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UT NEWS & Updates

NFL & Social Media Integration – v4

Posted by Team UT on September 5th, 2014   Interactive, Social Media, Sports Marketing

The new season kicks off in full on Sunday, and we take another audit of the NFL to see how the teams are promoting and integrating social media on their websites.

Just like our previous reports (#1 – May 17, 2012; #2 – Nov. 01, 2012; #3 – Sept. 05, 2013) the focus of this audit is strictly on the league and team websites: how they promote and integrate social media on the website. All findings are based on research of team sites on September 04-05, 2014.


Team Key Findings

Total # of SM Channels Integrated by year:

  • Sept. 05, 2014 – 161
  • Sept. 05, 2013 – 155
  • Oct. 31, 2012 – 126

Team Activation by Channel:


  • The Patriots had been the only team to include promotion of Vine (albeit linking to Tim Tebow’s acct, good to see they fixed that), but Philadelphia and Atlanta have added it this year.
  • The Jets and Redskins were again the only teams to include promotion of Reddit.
  • The Eagles and Saints were the only teams to promote Snapchat.
  • Foursquare went down by two with removals by the Texans, and Patriots.
  • The Chargers haven’t removed their promotion of an inactive Tumblr account ( – last post 2 years ago), while the Saints continue to frequently update theirs (
  • Four teams dropped Pinterest (Cardinals, Colts, Vikings, and Rams), while the Bears were the only team to add it.
  • Google+ added one as the Ravens and Jaguars added it, and the Rams dropped it.
  • The Chargers haven’t removed their inactive Flickr account ( – last photo from June17, 2013), but interesting to see the 49ers add it and make it first in their list of universal social media icons on their website.
  • The 49ers still promote Tout and YouTube activations, but both are clearly inactive as they haven’t posted a Tout since February 2, 2013 (, and a video since August 23, 2012 (

Teams Promoting the Most Activations:
8 – San Diego, Washington
7 – Atlanta, Jacksonville, New Orleans, Philadelphia
6 –Carolina, Dallas, Kansas City, New England, New York Jets, San Francisco

Teams Promoting the Least Activations:
3 – Cincinnati, Minnesota, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay

Social Media Navigation
The Saints (Social), join Denver (Social) and Atlanta (Social Media) in including a social media-related naming scheme in their main navigations (St. Louis dropped theirs). Below is an update on other teams that included a sub-link naming scheme tied to social media:

Bills = Fans | Social Media
Colts = FanZone |Colts on Social
Cowboys = Fans | Cowboys Connection
Eagles = Fans | Social
Giants = Fan Zone | Social Media Guide
Jaguars = FanZone | Jaguars Connect
Jets = Jets Nation | Connect with the Jets
Lions = News | Social Media
Packers = Fan Zone | Social Media
Panthers = FanZone | Social Media Hub
Patriots = Fan Zone | Social Media
Rams = Fans | Social Hub
Redskins = Fan Zone | Social Media
Steelers = Fan Zone | Steelers Connect
Texans = Fan Zone | Texans Social Media
Titans = Fan Zone | Social Media

*Interesting that the Eagles and Ravens are the only teams to use bottom-only universal footer icons. Missing an opportunity for immediate exposure in the top header area.

Social as Mainstream Content
Good to see these teams integrate social content into other sections besides a normally hidden social media sub-page. We’re starting to see social content in a more mainstream light:

  • Bills – News – Twitter Updates
  • Lions – News – Social Media
  • Ravens – News – Facebook, Twitter, Google+
  • Titans – News – Facebook, Twitter
  • 49ers – Roster – Twitter Roster
  • Bengals – Media – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
  • Browns – Team – Twitter Roster
  • Vikings – Team – Twitter Accounts
  • 49ers – Photos – Instagram
  • Bills – Photos – Instagram
  • Cardinals – Photos – Instagram
  • Falcons – Media Lounge – Instagram
  • Packers – Photo Galleries – Instagram
  • Ravens – Photos – Instagram

Team Facebook Covers
A few teams have included social graphics for download. The Cardinals and Pats need to update their offerings.

