Kansas City Gets Social for All-Star Game

While “Kansas City Twitter” sounds like a dance step circa 1919, in fact it represents the cutting edge in social media and sporting events: the government of Kansas City recently announced that it is forming dedicated social media teams formed to monitor Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare during the upcoming Major League Baseball All-Star Game, scheduled for July 10.

The social media teams, operating from the national headquarters of H&R Block in downtown Kansas City, will answer questions from fans, keep a look out for signs of trouble, and also help disseminate information in case of emergencies. The teams are composed of volunteers recruited from the Kansas City Social Media Club. Baseball fans are being encouraged to use the Twitter hashtag #kc, although the monitors will pick up anything Kansas City-related.

Kansas City is also launching three mobile apps for the All-Star Game, including a guide to Kansas City, a location-based check-in service dedicated to the city, and an app promoting the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

Sporting events are getting social in a big way. In February the Super Bowl in Indianapolis had its own “social media command center,” formed by Raidious, an Indianapolis-based digital marketing firm. The task force was responsible for monitoring social media and responding to questions, complaints, and comments posted by the 150,000-strong crowd of fans.

Meanwhile the International Olympic Committee has launched a social media platform, the Olympic Athletes’ Hub, that’s intended to bring together Olympic fans and athletes and concentrate social media resources for both. The OAH aggregates social media feeds from more than 1,000 Olympic athletes, including real-time updates of content from their Facebook and Twitter accounts; the site will also host online chats with athletes.

The London games organizing committee has also formulated rules governing how the veritable army of 70,000 unpaid volunteers may use social media during the games. Volunteers are forbidden to disclose any information about their own personal role, their location, or any information about athletes, celebrities, or visiting dignitaries. On the plus side, they can retweet or repost official postings from the London 2012 social media team, which is supposed to provide centralized control of social media content through the site described above.

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