With New Initiative, Phoenix Suns Seek First Ever Social Media Sideline Reporter

Though it certainly seems like most if not all of the 2011 NBA Season will be put on hold, the Phoenix Suns are gearing up for a new social media marketing initiative, one incorporating every major social network as well as the introduction of a very new reporting position.

The first of it’s kind, with so far loosely defined roles, the Suns have declared their efforts to find and hire a social media sideline reporter. While just about every professional sports team and sports network have sideline reporters, no team has designated one specifically as a social media sideline reporter.

The team has begun looking for candidates (and they will likely have plenty of time to find one), asking prospective reporters to submit a 60-second audition videos, showcasing in particular their knowledge of Suns basketball, naturally, as well as social media.

The reporter will work in conjunction with Fox Sports Arizona, and Arizona Sports 620, likely tweeting updates, giving fans a voice, and interacting with followers. While the role is likely to evolve a bit as the season progresses, it does seem like the logical next step in the evolution itself of the sideline reporter.

The role of the sideline reporter is a curious mix between commentator and reporter, at least in the major sports where athletes and coaches are trained in talking to the media. They are privy to injury updates, team strategies, and line-up changes, but athletes are often quite careful when talking before and after intermissions.

Though there are certainly moments when they are overly emotional, the exchange all-too-often begins with such banal questions as, “How are you feeling?” and “What do you need to do to win?”

Fans aren’t given much information with such exchanges—a social media sideline reporter, however, has a chance to at least engage fans and provide a modicum of entertainment. If athletes aren’t allowed to tweet during games, perhaps a reporter can tweet for them.

The Suns foray into social media was clear when they hired a specialist in the field, Greg Esposito, and announced his appointment on Twitter just weeks ago. Another part of the initiative includes discounted ticket packages for social media fans, dubbed the “Social Media Series.” The second annual Suns Facebook Night and fourth annual Suns Tweetup are scheduled to take place this season. The team also looks to have theme nights at games, incorporating LinkedIn, Foursquare, and Google +.

“Social media has become an integral part of everything we do from a branding and business perspective, not to mention a daily part of many fans lives,” said Suns VP of Digital, Jeramie McPeek. “So we are looking forward to enhancing our game broadcasts and in-arena experience with more social media elements this season, while increasing our fan engagement through social media year-round.”

If you want to become the Suns social media sideline reporter, check out the site and beginning filling out the application. The application runs until October 10th, so get filming and uploading now, and don’t forget to use the hashtag, #socialsideline.