Oftentimes it can be difficult to find the time to actually watch a full sports game. This can be particularly true of predominantly North American sports (basketball, football) as opposed to sports such as soccer and rugby which are not as popular in North America as they are in other parts of the world.
When watching a rugby match you know it will last for approximately 80 minutes, plus fifteen minutes for half time. When you watch a soccer match you know that it will last for approximately 90 minutes, plus fifteen minutes for half time. This is not so simple, however, when it comes to the likes of basketball and football. Due to time outs and the clock stopping regularly during a basketball game, it can easily last closer to three hours than the 48 minutes the ball is in play for in an NBA game. The action of the game, when the ball is in play, is often sufficiently entertaining, however, to warrant watching a full game.
In football, however, the stoppages are frustratingly regular. As someone who is used to watching what I have called predominantly European sports, watching a full football game is exasperatingly slow and disrupted. While there are occasionally entertaining passes and individual skills, it can be a challenge to wait patiently watching all the stoppages until such a play is completed.
This is where social media plays a big role. The NBA and NFL use social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram to their advantage. Both post regular highlights and clips on their social media pages throughout games, with the high number of games taking place at the same time this allows fans to keep track of what is going on across the respective league.
Pages such as House of Highlights will post some of the best clips from the NBA and NFL during and after games, again allowing fans to keep track of what is going on. When people are unable to sit down and watch a game for three hours, it is much easier to have the 48 minutes of action in an NBA game or the 60 minutes of action in an NFL games condensed into a video only a couple of minutes long.
As both leagues rely heavily on international branding, this becomes particularly useful where the games regularly take place in the middle of the night in Europe, Africa and parts of western Asia.
Social media can greatly increase fans’ ability to watch and engage with sports and keep abreast of what is going on the leagues.