You know those annoying baseball fans that watch as many games as possible, drive around with team license plate frames, and Tweet team news to their followers? Yep, I’m one of those. I’m a Cleveland Indians fan, or around these parts, a Tribe fan. Imagine my joy when I established my Twitter account and realized I could follow Tribe news from a number of sources including the official team Twitter account, @tribetalk.
So, what do you get when you mix good social media strategy and maxi zoom dweebie Tribe fans like me?
You get the Tribe Social Deck – a brandie-new concept officially launched by the Cleveland Indians on Opening Day 2010. According to my notes from Rob Campbell of the Indians PR department who sent me a personal invitation to participate after following my Tribe Tweets, the Tribe Social Deck is a section of the stadium exclusively for social media users that sits atop the left field wall at Progressive Field. An industry first, the Tribe Social Deck is most often an invitation-only opportunity (although you can apply here www.indians.com/connect) extended to folks identified by the Indians as social media influencers to attend a game for free.
What happens at the Deck?
From what I understand, attendees receive information from Indians staff that is typically only available to media in the press box. Although the section offers private Wi-Fi network set-up for Tribe Social Deck attendees, six power outlets and a flatscreen HDTV on the Deck, there are no requirements for attendees to Tweet or Blog post during the event. Attendees simply come, attend a home game, and connect with Indians staff and other social media folks in a relaxed environment and have a great time. According to Campbell, the Tribe Social Deck has been attended every home game since Opening Day 2010 with the exception of a few effected by inclement weather.
How did they get this thing started?
The Tribe Social Deck concept was collaboratively developed with the Cleveland Indians and Digital Royalty, and as far as we know, there has never been a section of a stadium exclusively dedicated to the internet and social media community. No one else is doing this, but I expect to see other sports teams modeling this concept. I mean, get this – every bit of coverage on this new social media experiment has been generated by Tribe Social Deck attendees. That’s right, every Tweet, every editorial, every Blog article – all generated by attendees. In fact, according to Campbell, the team never even issued a press release. (How totally brilliant is this? Of course we’re going to write about it…)
Yep, I’ll be attending a home game this Saturday July 3rd (I even get to bring a guest!) and I’ll report again following the experience. What a great way to build relationships with enthusiastic fans who are engaged in social media!