Olympics Battle Heating Up In The Social Media Stadium

Even before sports fans could see their favorite athletes contest each other on ground at the Vancouver Olympics, which will start from today and last till the 28th of Feb, Brands are battling it out to get the most buzz at Social Media Stadiums aka Twitter and Facebook.

If that’s not all, a new competition is brewing between Social Media powerhouses, Twitter and Facebook, to become the platform of choice for marketers, players and sports fans to share news, get game updates and receive marketing promos from the brands. Both the sites have their advantages, and we would take turns to have a look at both the offerings.

Twitter Triumphs in News Delivery

When it comes to connecting fans with the minute by minute moves of athletes, Twitter certainly triumphs over Facebook. Fans on Twitter would have to option to connect directly to Tweeting athletes and get latest updates from them, without the filter of traditional media outlets. In this regard, Twitter has already published a list of verified Olympians who have a Twitter account. To aid the users in searching for their favorite athletes, someone has even created a nifty website called Twitter Athletes, which even contains lists of sports stars – who belong to sports that are not a part of Olympics.

Facebook Winning the Brand Battle

When it comes to promoting a Brand, Facebook seems to be the winner, as the social networking site has a lot more features, and of course a couple of hundred million more users, to promote the Brands. The International Olympics Committee has decided to use Facebook as an online hub for Winter Olympics. The committee has created a fan page titled “The Olympic Games“. The fanpage already has more than 1.2 million fans, and is being constantly updated, with photos of athletes, images of Torch relay and so on. The committee is also trying hard to find out and promote the athletes who have a Facebook fanpage, as this message shows:

Follow your favorite athletes at they arrive in Vancouver. Gigi Marvin, Speedy Peterson, Evan Lysacek, Elana Meyers, and Warren Shouldice are all eager to share their journey with their fans.

The Olympics Committee is also conducting a fan photo contest, whereby fans are required to submit their coolest photos of the games, in return for a chance to win free tickets to Olympic Events.

In addition to the fan contest, the Committee has also created a Vancouver 2010 Official Minigame, a facebook based game that lets fans compete virtually in games such as snowboard cross, giant slalom and ski jumping. The idea is to create buzz, spread the word and get fans excited before the real event.

Alex Huot, the head of Social Media for the Olympic Games, think that the Vancouver Olympics would turn out to be “the first social media Olympics“.

It is yet to be seen, who would eventually win the Gold Medal in the Social Media standoff. However, had Facebook been a little more aggressive to market the Social Networking site we would already have had a winner by now. The one very basic feature that I am terribly missing, is a list of all Athlete Fan pages, for me to quickly browser through and subscribe to my favorite fans.