In what's believed to be a first in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors are inviting bloggers, Web writers, online photojournalists, Twitter and Facebook users and the like to fill out an application on the team's website for a chance to participate in the Warriors' annual media day Sept. 27.
The team is dubbing it "Tweedia Day."
Credible bloggers have been allowed into the press box in most North American major pro sports in recent years, but the Warriors' move to include Twitter and Facebook users brings it more to a general fan level.
The move is similar to what the Cleveland Indians decided to do this season with their Tribe Social Deck.
Beyond online bloggers and journalists, Indians fans who tweet about the team were welcome to apply to watch a game from the social deck -- a press box of sorts in left field.
With the fans' voice now more widespread than ever thanks to Facebook and Twitter, the Indians and Warriors have tapped into the notion that published, accessible opinion and analysis of their teams no longer comes just from those writing for a traditional media outlet.
By inviting fans into a media opportunity run by the team, it can forge a deeper relationship between fan and team.
Plenty of prizes
Reggie Bush may no longer have his Heisman Trophy, but Bush and his agency, Activ8Social, were hiding eight autographed footballs around New Orleans last week in anticipation of the Saints' season opener against the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 9.
The social-media challenge, dubbed "Reggie Bush #RedZones," had fans taking clues from Bush's Facebook page, a special "#RedZones" Twitter account, as well as Foursquare and TwitPic to find the footballs.
For fans not in the New Orleans area, Stickybits was brought in to help facilitate a chance to win a signed football for one fan. Fans were asked to scan a Stickybits barcode, and then upload a video, photo or text, and the best entry won the football.
Bush isn't the only one using social media for a contest this NFL season.
The Washington Redskins are running one for fans using Foursquare. By checking in at a game or a featured Redskins bar, fans have the chance to win two loge tickets and pregame field passes to tailgate for a Nov. 15 game against the Eagles at FedEx Field.
The Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots also employed SCVNGR, another location-based service, during the offseason and preseason to run fan contests.
Do you know where your NFL is?
Announced on Tuesday, Fan Appz is also utilizing the geolocation functionality of Facebook Places -- something I wrote about in August -- with a service called Fan Appz Offers.
The idea behind it is similar to what we've seen in previous check-in marketing initiatives. Businesses using Fan Appz can reward patrons -- or in the sports world, teams and leagues can reward fans -- with deals and incentives based on number of check-ins at a particular location.
"With Fan Appz Offers for Facebook Places, companies can now take their Facebook marketing to the next level by rewarding fans for their interactions in the physical world," Fan Appz CEO Jon Siegal said.
Ryan Corazza is a freelance writer and Web designer based in Chicago.