Case Study: Miami Dolphins Use of Social Networking

Case Study: Miami Dolphins Use of Social Networking outlines how the Dolphins are putting fans in the center of their own experience with social tools.

Jim Rushton, Miami Dolphins

Case Study: Miami Dolphins Use of Social Networking: Jim RushtonI had the opportunity to moderate the conference NFL session this afternoon at the Social Networking Conference, where pioneers from theĀ Miami Dolphins and theĀ Seattle Seahawks shared their experiences with social media. Here are my notes from Jim Rushton’s remarks.


Case Study: Miami Dolphins Use of Social Networking: social networking conferenceThe Miami Dolphins will be hosting Super Bowl XLIV next week, so it was only appropriate for the Social Networking Conference to feature NFL case studies. Here are Jim’s insights on the Miami Dolphins’ strategy and tactics:

Miami Dolphins Social Networking Lessons Learned

  • The Dolphins’ social networking team focuses on fan experience inside and outside of games. They perceive that they run several businesses such as: stadium, ticket sales, concessions, and integrated media (presumably he meant media rights, revenue). They want to use social networking to create a stronger glue between different businesses.
  • He brought up a great point that newspapers had uncertain revenue models early in their history, so the team keeps in mind that there are many unknowns, they are experimenting.
  • They think about a social networking process with fans: gain awareness and favor to earn transactions.
  • Fans are far more difficult to reach because there are some many more ways to communicate now, it’s a splintered media ecosystem.
  • They try to deploy their media assets to increase engagement.
  • They perceive four “social circles of sports”: the NFL > the team > the fans > the person.
  • They focus on three levels of engagement: the stadium, the screen (home TV or computer) and radio/mobile.
  • From a demographic perspective, Florida has many Boomers, who have time and money, so the Dolphins try to engage them with the “NFL Alumni” program; they are also building special sections of the stadium.
  • They engage fans in several ways: bloggers get invited “behind the curtain” to blog about the team and games in Web Weekend.
  • Don’t overlook “do good” initiatives; the Dolphins have the “Touchdown for Life” blood drive.
  • Two-way blog enables fans to comment and help “cover” games. They also have ticket giveaways for people who participate in several ways.
  • Fan Cams lends flipcams to fans, so they can shoot the game, and the best ones are featured alongside the Dolphins’ content.

Final Shots

Jim’s message was integrate your social activity with other marketing and promotions. The Dolphins also have the right attitude. Jim closed by saying, “Realize that failure is an option; if you are going to try something new, accept the possibility.”

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