Social Media in the Football Stadium

There’s nothing like game day on a college campus. Students are sporting the team colors, the cheerleaders are getting everyone pumped up, and the anticipation for the game leaves you so excited you could fist pump (it was Jersday, after all).

At Central Michigan University, where I go to school, people were getting excited for the first football game hours before kickoff. With our student body’s love for all things social media, everyone I know was showing their school pride through Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ before it was even noon. By the time our 7 p.m. football game rolled around, I swear #FireUpChips should have been a Trending Topic.

While it’s easy to use social media to show your school spirit prior to the game, it’s extremely difficult to do it during. In the heat of the moment, when there are plays being run and points being scored, people wouldn’t dream of spending a moment on their cell phone trying to keep up with the digital world. I noticed this from other students while in the stands. Even though the announcer encouraged fans of the Chippewas to visit the Facebook fan page, or follow CMU Athletics on Twitter, no one really did it.

However, I don’t think that was the intention behind the announcement. With the excitement for the game so early on in the day, I would be willing to wager CMU only wanted to make sure students were aware that they can take their school spirit online. The goal is to encourage them to interact with the Facebook page and Twitter account later on, not when they’re at the game.

Along with that, CMU Athletics and the surrounding media give fans who don’t have the capability of making it to the game a chance to stay up to date on all things Chippewas as well. There is a live broadcast on the radio stations, but one thing I noticed from following the hashtag is the live Tweeting as well. One tweet by @TheMacDaily gave a brief explanation of a play, while providing the new score as well. This tweet, and this Twitter tag, was not the only one of its kind.

For fans not in the stadium, or even those not in front of a television to watch the game, social media can be an immediate way to stay informed with the progress of the game. For fans who are in the stadium, being on your phone is not only taboo at a sporting event, but also hard to encourage. For Central, if they wanted to get more people broadcasting their school spirit on the web, I would recommend a social media promotion. For example, “Tweet about the game with the hashtag #FireUpChips, and you could have a chance to have your tweet appear on the scoreboard during halftime.” Or, offer a prize to the person with the most tweets during the game using the #FireUpChips hashtag from within the stadium.

There’s a lot of possibilities to expand the use of social media during the football game. The problem is only getting people to participate. With incentives offered, even inexpensive ones, I’m sure there will be no shortage of school spirit flooding the news feeds of Facebook and Twitter users everywhere.


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