Not directly related to social media integration on the website, but wanted to callout the Packers and Redskins for including infographic pages. The Packers appear to do a better job of frequently updating theirs, but smart inclusion of content by both teams.

Atlanta Falcons – Twitter Directory:
Solid directory here by the Falcons with five categories.

Baltimore Ravens – Instagram Feed
Noted this feature last year, but noticed on the page they now also include a #Ravens Instagram module.  Not sure if this was strategically placed or luck of the side ad column draw, but there are opportunities for making these full page width and a more impactful visual.

Baltimore Ravens –Hashtag Galleries
The Ravens do a good job with their hashtag galleries, and I like that they let fans submit photos under multiple categories. I’d go one step further and create individual game galleries too.

Carolina Panthers – Social Hub
Full disclosure we worked with the Panthers on the social content section. The Hub includes a promotional content viewer; feeds for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+; Tweet #Panthers Button; Twitter Directory; callouts for Mobile, Foursquare, and Message Boards; Hashtag Gallery, and content admin.

Cleveland Browns – Twitter Roster
Browns have the start of a good idea including a “Twitter Roster” link in their Team section, but execution could be improved. The animation appears to come from v1 of Flash, and the feed doesn’t really help fans find out which of the players are on Twitter. Should include a true directory along with the feed.

Detroit Lions – #OnePride Fan Photos
Short description would go a long ways here. The module does include a Twitter and Instagram icon with the hashtag, so assuming that’s what they want fans to do. The actual display shows a rotating screen of images that can’t be clicked or provide any rollover info. *Panthers do a good job that is worth checking out too –

Green Bay Packers – @PackersPromos
Packers might be the only team to provide a graphical callout for their Promos account on Twitter. Well done on the promotion, and on creating the account in the first place – could provide nice benefits for fans.

Indianapolis Colts – Social Infographic
The Colts do a really nice job with this infographic: team hashtags, channel account links (more than just the primary Team acct), directory of Cheerleaders on Twitter (players link doesn’t work), and official game hashtags. *NY Giants offer a similar infographic style that is worth a look:

Jacksonville Jaguars – Jaguars Connect
Similar to the Patriots example, but with possibly a better display, a value-add social directory for fans by the Jags.

New England Patriots – #PatsGameFace
Interested to see if the Pats carry this through for the 2014 season, but the pats provided a curated Twitter & Instagram feed of fan photos on this page, and they also included a sponsor – Bob’s Discount Furniture.

New England Patriots – Social Media Directory
Normally not a fan of simple directory pages, because they list the main team accounts only, but in this case the Pats do a good job of listing multiple team-related accounts under most platforms which provide a solid value-add of information for fans. One addition I would add is a separate Players Directory page.

Philadelphia Eagles – Hashtag Schedule
The Hashtag Schedule idea is similar to the Colts and Giants, but I like that the Eagles went a step further and under the main Schedule section included an actual link for “Hashtag Schedule”.

Philadelphia Eagles – Vine and Snapchat
Props to the Eagles for going the extra step and promoting their accounts on Vine and Snapchat. Make it easy as possible for fans to find you.

Philadelphia Eagles – Best of Snapchat:  Training Camp
Nice job by the Eagles to showcase content from Snapchat the fans may have missed and creating a photo gallery out of it. Now they just need to include a description line about checking them out on Snapchat for more great photos.

Philadelphia Eagles – #FlyEaglesFly
The Eagles included a hashtag link in their main header bar which goes to a separate site. The callout is a little weak and hidden actually, and there are no details on what the actual purpose is, but the site features: an incredible hype video, Tagboard feed for the hashtag, links that go back to the main site for News – Team – Schedule – Photos – Shop.

San Diego Chargers – #ChargersGameDay
Somewhat similar setup to the Pats, but with a Voting option instead of Share – Chargers showcase fan submissions from Twitter and Instagram with the related hashtag.

San Francisco 49ers – Forty Viners
Much was made of the 49ers “Forty Viners” program (and rightly so), but it was very surprising to not see any promotion of the Vine channel or the program (other than the original news release) within the site. Could have been a cool content addition with a ‘Forty Viners Gallery’ for fans to browse on the site.


*For inquiries on how UnCommon Thinking can help improve your team’s social media integration strategy please contact us at

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