Name: Tim Shanahan
Job: Senior Manager, Marketing & Promotions
Company: MLB Network
LinkedIn: Tim Shanahan
In 140 characters or less, tell us who you are and how you got to where you are today.
A Navy brat who dreamed of working in sports media and has been lucky to have worked in football and now his two favorites – baseball and hockey.
What’s one trend in media or marketing that you’re buying or selling?
Specific to social media, like many others, I’ve become a huge fan of Instagram Stories. It’s been great to see how creative brands have been in the space with graphics and video. From a marketing standpoint, I think it’s valuable to have your message or creative fill up the entire phone screen and a user can’t really skip by it without noticing it for a second. It’s our job to use that second to grab their attention! Instagram Stories have also become popular with athletes and celebrities, and they’re pretty liberal in sharing stories they are tagged in to their Instagram Story. It seems to have become Instagram’s answer to the retweet.
How do you define engagement?
I would define it simply as interaction. The amount of content the average person consumes now on a given day is incredible. Whenever you can cut through that and get someone to stop and look, tune in, give a like, comment on, or share your content, I think that’s success. Then, ideally, you can build off that to create a deeper relationship with that fan.
What’s the project or campaign that you’re proudest of? Why?
This year, we’ve run a social media campaign called #SandlotToTheShow, and it’s my favorite project I’ve worked on at MLB Network. Since January, we’ve given youth baseball and softball players the opportunity to receive personalized tips and feedback from our former players during our morning show MLB Central and on our signature studio show MLB Tonight. We’ve invited the parents to post videos of their youngsters with #SandlotToTheShow on Twitter and Instagram. It’s been amazing to see the response, and how popular it’s become with kids and their parents. Even better has been receiving reactions from the children to seeing themselves on television and responding to the coaching from former MLB players. We’ve featured almost 250 kids in the segment and the hashtag has been used on Instagram more than 6,000 times in 2019.
What are you working on right now? Any exciting future plans that you’re able to share?
We’re right in the middle of the MLB Postseason, and we just finished promoting our two ALDS games. To drive viewership for our Twins vs. Yankees game, we partnered with Twitter on a “like-to-remind” promotion, where fans could like this tweet to receive a personalized tune-in reminder before first pitch. Another favorite social campaign of mine we are working on is #WeKnowPostseason. Among our roster of on-air talent, our player roster includes 3 Hall of Famers, World Series Champions and a World Series MVP, and we’ve run this campaign for five Postseasons now. It’s evolved from having our former players relive their Postseason feats, to seeing them discuss their favorite moments as fans. This year, we will be continuing the campaign and featuring our former players talking about some of the unsung heroes they played alongside in the past.
As a connected fan, what’s the best piece of sports content that you have recently consumed?
Two brands I enjoy following for two different reasons are Bleacher Report and Clemson Football. Bleacher Report is great with design and graphics and you never know what you’re going to see next. Clemson Football is known around sports for providing some of the best access and video content of any social media handle. And within baseball, I did enjoy @MLB’s video for the #WePlayLoud Postseason campaign. It was an interesting way to promote the game’s young stars, while also giving a nod to baseball’s rich history and how this new generation of players differs.
What’s been the biggest high and low of working in sports?
Generally, what I’ve enjoyed most about working in sports is the wonderful people I’ve been fortunate to work with. But a couple of great moments that have stood out were having the opportunity to watch as my Mets played in the 2015 World Series and then seeing the Cubs finally win in 2016.
I think I’ve been lucky in that my low of working in sports was trying to break into the industry. I had dreamed of working in sports media for a long time, and there were certainly moments early on when I dealt with failure and doubted myself and my abilities.
What’s one element of the sports industry that you’d like to see change?
I would like to see more done to help students looking to break into the sports industry see all the different opportunities there are in sports – the many companies that touch the industry and the many job functions there are within sports entities. I don’t think that’s something I realized when I was starting in the industry. I volunteer at my alma mater Boston College each year to talk with students about my sports industry experience, and this is something I try to pass along to them.
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