In conclusion, over the course of this blog I have discovered through my extensive research on the subject that digital media has become a vital part of every sporting event ranging from a small organised cycle by a former glorified olympic cyclist to the largest sporting event in the word – the Olympic Games. The advantages of using social media are so clear now that they outweigh the disadvantages for high profile athletes. Motivations for using social media in order to experience sporting events are now so varied and diverse that they capture millions of sports fans attention to go online and follow their favourite athletes or teams.

I hope that you have thoroughly enjoyed reading my blog on the topic Digital Media and Sporting Events and take away with you a new view on the topic as well as new information and discussion topics to think over.



Positive Side of Using Social Media for Athletes

I have already discussed previously some of the negative aspects of high profile athletes using social media, however, there are also many positives that come from a persons use of social media for example – many athletes are funded solely through their specific sponsorship partners. There are arguments where athletes tweet about their sponsors and tag their products in order to keep them happy and promote their products. Some high performance athletes even go so far in doing a TV advertisement campaign such as Mo Farah who does adverts for Virgin Media and with Usain Bolt making £2 million from advertising for Virgin alone, you can see why this is attractive to athletes. (Hickman L 2012)

Some sports, such as rowing, the athletes do not make a good living from being a professional athlete alone. And so, they are required take the opportunities which social media presents for sponsorship.

Athletes have the power to engage with fans and members of the public instantly through social media platforms – for example, Lance Armstrong Tweeted in 2011 “Alright Scotland – it’s on. Twitter ride! Meet 5pm tomorrow (Sunday) in Dornoch (Sutherland County) at The Eagle Pub. 30-mile loop.” This sort of organisation would be impossible to do at such a last minute schedule without the use of social media. (BBC 2011) 1,000 then turned up in Sutherland and then 300 riders cycled alongside him, which shows the power and positive side of athletes using social media. (BBC 2011)

Here are some examples of Usain Bolt, Mo Farah and other high profile athletes promoting their sponsors for personal gain.


International Olymic Committee. (2012) Factsheet, London 2012 Facts and Figures (2012) (Online) Available at: (Accessed 20 April 2015)

BBC (2011) Lance Armstrong tweets invite for Dornoch bike ride. (online) Available at: (accessed 29 April 2015)

Hickman, L. (2012) The Value of a Tweet. Available at: (Accessed 20 April 2015)

Case Study – World Rowing

World rowing is the federation responsible for hosting and running several events each year which engage millions of people around the world. For obvious reasons, not all of these people can attend every event as they take place all across the world in over 10 different countries and the time table for these events change every year. This presents World Rowing with a unique challenge and opportunity to give millions of online spectators a chance to view live streamed races from all of their events on their website video link. For this reason, it is vital for the progression of the sport that social and digital media is used to its full extent. World rowing use several different types of digital media including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and live streaming on their website to engage as much of the rowing community as possible.

World Rowing also tweet live results as soon as they happen continuously on their twitter account as well as posting photos on Facebook from each day of their events. At every single event World Rowing also have a YouTube account where they post videos of interviews with high performance athletes at the regattas in order for their fans to see the inside happenings in the lives of these athletes, as well as written interviews which are then posted on their website.

Have a look through their website here, in order to gauge the extent that this exciting sport uses digital media platforms –

How Do We Use Social Media


There are many different ways in which we – the public – use our different channels of social media when we are viewing sporting events. It doesn’t seem to matter if a person is present or not present at a sporting event – we look up results regardless to see them live – for example through our Twitter feeds if we follow that particular athlete or sports team. “Social media provides users with real-time updates, scores and statistics for every team, 24 hours a day.” (Jernigan, 2014)

How do you use the internet or your social media channels online? Do you tweet a selfie and tag the sporting event in order to get a retweet for recognition, do you “check-in” on Facebook to say we are there, or do you simply browse the live results that come streaming into your Twitter feed?

AGE SOCIAL MEDIAThere are many different ways that we use social media and for many different reasons (Jernigan, K 2014), however 5% of people that were interviewed for used social media in order to read about athletes. (Finn, G 2011) People who use digital media more than others in order to look up sporting events results is the more likely to be young to middle aged people, as the elderly people don’t use digital media nearly as much as younger people do due to certain restrictions and barriers.

