The Masters has apparently abandoned social media: right or wrong decision?
The social media revolution has transformed the sports marketing toolkit and landscape. A sign of how powerful this change has been is that almost all of sport’s major rights holders have very quickly embraced social media, including some surprising names.Take Augusta National Golf Club, the owner and organiser of The Masters. Given their world-famous adherence to tradition, you might not have expected Augusta's rulers to have been social media early adopters. But they were - in fact, if you’ve ever had any dealings with them, you’ll know that ‘The Men Of The Masters’ may be traditionalists, but that doesn’t mean they’re not innovators: quite the reverse - especially when it comes to media.

In 2009 – well ahead of the mass adoption curve – The Masters went onto Twitter and Facebook. During the 2009 tournament, they provided regular Twitter and Facebook updates, and rapidly gained tens of thousands of followers. Best practice at the time? Absolutely.

Masters golf on Facebook

So it was all the more surprising that a year later, during the 2010 tournament, The Masters posted only one tweet and no Facebook updates.

When I raised the subject on Twitter last night I had a reply from none other than golf’s leading Tweeter (1.2m followers and rising) Stewart Cink, who had obviously noticed the lack of engagement:

Stuart Cink Twitter Tim Crow

  1. Harry says:

    Big mistake! To grow a brand you must be involved in social media, not only is it cost effective but it allows you to actively encage with your audience and create greater awareness.
    The masters is missing a trick – look at the ECB’s online strategy and the success of Swanny’s diaries, millions of hits allowing fans to feel greater attachment to the event.
    I also think the masters are missing an obvious opportunity to reach a potential new, wider and younger audience.
    Come on Lee!

  2. Mitch says:

    I think that when an event has a certain level of notoriety and prestige, it can afford to take a stance like this.

    As long as others are allowed to tweet about the tournament, and TV coverage continues, The Masters will continue to be at the forefront come early April. Yet, by reserving their traditions the event stands out as magical and legendary to all fans of the game.

  3. @andrewmccormick says:

    Mitch – I don’t buy the prestige argument. Wimbledon has so much history and prestige around it but has used social media effectively and was actually one of the earliest adopters of augmented reality. It hasn’t diminished the grandeur or prestige. Instead it’s provided a channel for current and new generations to feel involved and provide a good base for future popularity.

    Tim – great post. Maybe we should club together and do a top social media sporting events piece ahead of the Olympics.

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