Social media has evolved the way people voice their opinions, thoughts and concerns. Now people can constantly voice what they think about a certain situation and effectively reach out to a mass audience.
Sports entities now have a better opportunity to communicate with fans that have positive or negative comments to make. The National Football League (NFL) Washington Redskins have been under a significant amount of scrutiny regarding there “Redskins” name. Native American activists along with many other people believe Washington should change their name because it’s racist and insulting.
Now these upset advocates are using social media to reach a bigger audience.
“Conversations that used to happen around the water cooler now happen all over the world in real time,” says Chip Rives, CEO of TRP Sports and Entertainment Marketing. “It gives a bigger voice to those who are more active and passionate about the issue … they can keep the conversation alive and vibrant for a long time and grow the number of people who are passionate about getting rid of the name.”
After reading an article written by David Gianatasio on adweek.com it really expressed the power that social media has and the pressure that sports entities have to deal with because of how much power a single user could have.
Prior to the social media movement, sports entities simply were able to avoid conflict by ignoring it and they were able to somewhat limit a problem from escalating. Now with social media, there is no way a sports organization can limit the growth of a debate, such as the one the Redskins have been facing.
Another quote that I found to be very powerful was, “We have seen a minority of people effect change, but usually it comes by disproportionately hitting a party in the wallet,” says Ian Schafer, CEO of the agency Deep Focus, who believes this particular run to daylight will be tough because “teams are not retail chains, and are much more difficult to organize a meaningful boycott, or ‘buycott,’ of.”
In other words, in order for a change to really be considered, there needs to be a drop in revenue. A decrease in revenue will be a strong indication for Washington’s owner Dan Snyder to perhaps switch the name.
Will it happen? Who knows? Personally there are not enough people behind the push for a name change and nevertheless the stadium is always filled. Although I agree it is insulting, the only way I can see a change coming is if the game attendance begins to decrease because of the name.