While they may be the world’s most valuable soccer team, the Manchester United team has no idea how to take advantage of social media most effectively. In a statement posted to the team’s website last week, the communications department stated, “The club wishes to make it clear that no Manchester United players maintain personal profiles on social networking websites.” The company continued, “Any official news relating to Manchester United or its players will be communicated via ManUtd.com.” That’s why we’d like to award them for having the dumbest sports marketing strategy.
While we can understand the logic behind keeping all official information on the team’s website, Manchester United is missing out on a massive opportunity to engage millions of fans around the globe on a regular basis. Facebook is filled with unofficial Pages for the team and for the team members. One unofficial Page has over 270,000 Facebook fans. Another group dedicated to the team has over 361,000 members.
A search on Facebook or Twitter also yields numerous results related to the search phrase “Manchester United”. In other words there is a massive conversation taking place about the team but nobody from the team is engaging them. Instead, the world’s most valuable team believes they can stand on a pedestal and talk down at their fans. In the short-run, the management may not be inaccurate however in the long-run they’re missing out on a great way to increase their fans’ connection to the team.
Do you think Manchester United’s decision to avoid social media is justified or are they missing out on a massive opportunity? Are your favorite sports players and teams active in social media?