There are different types of reasons as to why the elderly do not use social media as much as young people such as – lack of literacy skills, no access and socio cultural reasons such as the influence of their parents. All of these examples are barriers to many people going online and using social media to look up sporting events results live, see the live twitter feed if they do not have an account or looking at Facebook photos from the events. These people may also be impacted by gender, race, socioeconomic status, primary language, location, disability, educational level and age. AGE SOCIO

This video shows you how to get the elderly to overcome barriers and fears over using digital media and ways in which you can get elderly people online –


Jernigan, K. (2014)Social Media’s Role In Sports Marketing (Online) Available at: (Accessed 27 April 2015)

Kumar, A. (2014) Trends – Sports and the Second Screen (Online) Available at: (Accessed 30 April 2015)

Pew Research Centre. Social Networking Fact Sheet. (Online) Available at: (Accessed 29 April 2015)

Finn, G. 2011 Survey: Most Use Social Media To Keep In Touch, Not To Follow Celebrities Or Find Dates (Online) Available at: (accessed 29 April 2015)

Ariyachandra et al (2009) Seniors’ perceptions of the Web and social networking, Issues in Information Systems X(2)

Negative Side of Social Media for Athletes and Sporting Events

Social media has generally been viewed in recent times as a positive thing to happen to athletes with regard to sponsorship opportunities and building a fan base.

However, on the other side of that there can also be a very negative side of high profile and high performance athletes using social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook and there are also sometimes restrictions placed on these athletes on the content that they are allowed to post or share online. For example, ALL athletes around the world were prohibited by the IOC from advertising their sponsorship through their many different social media channels during the 2012 Olympic Games when they enforced their ‘Social Media Policy’. (Schwartzman 2012.) This meant that “Participants and other accredited persons are not permitted to promote any brand, product or service within a posting, blog or tweet…” which meant that sponsors of these athletes were not being recognised through social media and so they were unwilling to provide sponsorship to these athletes. (Schwartzman 2012.) This became a big issue for those athletes that were funded to go to the games solely through sponsorship that they relied on to allow them to compete in their chosen sport at a professional level.

3-social-media-lessons-from-the-olympicsAnother reason why social media can be a negative experience for certain athletes is that there are many people – ordinary members of the public – who become so emotionally involved in a situation they feel a very strong urge to share their views on their individual social media sites and “tagging” those athletes who they are targeting their negative comments to. “Trolls lurk under the bridges they urge others to jump from. That’s Internet slang for those who regularly post offensive insults for little more than mean-spirited sport.”(Brady, E Ortiz, L J. 2013) For one American baseball player, he had daily Twitter “trolls” who were were sending him death threats on a daily basis. “It was just constant negativity” (Brady, E Ortiz, L J. 2013). “A study done in 2014 by Chris Symeon from CKSyme Media Group measured social media use for Division I and Division II NACAA athletes. On average, only 26% of these athletes has protected Twitter accounts, around 61.5% did not know all of their followers, and 14% had been a victim of online harassment such as unsolicited inappropriate material, account impersonation, angry fans messaging, or cyberbullying.” (Kingan, C. 2015) This shows that athletes are very open to bullying and harassment from the public on their Twitter accounts.

Negativity about sporting events over social media is common because of the highly intense nature of competition. (Pickering, B 2013) Although on Twitter, they ban the use of violence and threats, they are still very common on a daily basis, particularly around a time of high involvement such as around a Games. (Pickering, B 2013) For example, the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games was heavily bashed on social media. (Kosner, A. 2012) One negative tweet was from Conservative MP Aidan Burley: “Thank God the athletes have arrived! Now we can move on from leftie multi-cultural crap. Bring back red arrows, Shakespeare and the Stones!” (BBC, 2012) This very negative comment shows what was to be the most common view of the opening ceremony.


BBC (2012). Media reaction to London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony (online) Available at: (accessed 19 April 2015)

Kosner, A. (2012) Why Many In The U.S. Did Not Get The Olympics Opening Ceremony In London (Online) Available at: (Accessed 19 April 2015)

Brady, E and Ortiz, L J. (2013) For Athletes, Social Media is Not All Fun and Games. (Online) Available at: (Accessed 28 April 2015)

Kingan, C. (2015)How to Limit the Negative Impact of Social Media on Athletes (Online) Available at: (accessed 29 April 2015)

Ellison et al (2006) Managing impressions online. JCMC 11(2)

Schwartzman, E. (2012) Why The Olympic Games Social Media Policy Failed (Online) Available at: (Accessed 20 April 2015)

Pickering, B. (2013) Athletes and Social Media: Untapped Goldmine or PR Landmine? (Online) Available at: (Accessed 19 April 2015)

