I’ve been meaning to write about this for a month but since the Super Bowl is today, I figured it’s now or never.
Early last month a got a call from Dwight Adams, a reporter for the Indianapolis Star, who wanted my opinion for a story he was working on about the online marketing efforts of the Indianapolis Colts in particular and the NFL in general. He called me because of a two posts I did on the redesign of NFL.com.
When a reporter calls asking me to talk about my two favorite subjects–Internet marketing and football–I’m definitely game.
After taking a look at the Colts’ online presence, it became quite clear quite quickly that the team is ahead of the curve compared to a lot of other teams’ online marketing efforts.
That didn’t really surprise me, though, because Indy’s online presence is overseen by the Colts’ Executive Director of Digital Business, Pat Coyle. I’ve been following Pat’s excellent Sports Marketing 2.0 blog for a while now; it is the only blog that I know of that gives you a perspective of the Internet marketing issues being faced by professional sports franchise.
The Colt’s maintain three web sites: The team’s web site at Colts.com and the social networking sites MyColts.net and MyIndianaFootball.com. MyColts.net caters to the team’s fans while MyIndianaFootball.com associates the Colts’ brand with high school football. (There’s even a team page for the high school I attended.)
And embeddable video:
At MyColts.net, fans can discuss any and all things Colts on the site’s forums or they can read Head Coach Tony Dungy‘s blog where he actually does post. Having your head coach maintain a blog is way ahead of the curve. Kudos for the Dungy and the Colts for having the courage and the insight to launch it.
The team does not appear to have a presence at the most popular social media sites like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube & Flickr. That absence, I suspect, has a lot to do with the NFL’s attitude toward those sites than anything else: The league routinely asks YouTube, for example, to delete game highlights that users have uploaded.
Nevertheless, the Colt’s online presence points the way toward those social networking sites. I’m betting that before too long, the Colts model and outposts at YouTube, Facebook, et. al. will be standard operating procedure.