{Rules of PR no. 13} Sports and Social Media: A Case Study

Baby Belmo

By: Darren Heitner, guest blogger

No one watches bowling…except for the 1.4 million viewers who regularly skip NFL programming on Sunday to tune into PBA Tour events on ESPN. Average viewer impressions continue to grow every year, and this trend has been most dramatic in the 18-34 year-old demographic. Enter Jason Belmonte, a young-man from Orange, Australia, who has taken over the bowling world, and captured hearts in the process, old and young.

Jason Belmonte is my newest bowling client. I am the founder and CEO of Dynasty Athlete Representation, a full-service sports and talent agency based in South Florida. Unlike most sports agencies, my company has thrown itself at the world of bowling, and in only a little more than two-years of being an entity, Dynasty has the world’s strongest bowling division. We are having more fun and enjoying more success now, with the addition of Belmonte, than we have in our two-years of existence.

Belmonte, also known as “Belmo”, has a sort of cult following. He has five specific attributes that I like to point out to potential sponsors looking for Belmo’s endorsement:

1. He is unique. Belmo is the only bowler on the PBA Tour to use two hands when bowling.
2. He is attractive.
3. He is young.
Jason is only 25-years-old.
4. He is worldly. Jason was born in Australia, and he is very popular there. Additionally, he loves to travel.
5. He is under-saturated. Bowling, in general, is not oversaturated with sponsors.

But bowling’s solid numbers and Belmo’s unique attributes were not enough. All of us at Dynasty believed that there was something more that we could be doing. We needed to start planning Belmo’s social media presence.

The most important thing about building a social media platform for a client is making sure that the client is behind it. If the client is uninterested, then you will waste your time, and it may turn out to hurt the client’s reputation. Thus, when Belmo told me that he was totally uninterested in using Twitter, I did not need to hear any more. Jason Belmonte would not be using Twitter.

Case closed.

However, Belmo told me that he loves to blog.

In particular, he enjoyed writing a dairy on his personal website. We took a look at the site and noticed it has been bare for quite some time. Additionally, the layout needed a serious upgrade. In response, we contracted with an overseas web site coding/design company and they have been diligently working on a brand new site for Belmo. It is really looking sharp, and will include an easy back-end system to allow Belmo to make constant updates to his diary, which will be placed right on the main page. We also have plans to make a members only club that will include all sorts of social media and competitions to engage his fans and user-base.

Our most recent social success with Jason Belmonte occurred through the use of Facebook. Facebook, the small website started by some guys at Harvard…helping out a 25-year-old two-handed bowler from Australia grow his brand.

Back in April, I received a cold email (like a cold call, but…an email) from a college student who developed a business plan for professional athletes and Facebook marketing. I read all of my emails and try to respond to all of them as well. You never know when you will find a diamond in the rough. So I read through this college student’s plan and decided to let him test out his platform on Belmo.

Let’s just say that Jason Belmonte’s Facebook page has quickly turned into a monster. In less than a month of being in existence, he has over 1,400 fans. The best part, is that many of them are extremely interactive with the page. They leave comments, “like” stories, and want more and more from Belmo.

The PBA noticed the success of the page and recently promoted Jason’s Facebook Fan Page on its website. Jason was updating his page with video, links, and pictures all last weekend during the GEICO Summer Series event, which will be aired throughout the Summer on ESPN.

Long story short: Athletes have a lot to gain from using social media.

You must make sure that they embrace the medium and stay connected to their fans.

We are seeing great success with Jason Belmonte, alone.

Little Pink Book’s Rule of PR #13:
Social Media is a big deal. Do not ignore it.
Technology is changing and growing at a rapid speed,
and not everything is as it seems. Choose your mediums
of communication wisely, yet move with the times.
It’s the only way to keep up.
Be smart!


Darren Heitner has more experience in the sports agent industry than most people that are more than twice his age. He has created the first sports agent blog on the internet, Sports Agent Blog,which receives upwards of 5,000 unique visits per day from agents, athletes, media sources, and the general public.

Comments

  1. Very true, great article. By the way, that college student is me! Jason's Facebook Page has been a huge success and we've achieved some serious growth in the first two months. We're adding new fans everyday and we're proud to say that Jason has some of the most enthusiastic, loyal fans in any sport.

  2. Very good to know Justin! Your input is much appreciated on the Pink Book 🙂

  3. Very good to know Justin! Your input is much appreciated on the Pink Book 🙂

  4. Very good to know Justin! Your input is much appreciated on the Pink Book 🙂