As Roger Federer and Andy Murray prepare to do battle for the coveted prize of men’s singles champion at the 2010 Australian Open, I wanted to have a nosy to see how they match-up in terms fan interaction and brand building through social media. In non-team sports such as singles tennis, golf and snooker it’s likely you have to work a tad harder to build and maintain your brand. You are, in essence, the team. So let’s see how these two tennis aces compare.
Federer to serve:
Federer – 3.3 Million Fans – Regular updates on his wall from him along with responding to personal requests from fans such as uploading pictures of his twins. Federer lets us into his life beyond tennis and is open to direct fan interaction as well as giving commercial updates on associations with Nike and Credit Suisse in particular. Very active and lively fan discussion board.
Murray – 80, 000 Fans – Bags of activity and daily entries, mainly pictures from matches – namely the 2010 Aussie open although messages are uploaded by a third person. His Facebook platform is used to as a portal to direct traffic to his personal website. Very active and lively fan discussion board.
Play: Federer smashes Murray’s backhand slice into the open right side of the court.
Score: 15-0 Federer
Murray – 123, 000 Followers – Andy is an avid tweeter and keeps fans in touch with the latest tennis news and really uses this platform to humanise himself. There is even a recent photo of him in an ice-bath post match. He gives us updates on his day-to-day routine and makes fun of his mates as well as himself.
Play: Federer’s poor second service allows Murray to pass him with the ball touching the base line to level things up.
Federer – 300,000 registered members – The news sections is updated sporadically. There are links to his profile, his foundation and most notably an excellent fan zone section, part of which you get to ask Roger questions on tennis and personal issues. He responds to each question personally. However, there are no links to his other social networking sites.
Murray – no registration option – Andy’s site is updated almost on a daily basis in terms of news. There are links to all his social networking platforms. There is a nice section on the team that helps him to be the player that he is. Andy also has a nice photo training blog in which fans can interact with him through the community fan page.
Score: 15-30 Murray
Play: Federer makes a rare double-fault allowing Murray to nose in front.
Federer – With the domination of Facebook as the two-way communication social networking tool, Federer’s MySpace is used somewhat as a platform to promote his sponsors.
Murray – A lot of fake MySpace accounts but nothing official.
Play: Federer serves an ace to which Murray doesn’t even bother moving for.
Murray – Many promotional videos of Andy warming up, doing fitness training and interacting with fans. Andy even does knock-up and drill sessions with competition winners.
Play: A magnificent 37 shot rally shows both players true quality with Murray managing to clinch the point with an exquisite lob.
Score: 30-40 Murray
With Murray about to break Federer, I think this is a good place to leave things. Hopefully this is an omen for things to come in the final tomorrow.
Murray has the edge is terms of being more social media savvy, not simply through using more social networking platforms, but rather the way in which he utilises them. Overall though it is good to see such huge stars of the tennis world embracing social media and using it to such good effect. Long may it continue.