Turner Sports Uses Social Media Providers to Boost Interest in March Madness

By Community | March 15, 2012

Turner Sports has partnered with a trio of social media service providers to boost the community and social elements of NCAA Basketball tournament March Madness.

The network is working with Mass Relevance, health an Austin, Texas-based developer of a social curation platform to filter and collate Twitter and Facebook posts related to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

In addition to hashtagged school name posts, Mass Relevance will help locate and collect social media content referencing other tournament facets, such as players, coaches, alumni, and even area codes: During Virginia Commonwealth’s unlikely run to the Final Four last year, “804” became a popular Twitter hashtag, referencing the school’s central Virginia area code. The content will run in a tournament-specific Twitter feed within the March Madness Live player.

Mass Relevance has worked with several sports and entertainment entities and brands, including the New York Giants, NBC Sports, MTV and Pepsi.

Also working with Turner for a second year on social media curation is Ball State University’s SportsLink program, in which students will help guide and develop social conversation around the tournament that appears in the feed within the player.

Michael Adamson, Turner Sports vice president of new products and services, and a Ball State alumnus, said: “The tournament is really as much a festival as it is a sporting event. So we’re putting a lot of emphasis this year on these social features, looking to combine the best of automated platforms with human curation.”

Video sharing is also coming to March Madness Live for the first time. Turner has expanded its partnership with San Francisco-based technology outfit SnappyTV to allow users to easily grab and share clips of action from the tournament in near-real time. The video clips, up to 15 seconds in length, can then be easily sent to personal blogs, other websites, Twitter and Facebook.

Turner worked with SnappyTV last summer on a similar effort for the PGA Championship. The video sharing is only for the broadband version of March Madness Live this year, and is not yet available on smartphone or tablet platforms. For SnappyTV, which has also worked extensively with networks on video sharing around scripted TV, March Madness Live will represent its biggest sports-related effort to date.

by Ismail Uddin