Friday, July 13, 2012

Kansas City's All-Star Game Hits a Social Media Home Run

For hundreds of years, baseball has been all about tradition.  Ballpark hotdogs.  Take Me Out to the Ballgame. The 7th inning stretch.  Baseball is one of America's most beloved pastimes--and we don't see it transforming dramatically anytime soon.  But a popular technology was implemented in this year's All-Star game in Kansas City and it elevated the buzz of the entire week to a whole new level.  What was the technology, you ask? Social media, of course.

According to many, the All-Star game in Kansas City was the most social All-Star game ever.  But why wouldn't it be?  Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Blogger and even Instagram have grown exponentially since last year.  To learn that the 2012 All-Star game was an extremely social one should come to no surprise to fans and social media gurus alike.
The Social Media Command Center.
image via Kansas City Star

But it was surprising when Kansas City Mayor Sly James commented that his favorite part of the All-Star game was the social media center, which was made up of a small group of volunteers at the H&R Block World Headquarters, about 15 minutes away from Kauffman Stadium.  The center quickly became known as the Kansas City Social Media Command Center.  The Center was used to monitor content posted from social media users in Kansas City using specialized software.  Volunteers also responded to questions about tourism, travel, KC, and all activities circulating the All-Star game.

Hashtags including #ASG and #HRDerby decorated Kauffman Stadium throughout the week.  The hashtags were even printed on each and every ticket sold.  A Twitter feed was rolling near the outfield in which 290,000 comments were posted with #ASG in the first inning alone!  That number alone surpassed the total posts from the entire All-Star game in 2011.

Twitter may have hit its peak when Robinson Cano (New York Yankees) stepped up to the plate during the Home Run Derby.  As the player was surprisingly booed by a plethora of Kansas City fans (much to the disapproval of Cano himself), the Yankee responded immediately with none other than a 140-character tweet.  And it was a tweet heard 'round the world.  That tweet alone caused an onslaught of both positive and negative attention on KC fans.

Although we still love the classic bag of peanuts, a coordinated "wave" from the crowd and those once-in-a-lifetime home-run catches from the stands, we are ecstatic that Kansas City went above and beyond with its social media effort during the All-Star game.  Next up?  The Olympics.

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