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Sunday, March 3, 2024

How Little League Is Using Social Media To Grow Its Fanbase

Aug 22, 2019; South Williamsport, PA, USA; Caribbean Region players celebrate after beating the Asia-Pacific Region 5-3 during the Little League World Series at Howard J. Lamade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Little League social media
Photo Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

While sports fans flock to social media to engage with the Little League account alongside the Little League World Series, the real work for the organization happens in those other 11 or so months during the year when that traffic doesn’t come just quite as easy.

Front Office Sports chatted with Brian McClintock, Little League senior director of communications and who oversees its efforts on social media, about its approach and how it grows its audience during its big event.

Front Office Sports: How would you define the Little League’s voice or brand on social? 

McClintock: What is unique about Little League International is that for 10 months of the year, we really view our social media as a volunteer-services tool, to provide our constituents with educational and entertaining content, while also finding ways to elevate the Little League brand through our social conversations. For the two months when the International Tournament takes place, our social presence is more like an international sports property, celebrating the stories, players, and great moments from each of our seven Little League World Series tournaments. Little League’s social media presence is designed to be fun, exciting, inclusive, and engaging for all of its audiences using a constant mixture of photos, videos, GIFs, and other creative elements. To keep the content relevant and exciting for younger generations of users, Little League International remains knowledgeable and in-tune with the different trends and technology to enhance its social platforms and always looks for ways to incorporate innovative solutions to enhance the brand’s image.

FOS: Who do you view as the audience, especially during the tournament? 

McClintock: Because of the size and scope of our program, there are a variety of different audiences that the Little League social media channels impact. The biggest focus, however, remains around our current and prospective players, which we are able to achieve by connecting with the parents, volunteers, families, and communities around the world who support our program. In addition, we work to identify other organizations and influencers whose values fit within our program to interact with on social media and provide exciting content for our audiences. Along with providing exciting and engaging content from all seven of our Little League World Series tournaments, we shift our focus a bit to more of the general fan, providing game highlights, engaging content, and behind-the-scenes looks at our tournaments, with the goal of showcasing the Little League program to millions and encouraging participation when Little League registrations start up again in the late fall.

FOS: What ways do you look to engage the audience, as well as drive more fans to the broadcast? 

McClintock: Engagement with our brand on social media is critical and we are always looking for new ways to do this with our audiences, whether it be through the content we share or finding new ways to distribute it to our constituents (i.e. Instagram Stories). Using our great in-game highlights and game recaps from the action on the field, as well as tune-in messaging and pregame graphics, we always look for additional, creative ways to drive our fans to the broadcast of our Little League World Series games on the ESPN Family of Networks. Understanding that many of our viewers also are likely watching on multiple screens, we make it a point to provide in-game content that can also keep our audience engaged throughout the entire course of the game while enjoying the great broadcast that our friends at ESPN provide.

FOS: You obviously have this glut of content during the actual tournament, how are you utilizing that on social? 

McClintock: Social media has been a key solution for bringing the fan experience to those both on-site at each of our seven World Series events and to those who can’t make the trip to the tournament itself. Highlights from our games provide the biggest way for us to provide fans with an inside look at the great moments on the field at our tournament as well providing those fans with information on where to tune in in the future. In addition to the on-field content, we also work hard to provide our audiences with a variety of behind-the-scenes features, including a Beyond The Fences series that launched in 2018 which provides a first-person look from the players so people can see what it’s like to be a participant at the Little League World Series. Most importantly, we try to provide our audiences with content from all seven of our Little League World Series events to show the full scope and brevity of the Little League program, both in the baseball and softball divisions.

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