Monday night’s Home Run Derby in Phoenix featured players live-tweeting from the field, for the first time. Fans were able to view players’ commentary – and maybe even some ‘trash talk’ – in realtime on Twitter. MLB.com is calling it “one of the most immersive social media events in Major League Baseball history.”
While other professional sports leagues – including the NFL and NBA – have implemented tweet-free environments for league events, the MLB is encouraging players (those who are participating and spectating) to participate via social media, according to WebProNews.
Fans on Twitter will be able to tweet questions and comments to their favorite players, and MLB.com has provided a list of players who will be tweeting from the event, including Home Run Derby and All-Star game participants: David Ortiz (@davidortiz), Jose Bautista (@JoeyBats19), Matt Kemp (@TheRealMattKemp), Heath Bell (@HeathBell21), Gio Gonzalez (@GioGonzalez47), Hunter Pence (@HunterPence9), Brandon Phillips (@DatDudeBP), Gaby Sanchez (@GabySanchez215), Justin Upton (@RealJustinUpton), Howie Kendrick (@HKendrick47) and Joel Hanrahan (@hanrahan4457).
C.J. Wilson (@str8edgeracer), the first MLB player on Twitter, shares his excitement about covering the Home Run Derby with his over 70,000 followers:
Fans can create a Twitter list of all the Home Run Derby participants and spectating players that will be tweeting, and all players and fans are encouraged to use hashtag #HRDerby to follow the live conversation about the event. Between batters, the video board at the event will show #HRDerby tweets.
CBS Sports reports that other MLB players will be able to provide live commentary, photos and video through the Twitter and Facebook accounts of Major League Baseball (@MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (@MLB-Players). Players without a Twitter account can still interact with fans via social media stations set up on the field, with laptops, tablets, video cameras and MLB representatives to facilitate their use.
Fans at the Home Run Derby can also check-in via iPhone or Android with the MLB.com At Bat 11 app. The app allows them to post messages to Twitter and Facebook, see aggregated tweets from other fans at the event, and view the interactive ballpark maps and menus. The app also features a home run tracker and live video stream.
Will the players live-tweeting get fans more engaged with the event, and will ‘talking smack’ predominate the conversation? When BravoTV hosted ‘tweet battles’ for their Top Chef program, over 1 million fans participated, according to a case study presented at #RLTM Realtime NY 11. How much tweetage will the Home Run Derby generate?