Play It Safe on Social: Protect Your Team and Players From Digital Reputational Risks

Play It Safe on Social: Protect Your Team and Players From Digital Reputational Risks
4 minute read

For sports teams at the professional, collegiate and other levels, social media represents an opportunity to grow your fanbase, engage with followers, and develop brand awareness for both the team and individual players. But with the growth of social media, all teams should be focused on reputation management, asking themselves: are your players and team representing your brand? And how is your brand being perceived?

Sports organizations have a massive footprint on digital channels and online follower communities to serve. Seeing inside this ungoverned digital world can be a daunting task — but left undone, organizations and key personnel are exposed to reputational risks, fraud, impersonation, physical threats and more.

Sports and entertainment franchises require reputation management and can start to protect their critical brand investment by making informed and smart talent selection decisions.  Additionally, on-going monitoring and moderation of offensive or inappropriate content on your owned web properties can ensure reputation remains untarnished.

Protection across the organization

Know what your team should be monitoring across social and digital channels to help maintain and manage your team and players’ reputation. For each of the major elements of your brand, digital platforms represent unique opportunities for engagement as well as unique risks. This includes basic brand assets like your team logo, products, and stadium but also includes your players. Players can be a team’s greatest brand ambassadors - but also represent the greatest risk to the team’s brand reputation.

When evaluating your team’s digital presence and risk, here are a few things to consider for each of the major elements that make up your team:

  • Your Team: Start by looking at the general chatter around your team as a whole. Who is saying what about your team? Where are these conversations occurring? This goes beyond simple sentiment analysis (which we all know can change based on the outcome of a single game). Monitor specifically for any nefarious or threatening chatter related to your team online.
  • Team Trademark: One of the greatest sources of revenue for a team come from merchandise sales. It’s important to understand how your merchandise or any trademarked items are being sold online - from fraudulent websites selling directly to your customers, to counterfeits being sold on web marketplaces like Amazon and Ebay. Is there anyone selling your apparel or goods that isn’t authorized to do so?  
  • Athletes, Staff, and High Profile Representatives: Fans often view individual players as direct representatives of the entire team and brand. It’s important to understand what is being said about and by your players and high profile staff on social media.
  • Draft picks: Even before they become full team players, it’s important to understand any risks posed by draft picks based on their social media usage.
  • Stadium (including workout locations): Gain early warning into potential physical threats disclosed on digital channels before and during games.

4 simple steps towards brand and player reputation management

  1. Gain full visibility to make better ‘informed’ player selection decisions: Know your recruits and how they’re engaging socially - and what’s being said about them. You want the best and deserve to be competitive while also knowing the value (and any liabilities) of your investment.
  2. Protect brand, players, staff, & stakeholders from online threats: All organizations can see who is engaging with them across social no matter what the sentiment, but do you have visibility into people trying to tarnish the reputation of, or worse threatening, your players and executives?
  3. Continuously monitor the social & digital universe for new threats: 24/7/365 coverage to monitor and remediate content across owned digital channels - social media, mobile apps, web discussion forums, marketplaces, domains and more.
  4. Engage fans and followers safely: Proactively reduce risks and remediate threats faster during events and games by having the insight you need to inform your team and appropriate authorities.

Has your organization ever been threatened by a player’s inappropriate actions, brand or player impersonations, or counterfeit merchandise? Talk to your player development staff, security team, public relations staff and others across your org about understanding your digital risk and reputation management needs. ZeroFox protects leading professional sports and entertainment organizations and can help you too!

Learn More

ZeroFox works with major teams and players’ associations across various sports. Check out a short video on ZeroFox’s Reputation Management offering below. To see the platform in action, schedule a demo with a ZeroFox member today.

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