Sports Celebrities Connect Directly With Fans
Roger Federer made history on Sunday when he defeated brave Andy Roddick in a marathon five-set match, to win his sixth Wimbledon title and claim a record 15th Grand Slams. With his latest win the 27-year-old Swiss surpasses Pete Sampras old record of 14 majors.
Federer’s new Facebook profile picture
Also on the web Federer breaks records. To interact with his fans directly and share exclusive content, Federer uses his Facebook profile with a staggering 2.2 million fans and his official site RogerFederer.com with 250,000 signed up members.
Roger Federer: “Facebook is a real fun thing. It’s been a lot of pleasure lately. I like to interact. I have a person who helps me do it because I can’t go all the time on it. But I try to update it as frequently as I can. It’s amazing how the fan base grows so quickly. I think we’re close to two million. Fans mean a lot to me, that they support me so much not only by internet but also in the stadium. I can feel that.”
Besides giving status updates and video messages, Federer also invites his Facebook fans to submit questions. A week ago Federer wrote on his Facebook: “I spend a lot of time doing press with the professional ‘questioners’, but I thought today I would answer a few questions from my fans on Facebook. So write me some questions you want answered and I will do my best to pick a couple of them to answer!” Within an hour, he had some 20,000 responses, ranging from the downright odd to the plain cheeky. Federer picked three questions to answer from them.
Federer is not the only sports athlete enjoying a healthy influx of Facebook fans during an event. A year ago U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps added 1.25 million Facebook friends during the Beijing Olympics, nearing Obama with 1.36 milion in August 2008 as the most popular person on Facebook. Phelp’s fans posted more than 30,000 comments back then on his wall, including marriage proposals, generic compliments and jealous insults. Currently Michael Phelps leads the athlete leaderboard with 2.5 million Facebook fans, followed by Roger Federer and David Beckham.
Athletes & Facebook fans
And also other sports celebrities see major increases of their fanbase everyday, like seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and American basketball player Shaquile O’neil with respectively 1.3 and 1.5 million followers on Twitter. Sites as Twitter and Facebook are an ideal way for sports celebrities to bypass the media and communicate directly with fans. Also read Fans, teams and celebrities flock to sports’ newest arena: social networking.
To mark Federer’s historic win, sponsor Nike launched a 30-second tribute spot, entitled “Love Fifteen”, on various broadcast networks around the world and on Niketennis.com. The advert features sports icons Serena Williams, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras.
Pete Sampras: “Seven years you let me have this record”