Digital Marketing and Sporting Campaigns

There are different ways that sports teams can gain recognition online through the use of social media websites and digital media platforms. (Sheiner, T. 2012.). Sharing new and exciting content online about your sports team through the use of social media marketing now seems to be engrossing thousands of sports fans. “Fans follow and interact with their favourite teams, athletes.” (Jernigan, 2014). It allows them to closely follow the journey and happenings of their specific sports team through their Twitter page and Facebook pages. “Now, social media has become the go-to resource for many fans seeking fan photos, news, information and behind-the-scenes peeks for their favourite teams.” (Blakely. 2012)


“It’s hard to imagine that just a few short years ago (in 2009), the SEC actually considered banning social media at sporting events, before adopting a much more realistic and beneficial not-for-profit social media policy – allowing fans to post updates and pictures, as long as they made no money doing so.” (Blakely. 2012) However, now, at sporting events – there are QR codes to scan, there are digital banners along pitches for digital marketing for example at Murrayfield Stadium, Scotland (see below).

Sporting events use digital marketing in many ways. For the Commonwealth Games 2014, many high profile athletes took part in a advertising campaign, however, the Commonwealth Committee opted for a different approach on their TV advertisement which featured athlete animations which was broadcast in order to to promote the games worldwide.


Blakley, J. (2012) How Social Media is Changing Sports Marketing. Available at: (Accessed: 29 April 2015)

Corbett, M L. 6 ways you can use social media to promote your sports team. (Online) Available at: (Accessed: 27 April 2015)

SCHEINER, T. (2012) 4 Winning Sports Social Media Marketing Campaigns You Can Learn From. Available at: (Accessed: 29 April 2015)

Morgan, G. (2014) How is social media affected by the big sporting events? (Online) Available at: (Accessed: 23 April 2015)

Kapko, M. (2012) Sports Marketers Hope for Olympic Committee Reversal on Social Media (Online) Available at: (Accessed: 21 April 2015)

Jernigan, K. (2014)Social Media’s Role In Sports Marketing (Online) Available at: (Accessed 27 April 2015)

Athletes Privacy on Digital Media

It has become increasingly difficult for athletes in the spotlight around the time of high profile events such as the Olympic Games to keep any aspect of their life private. Because some sponsors may require these individuals to promote their training and activities before the Games, they are thrust into the media spotlight on a daily basis and any slip up on digital media platforms could be catastrophic for their career.

Many athletes now use Facebook as their main social media site (Vella, 2011) and it is increasingly important for them to use their privacy settings online wisely. Many athletes have now got their own personal Facebook page and also a page that the public can “Like” which the public can follow in order to see live updates and information from the athletes themselves. One reason as to why privacy online is increasingly important for high performance athletes is that potential sponsors can view and gain access to a lot of information online – “someone can gain a lot of knowledge about you just from your Facebook page.” (Vella, 2011)

Due to the nature of twitter and instant sharing on Facebook platforms, it is easy to gain an insight into every aspect of the persons day-to-day life. For example, if a high profile athlete was to share an unprofessional picture accidentally on their Facebook or twitter feed, there would be serious repercussions as the images/content would become instantly viral throughout these digital media platforms. “…potential privacy threats that they might face, including embarrassment, stalking, re–identification, and identity theft” (Boyd, Hargittai. 2010). These types of privacy threats are less common in high profile athletes, however embarrassment and stalking is still prolific as ever.

Here is a picture which was blasted over social media of Devin Thomas sleeping during an NFL team meeting, which had a big back lash from fans on Twitter following this post showing Devin to be unprofessional in his approach to the big game. (Quinton, 2014)



Quinton, S. (2014) Top 10 Dumbest and Most Regrettable Athlete Tweets Ever. (Online) Available at: (Accessed: 29 April 2015)

Vella, Kristen. (2011) Athletes on Facebook. Sport Management Undergraduate. Paper 18.

Boyd, d. and Hargittai, e. (2010), Facebook privacy settings: who cares? First Monday, 15(8)

Raynes-Goldie, K. (2010). Aliases, creeping and wall cleaning – understanding privacy in the age of Facebook. First Monday, 15(1).

Jernigan, K (2014) Social Media’s Role In Sports Marketing (Online) Available at: (Accessed, 27 Apirl 2015)

Honigman, B. (2012) 100 Fascinating Social Media Statistics and Figures From 2012 (Online) Available at: (Accessed, 28 April 2015)