Category Archives: sports

#SCTO – social media & sports

It really is a perfect fit in my opinion.

Sports teams (good or bad) have a fan base that even popular brands like Apple and Red Bull wished they had:  A passionate fan base for life. 

Social media allows (among other things) brands such as the Toronto Rock or even the Toronto Public Library to communicate, listen, interact and even market (blasphemy) to their fans.

Last night, something that started in the heads of myself and good friend, Joallore finally came to life after almost 8 weeks of planning.  It took a committed team to pull it off.  Thanks must go out to Carolyn, May, Zaigham, Mike, Nehal, Dave and Karim #2.

SportsConnectTO was held last night at Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone high above the Yonge – Dundas Square in downtown Toronto.

Social Media Representatives from Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment, Toronto Blue Jays and the Canadian Football League debated, answered questions and gave their personal thoughts and insights to the over 100 people in attendance.  Special thank you to all of them and to Erin Bury of Sprouter for being our panel moderator.

To read what people are saying check out #SCTO (FYI – #SCTO was a trending topic on Twitter in Toronto last night!)

You can also see a JustinTV recording HERE.

Thanks to our sponsors, volunteers, supporters, attendees and again to my team for making everything come together.

Mainstream Media vs Bloggers – Part 2

You can find Part One here.  It was written by Eric Smith.

Some of you may know Eric.  He’s on The FAN590 here in Toronto.  He’s also the voice of the Toronto Raptors basketball team.  He also blogs, tweets, does video blogs and makes himself available to the fans, public and to bloggers like me.

So, after Eric posted his article he got attacked.  Viciously it seems.  Unfairly as well.

I’ve had the opportunity to interview Eric for Techvibes.  Back last December, this is a bit of what I wrote:

The ability for people to self-publish blogs creates the perception that all authours are experts which is far from true.  Eric feels the ability to be properly accredited and cultivate important contacts is a privilege that most independent bloggers don’t have.  Traditional sports media are still able to access player and coach interviews as well as seek sources that the average Joe probably can’t. 

I’m not an expert in media or blogging.  Although I report for Techvibes, I don’t consider myself a reporter.  I’ve even done presentations where I admit that I don’t even consider myself “media”.  And I don’t even think I can hold a keyboard to some of the more prolific bloggers out there.

But what really upsets me about this situation is that various sports blogs seem to have bashed on Eric’s opinion.  It’s one thing to have an opinion.  It’s quite another to think that just because someone is a blogger this means that they are more objective or have more to offer. 

As bloggers, here is what we have to offer.  Our unbiased opinion.  And really, that’s all.  What Eric Smith provides is opinion as well.  However, he has the ability to access people, events and information that we can’t.  The only way we get information is from people like Eric.

There is a place for both bloggers and msm.  To take the low road and bash someone because of their job is classless.

That’s just my opinion.  What’s your’s?

The Blogging Continues

Back in December I told you all about my new gig at Techvibes.  I hope some of you have visited me over there and are enjoying some of the people, places, and companies I have been highlighting there.  It’s been really fun meeting some of Toronto’s coolest, hippest and socially progressive tech entrepreneurs.

Today, I have some more blogging news. 

You can now also find me at Fadoo.ca

The Fadoo website is a Canadian website dedicated to bringing Canadians “a platform for dialogue and comment among people of power and influence in the sports world. And then, let everyone in on the conversation.”

What you’re going to get from me is what no one else in Toronto will be able to provide.  I’ll have the inside look into sports and social media and technology.  So if that interests you then stay tuned (and please comment.  I LOVE comments!).  And if it doesn’t interest you let me know, what you would like to see.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the Olympics!

For Love of the Game

(I started this post back in August. The first round of the playoffs have just ended in the American League. What better time to add some thoughts. Wow!  Now the Yankees and Phillies are playing.  Time to finish this and post it for your thoughts and comments.  If you’re reading this on Facebook, and you want to comment, please take the time to visit the original post.  Thanks!)

I’m a Toronto Blue Jays fan more than I am a baseball fan. Yet, I love the game of baseball and enjoy watching the playoffs even if my team is not playing. And with the current schedule and format, I’m also glad I don’t hold my breath!

Recently, there has been lots of talk and chatter about the pathetic attendance and play this year.

So, I’ve decided to come to the rescue of the Rogers-owned baseball team and offer some (free) insightful advice, thoughts and suggestions. Furthermore, because I also believe in all this openness on the interwebs, I am encouraging everyone to use this blogpost as a forum to post more suggestions and comments.

Before I share with you my thoughts, here are what others have said/reported:

