UT NEWS & Updates

NFL & Social Media Integration – v3

Posted by Team UT on September 5th, 2013   Social Media, Sports Marketing, UnCommon News

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


Just like our previous reports (#1 – May 17, 2012 and #2 – Nov. 01, 2012) 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, 2013.



  • Still no universal icons for the activations.
  • They removed the main “Fans” section which used to have dropdown links for Facebook and Twitter.
  • No social media hub.
  • No team directory.


Team Key Findings

Total # of SM Channels Integrated:
Last October 31st the teams had 126, and now they’ve moved up to 155.

Team Activation by Channel on Website:

  • Twitter – 32
  • Facebook – 32
  • Instagram – 29
  • Pinterest – 21
  • Google+ – 19
  • Foursquare –10
  • YouTube – 5
  • Reddit – 2
  • Tumblr – 2
  • Flickr – 1
  • Tout – 1
  • Vine – 1


  • Instagram had the biggest integration jump going from 10 to 29. The three teams (Bears, Giants, Steelers) that don’t promote it on their websites do have active accounts = mistake.
  • Several teams dropped promotion of channels: Cardinals – YouTube, Panthers – GetGlue, Eagles & Steelers – Foursquare, Redskins – Flickr.
  • The Patriots were the only team to include promotion of Vine – they may want to update their link though as its one of Tim Tebow.
  • The Jets and Redskins were the only teams to include promotion of Reddit.
  • YouTube did not gain any ground during the last year, and Foursquare actually went down by one.
  • Teams still aren’t buying into Tumblr with only the Chargers and Saints promoting activations. The Chargers haven’t posted in a year, while the Saints have been posting frequently.
  • The Chargers are the only team to promote a Flickr account after the Redskins removed it – Chargers last post was June 17th.
  • The 49ers remain the only team to promote a Tout activation, but they haven’t posted since February 2nd

Team with Biggest Integration Jump:

The Saints went from 2 to 6 – adding Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr.

Teams Promoting the Most Activations:
8 – San Diego
7 – New England, Washington
6 – Atlanta, Carolina, Dallas, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, New Orleans, NY Jets, St. Louis


Team Channel Breakdown:

*Reminder this is website integration

Best Practices

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

Bills = Fans | Social Media
Browns = Fans & Kids | Online Communities
Cardinals = Fan Zone | Cardinals Social Media
Colts = FanZone |Colts on Social
Eagles = Fans | Social
Giants = Fan Zone | Social Media Initiatives
Jaguars = FanZone | Jaguars Connect
Jets = FanZone | Connect with the Jets
Lions = News | Social Media
Packers = Fan Zone | Social Networks
Panthers = FanZone | Social Media Hub
Patriots = Fan Zone | Social Media
Redskins = Fan Zone | Social Media
Texans = News | Social Hub
Titans = Fan Zone | Social Media

*A number of teams do include direct sub-links to Twitter and Facebook accounts throughout their navigation schemes

Universal Icons:
Since last year the Broncos and Lions added universal icon links bringing the total to 30 teams – still holding out are the Bears and Packers = mistake.


Atlanta Falcons – Instagram Feed
A number of teams included a one row horizontal Instagram feed of small thumbnails, but the Falcons did a great job by going full page with bigger 205×205 thumbnails. They also did a smart thing by adding a Instagram sub-link in their main nav “Media Lounge” drop down. Expect to see more teams include a Instagram link in their Multimedia, Media, or Photos rollovers.

Arizona Cardinals – #Since1898 Blog
Noticed this blog from the Cardinals by the hashtag, and it’s not entirely focused on social media related info, but has a good amount. For that reason we wanted to showcase it for the potential. Similar to how the LPGA does a SM column, teams have an opportunity to create blogs or columns around SM: team-related, Tweet of Day, Instgram of the Day, player & staff activities, promotions. This is another example of promoting built-in content.

Arizona Cardinals – Themed Facebook Covers
The Cardinals do a good job by offering up themed Facebook Covers to fans. Most teams will do an overall theme and a couple player-focused images, but we really like what the Cardinals have done here. Give the link a click and see some of the tags they’ve used so far for preseason and their upcoming first game.

Baltimore Ravens – Instagram Feed
Similar to the Cardinals, the Ravens do a good job with the Instagram feed, and they include the link under the “Photos” main nav rollover. The Bills also include an Instagram link under their “Photos” section, but they link out and don’t feed any images within the website.

Buffalo Bills – everloop Activation
We noticed the Bills promoted the everloop channel with a universal icon, and also in their “Fans – Social Media” rollover. The inclusion here is not really to promote the benefits of everloop, but for the Bills in taking the initiative to try a new SM channel.

Carolina Panthers – Social Media Hub
Full disclosure our team worked with the Panthers on this first iteration Hub for the team. 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; and a branded hashtag.

Denver Broncos – Social Hub
Like the initiative by the Broncos, but not a fan of the execution. The feed is in a puzzle format (albeit not as bad as some we’ve seen teams use).  In addition the continuous rotation of squares makes it hard to follow and causes the flow to not be in chronological order.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Social Rewards Program
The Jags added a social rewards program to the site this off-season. We like the benefits of these types of programs, but we don’t like how they are so templated (ie most are virtually identical with changed out logos and color schemes). Our advice to the teams is to push the vendors to provide a more customized/unique look.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Twitter Wallpapers
The Jags are one of the few teams we’ve seen offer Twitter backgrounds for their fans. Would be a great complimentary content piece within a true Social Media Hub on their website.

Minnesota Vikings – Facebook Cover Images
The Vikings do two things right with this execution – They don’t hide it in a Downloads sub-link (ie Patriots). Under “Fans” it directly says Facebook Cover Pics; and they include a large number of images for fans to choose from. Would be great to see them add themed images to provide more real-time marketing.

New England Patriots – Social Media Survey
The Pats do a good job by asking for fan feedback on their SM efforts, and also offering up a possible reward for their time in filling out the survey. Based on the questions the survey includes, the Pats should get some good feedback.

New England Patriots – Vine Promotion
First pro team we’ve seen promote a Vine account – nice job by the Pats. Unfortunately the link goes to a Tebow vine and since they recently cut him they might want to change out the link.

New York Jets & Washington Redskins – Reddit Promotion
First time we’ve seen Reddit channel promotion on a team website – congrats to both teams for their being pro-active. The Jets include an icon link within their directory, but the Redskins include a sub-link in their nav rollover, and also provide a good description within their directory: “Do you have a question for your favorite Redskins player? Follow the Redskins on reddit, join the conversation, and ask away during our player AMA sessions!”

St. Louis Rams – Themed Feeds
The Rams have done a couple themed feeds, and it provides a great album-like content feature.

San Francisco 49ers – #NINERS365 Hashtag
Like that they promoted the #Niners365 hashtag in their header, unfortunately we didn’t see any mention of it anywhere else on the site, and it didn’t link to a page, or function as a tweet button.

Seattle Seahawks – Tagboard
Through their “Spirit of 12” section, the Seahawks do a good job using of hashtag feeds via Tagboard.

Washington Redskins – Twitter Sponsorship
Near the bottom of their home page on the right side the Redskins feature a “Redskins Tweets presented by Audi” module – they also feature the module along the right column in secondary pages. Really like the sponsor integration around social media.


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

Comments are closed.

Connect with us

We like to socially engage!


Danica Follows Us
You Should Too!

Join the Convo