@ESPN gives fans Super Bowl Media Day with Mega-Chat Q&As

By ‎@JonathanKupe‎
Thursday, 6 February 2014

Leading up to the Super Bowl, @ESPN gave fans their own Media Day with a series of 12 consecutive Twitter Q&As, dubbed the Mega-Chat, with current and former NFL players and front-office staff.

The network undertook the seven-hour feat on January 27 with the help of BumeBox, which powered the Mega-Chat page on ESPN’s website.

Raphael Poplock, ESPN’s vice president of games and partnerships, noted they had not previously done such an ambitious Twitter chat before. “We wanted to bring Super Bowl Media Day to our followers on Twitter by giving them the experience of having access to athletes and letting them become the media,” he said.

Joining the discussion was effortless for users. All they had to do was tweet their questions with the hashtag #ESPNSBChat and follow @ESPNNFL for more details on how to participate in the Q&A.

@Bumebox’s Mega-Chat page brought the content from Twitter to ESPN.com, and presented it in a way that streamlined the process for @ESPN and the chat hosts. @ESPN’s social team was able to manage the event, filter the questions, retweet interesting answers and more. The moderator dropped questions into a queue, providing an organized way for the 12 chat hosts to source the best questions.

For those following the chat on ESPN’s website, there was a Tweet box in the right-hand corner of the page with the chat hashtag #ESPNSBChat and the page’s link already filled in for users to engage directly from ESPN.com.

@ESPNNFL and each of the hosts tweeted ahead of time to build buzz around the chats. They sent Tweets an hour prior to start time to remind fans to join the conversation.

The athletes each had 30-minute time slots for their Q&As.

The Mega-Chat’s #ESPNSBChat hashtag trended for six hours, including the top spot in eight U.S. cities, from Virginia Beach to Long Beach, according to @ITrended.

The ESPN Mega-Chat Q&A enjoyed long-trending, organic success.

Jon Fahrner, CEO of @BumeBox, was impressed with the organic success of the Mega-Chat, since long-trending items are often tied to big, live events. “It’s interesting when a media company can plan an event like this and make it trend consistently,” Fahrner said.

He also credited the chat hosts, who were engaging in their responses and answered a high volume of questions at a steady pace.

Chat participants were not physically sitting with @ESPN. In fact, one of them was at home sick, but he and others could easily join in remotely and the Mega-Chat carried on seamlessly.

@terrellowens, who had the final Q&A slot, was enjoying himself so much that he answered questions for another hour after his time slot was slated to end.

Do you know of other innovative uses of Twitter? Write to mediablog@twitter.com.