Now on with the show…

  1. Rogers needs to hire a respected baseball president and general manager. And with the not-so-recent Gaston-gate, a respected manager would be a great idea. (The recent firing of JP and subsequent promotion of Alex Anthopolous is a start. However, it’s only a start. Note: And so is the recent hiring of Beeston. 🙂 )
  2. Make the Jr. Jays package more valuable than it is. Include a pair of tickets to a game a month. Give a further gift to the parents and child. Instead of asking who the child’s favourite player is and doing nothing about it, include an autogrphed picture or baseball. (Remember, this is also about growing the future fan base of the baseball team.)
  3. Flex packs on steroids. Sorry for the using the “s” word. But it is imperitive that the Jays not only continue to market the popular flex packs. They need to spice this up. I like the invitations to special events like this year’s Cito Gaston interview. Let’s continue to be creative.
  4. Where are the local, community, high school, and college/university teams? Invite them to attend games. Offer Jays packages to them.
  5. Invite season tickets holders on a Jays paid trip to Spring Training. And watch this word-of-mouth thing explode!
  6. As a father (and flex pack holder in the past) I was never invited to a Father’s Day game. Never. Fix this and take advantage of other special days. Just don’t forget to personally invite people. Rogers owns a HUGE database. Use it.
  7. Engage. With local businesses, consumers, bloggers (ahem), the online community, etc. The Toronto model for this would be the Toronto Argonauts. The Argos engage with the community at schools, with various local football clubs and businesses at trade shows. I understand that the Jays probably do the same. Let’s do more. But let’s also let others know that you’re ou there.
  8. Invite the online community (bloggers and the like) into press conferences and into the clubhouse. Your future and current fans are part of the online community. Are you there?
  9. Study what the Toronto Argos do to sell tickets and keep fans engaged.  Even thought they may put a losing team in the field, they know how to sell tickets.
  10. Remember to always thank season ticket holders and ALL purchasers of ticket packages.  And I mean more than a thank you letter.  A free pair of tickets to a game next season or a food voucher is a start.
  11. Open dome policy. Unless it rains or snows. Of course.  There’s just something about being outdoors.
  12. The Argos (yes, them again) have a Double Blue Crew that give away prizes during the game in ALL levels and are very visible. Idea?
  13. Free baseball clinics after Junior Jays games.
  14. RIM purchased 25000 tickets for their employees to the U2 concert in Toronto.  What has Rogers done for the Jays?
  15. Engage fans outside of Rogers with mobile apps and SMS.
  16. I remember buying tickets from Dominion (Metro) for $2 way back when.  Everyone goes grocery shopping.
  17. Be more involved in the community.  Collecting cans at games is great but no one knows about Jays Foundation doing stuff outside of the Dome. Are they?
  18. Invite former flex pack and season ticket holders to come back for special game.
  19. Give away more tickets via contests, Twitter, Facebook, etc…
  20. Promote your stars and make them household names.  Aaron Hill (multiple award winner this year) should be mobbed everywhere he goes.
  21. Engage more with trendy and cool brands.  Develop sponsorship opportunities for team and the stars so that young fans can “identify” with players and team.  Cool is cool.
  22. More stars at Jays games and more Jays at other professional games even during off-season.
  23. Promote your cool in game promotions (like “run the bases”) OUTSIDE of the game.  Rogers owns magazines, TV shows and radio stations.  Use them.  And the other guy’s as well.
  24. I know the Jays don’t have pin stripes.  So, stop changing uniforms and let’s try to create some nostalgia.
  25. Make every game/series a must attend event. Remember AJ Burnett’s return to face Doc earlier this year? Promote, promote, promote.
  26. Best Blue Jays commercials have been the emotional “See you at the game”. These are much better than the “You were meant to be there”.  Remember, people, especially fans, make emotional decisions.
  27. Customer service is either your best or worst marketing strategy. This department interacts everyday with fans.  Are you investing in proper training for your front line staff?
  28. Winning solves everything.

There.  That’s it for now.

I am looking forward to hearing and reading your thoughts and suggestions.  Do you agree or disagree with anything here?  Do you have any ideas of your own?  Have you read anything else from anyone on their suggestions?  Let’s start the conversation…..

Inspirational Person – The Good Doctor

I suggested a few blog posts ago that I would highlight a couple of inspirational people a month in this space. I’m gonna cut that down to one. At least. That way I can still host a few guest blogs and write about other things. However, don’t be surprised if I highlight more than one person a month. Thanks for understanding. And now, on with today’s show…

Roy “Doc” Halladay.

I know. He’s been in the news a lot lately regarding a potential trade away from the only professional baseball team he’s ever played for. He’s a multi-million dollar pitcher. Many consider him the best at his craft. Even George W. Bush likes him (Dubya was a part owner of the Texas Rangers baseball club before he was President of the U.S.).

So why is he this month’s Inspirational Person?

Is it because he plays for my favourite team? Is it because he’s so good? Is it because Doc is topical? Not at all.

Focus.

It’s something I strive for. And I know many of you strive for it.

Focus is that thing you do with a single-minded purpose. Whatever your purpose and vision is (heck, whatever it is that you do think about and do on a daily basis) demands that you be focused. We all need to be focused to complete our “task” with excellence.

It’s what Doc does. Everyday. Not just every fifth day when he is on the mound. But everyday, he prepares himself – mentally and physically – so that when he is called upon he displays excellence. These past few days, we have seen him answer question after question about the why and where and when of the trade rumours (especially during last week’s All-Star game). And what what his answer? It was calm and professional. How did he pitch? Well, yesterday, he pitched a complete game six-hitter for another complete game victory over the American League leaders, Boston Red Sox.

How does he do it?

Focus.

And that’s why he’s this month’s (and this blog’s) inaugural Inspirational Person.

If you have a suggestion for an Inspirational Person you’d like to see featured here, please email me at karim_kanji at hotmail dot com.

Photo Credit – http://infieldfly.wordpress.com/tag/roy-halladay/

Leading From The Heart.

Another one bites the dust. A book that is. This is one “leadership” book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

Duke basketball legend and coach, Mike Krzyzewski, wrote a book in 2001 titled, Leading From the Heart.

Here’s what you’ll read in this book: A narrative of Coach K’s (as he is affectionatly known) life from growing up in Chicago to leading Duke’s basketball program during their 100 year anniversary.

Leading From The Heart is a great book. And here is why it is for me: Because Coach K describes in detail his conversations, thoughts and actions in a variety of different situations. Situations that everyone – sportsperson, student, business tycoon, employee – can relate to.

The best part is his take on winning and success. I think you’ll enjoy it.

So, if you’re on a team, lead a team, or want to achieve the success that the Blue Devils have, this is a great book to pick up this summer and enjoy on your hammock.

Happy reading!

What are you reading this summer?