In an environment such as the National Football League, it’s not hard to find players that crave the spotlight. Attention seekers, like Terrell Owens, Peyton Manning and Dez Bryant continuously try to become a part of the media landscape in commercials, television show appearances and charity endorsements.
However these athletes don’t show their appreciation for their fans, who spend an average of $89 per ticket (see statista.com). An occasional note of gratitude such as, “We’ve got the best fans in the world,” shows a little acknowledgement. But for every one of these players there is always one who fits the idea of a sociable athlete. New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is one of those players, and his Twitter account is all his own.
Being an interactive person means that you have a dialog with your computer program, by interacting with others online. Athletes like Peyton Manning never post tweets about their appearances and daily adventures, but rely on sports writers and team media personnel to post this information. On Friday, September 25th, Gronkowski tweeted his excitement about the opening of training camp for the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning. A friend of his was invited to camp and he sent him and the team his best wishes.
@DBluu94 killing it @TBLightning Camp. Remember what I taught you this summer! #2ndRounders #ComebackKids.
The player Dylan Blujus played for the franchise’s minor league team the Syracuse Crunch. Judging by his timeline it doesn’t seem that he is a long-time Lighting fan. He’s become a fan recently because of his friend’s arrival to the team. He also sent out tweets to Proctor and Gamble and MyDemoulas.com for the support of his women’s football 101 event on Monday.
Thanks for the support @mydemoulas and @proctorgamble. Third annual football 101 with women was a success. Now for this event, he showed visual proof of his loyalty to this event. Two pictures were taken that night of Gronkowski interacting with his female fans. Why would an anti-social person post photos like this?
Diversion is an activity that diverts the mind from a serious concern. Gronkowski has also gained a reputation of being an avid partyer. His Twitter does not hide this myth. On September 24, he invited fans to enter a drawing for a post-game party with him and his family. He has used his hobby as a diversion to interact with fans and family, outside his daily life. The price of the drawing is a donation to his charity Gronk Nation Youth Foundation,” host events for the benefit of youth charities.
The tweet read: Wanna be a Gronk? Pats tailgate w/ my fam, starting a post-game tradition with me @GronkPartyBus. A link to the drawing’s signup was also posted.
He’s also posted more formal parties for those that find it more satisfying. On September 28 he also hosted a dinner for Citi card holder members. By formal that means that the tables were decked in labeled tablecloth and drinking glasses rested on it. Card members were seen wearing Gronkowski jerseys, while the main attraction relaxed in a chair while wearing cargo shorts. Fans know who it is they’ll meet, by looking at his Twitter account.
Through Gronkowski’s interaction with fans, he’s also shared information, facts provided by or learned about from someone, about his interests. By posting pictures of parties, he has shared his personality and interests. But he doesn’t show selfish behavior, especially when he invites his fans, complete strangers, to celebrate game outcomes with him. This integrates other social media aspects of promotional and fanship aspects.
Promotion is raising awareness of a product or brand, while generating sales and creating brand loyalty. A photo of Gronkowski selling coffee at a Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru, serves as him endorsing a product and sharing it with his own fans. This is different from Peyton Manning promoting Papa Johns in a commercial, but not posting his own photos of himself eating that product.
That photo, which was taken on Tuesday, isn’t the only Dunkin’ Donuts promotion on his account. He posted another photo on August 31, with the tag: It’s go time! Download my voice on @Waze app, and ride with me and the @DunkinBoston Tailgater Breakfast Sandwich. The product will still make money, and his fans will be able to follow Gronkowski’s favorite topics and items.
Fanship is defined as being usually uncountable. A company that makes $500 million a year, probably wouldn’t count how many customers they receive (see marketwatch.com). But having numerous customers that you can’t count mentally is a sign of success (hopefully). With success comes fun, as many will see in Gronkowski’s Dunkin’ commercials during the previous summer. Another Boston fan favorite David Ortiz performs those commercials as well.
Gronkowski has done everything a role model can do. Be successful in your job, show good character and contribute or be a part of society. Just like his touchdown celebration, Gronkowski has “spiked” the arrogant athletes our society sees in ads every year.