’t get enough content about their favorite teams and players. Stories, photos, video content; all of it. 

They love to talk about their sport, their teams, and their players. They discuss and debate and you can see them do it old skool through email lists and web forums or you can see them do it through social media on Facebook and Twitter and, if you’ve got the stomach for it, you can watch them debate in the comments section of your state newspaper’s website. 

They collaborate. During the NFL draft they will post links to video highlights and player profiles in the comments of their favorite sites and discuss and debate their team’s choices.

They take to Facebook and Twitter and comment on the game in real-time Mystery Science Theater 3000-style, and, I suspect, they’ll now form video hangouts at Google+ to do the same.

They’re nothing if not passionate and because they’re so passionate, they’re pretty easy to find. They tell you who and where they are based on the searches they perform, on the statuses they update, on the videos and photos they upload, and the opposing fans they insult. 

So far, I think media organizations have done the best job of engaging them online, typically through blogs. Take a look at ESPN’s NFC North blogger, Kevin Seifert (a former Vikings beat writer). He regularly involves blog readers as collaborators on content

The teams themselves are more standoffish toward fans. They provide the content–and increasingly a lot more of it–that fans crave but they don’t generally instigate conversations with them. But I think soon enough, they too will follow the lead of sports media and individual bloggers. 

With expectations set by bloggers and sports media, the absence of the voice of their team in online conversations is glaring when even the players are talking through Twitter and Facebook their own blogs. 

KEYWORD WEDNESDAY: Stevie Nicks is currently touring the United States and makes a stop tonight for a concert in Minnesota. In a video podcast, I take a look at search behavior across the country during her tour. [WATCH Stevie Nicks Tour Search Behavior.]



Thank you for Stevie Nicks, of course!



The e-Strategy Academy covers all aspects of digital marketing including search optimization & marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, video marketing, mobile marketing & public relations.