Commentary

U.S. Open Plans Gigantic Social Media Wall

Like chocolate and peanut butter, or bananas and peanut butter -- really, anything and peanut butter -- it seems like spectator sports, social media, and digital out-of-home technology just kind of go together. A good part of our enjoyment is social, as we root for the team with other fans, and there’s an ocean of player stats and data for wonkier fans to share and debate. Meanwhile, what could be more exciting than seeing your own comments splashed up on digital signage in front of thousands of fellow spectators?

 

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Next week will bring yet another social media-sports-digital signage tie-up at the U.S. Open, where event planners from the U.S. Tennis Association are creating a truly massive “social media wall”: the digital signage installation, measuring 50 feet long by eight feet tall, will display U.S. Open-related tweets, as well as content from Facebook and Instagram, near the entrance to the Louis Armstrong Stadium at the USTA’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens.

 

To have their tweets and other social media content displayed on the wall, fans just have to use the official U.S. Open hashtag, #usopen, according to USA Today. Appropriately hashtagged content will also be displayed on the U.S. Open Web site, usopen.org, as well as on the sites of sponsors, including Esurance, Chase, and Xerox. Of course the posts will be monitored and filtered for inappropriate and offensive content.

 

As noted, this is just the most recent in a series of mashups of social media, sports, and place-based media. In June the San Francisco Giants unveiled the new @Café (pronounced At Café), located behind the centerfield bleachers at AT&T Park, the team’s home stadium. The café, which was launched in partnership with Peet’s Coffee and Tea, provides an immersive social media environment, complete with a 12 foot by 4 foot video wall that displays all the latest and top-trending Giants-related Tweets, Instagram photos, and Facebook posts, polls and check-ins. Visitors can also watch the Giants’ social media team in action at the Giants Social Media Command Center.

And in September of last year Access Sports Media, a digital out-of-home network, unveiled social media advertising integrations through a new service called Access Sports Connect, which gives marketers the ability to feature their brands in the social and mobile marketing messages of professional sports teams nationwide, including franchises in the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, Minor League baseball, and NCAA basketball and football leagues. Examples of marketer-supported promotions enabled by Access Connect include photo sharing, flash ticket giveaways, player-of-the-game voting, and behind-the-scenes player access.  These promotions can be coordinated with messages on Access Sports’ digital out-of-home network in sports venues, which includes 20,000 digital displays of varying sizes at 200 properties around the country.

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