The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks hope to be at the top of their game for Super Bowl XLVIII, and the same can be said for ESPN’s social integration unit as it prepares for arguably the biggest week of the sports year.
Led by senior manager Jason Romano, ESPN’s social integration unit will engage sports fans across ESPN programs and via social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The group will share behind-the-scenes photos from Super Bowl events and ESPN coverage in New York, bringing fans who can’t be in New York and New Jersey a sense of the action and excitement. The group will also create Super Bowl “word clouds” for NFL Insiders (daily, 3 p.m. ET) and conduct live Twitter votes on NFL Live (daily, 4 p.m.). At week’s end, one of the live Twitter votes will incorporate a famous New York landmark.
In an effort to make the initiative bigger and better than last year, Romano and team have asked ESPN NFL analysts, insiders and current and former NFL players to be a part of this year’s game plan, a strategy that is a difference-maker in Romano’s eyes.
“It brings a unique access and authenticity to ESPN NFL social media that [fans] can’t get anywhere else,” Romano said.
When Super Bowl week kicks off Monday, an ESPN Mega-Chat will give fans the chance to ask questions of Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas, Super Bowl champions Troy Brown, Ryan Clark, Torry Holt, Bernard Pollard and Steve Weatherford and ESPN NFL analysts Merril Hoge, Bill Polian and Louis Riddick by using #ESPNSBChat.
While all NFL-related questions are welcome, Romano already anticipates plenty of social media buzz about Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman.
“Our Twitter and Facebook pages had the highest engagement they’ve ever had following Sherman’s (NFC Championship) post-game comments,” he said. “I expect that to grow Super Bowl week.”
Also on Monday, NFL Live host Trey Wingo will voice a three-minute video documenting the 2013 NFL season, which will be posted on YouTube and ESPN.com
Tuesday through Thursday, more NFL analysts will join the conversation when Ron Jaworski, Polian, and Hall of Famer and Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Ditka take over the NFL on ESPN Facebook page and @ESPNNFL Twitter handle.
In addition to facilitating these initiatives, Romano will work with ESPN’s social media marketing team, which is curating questions from fans for players and coaches to answer at Media Day, creating a NYC-centric “C’Mon Man” video and developing Super Bowl bingo, artwork and memes.
A rundown of ESPN’s Super Bowl social media plans: