Major League Baseball’s first-ever “Social Media Derby” successfully integrated social media into Monday’s State Farm Home Run Derby (@StateFarm #HRDerby), resulting in a significant volume of online activity, considerable increases in Twitter followings for the participating MLB All-Stars, as well as increased television ratings and viewership for the event on ESPN.
For the first time ever on Monday, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association arranged to have players on the field interact with fans via social media during the @StateFarm #HRDerby, which was won by Robinson Cano of the Yankees (@RobinsonCano). In addition, video and picture content shot by players during the event were distributed across social media and posted to MLB.com, marking the first time MLB players communicated directly with fans via social media platforms while on the field during an MLB event.
The 23 All-Stars who actively tweeted from the field during the @StateFarm #HRDerby gained a combined 121,428 new followers over an 18-hour period (9am ET Monday – 9am ET Tuesday), an average increase of +17%. Leading the way was Robinson Cano (@RobinsonCano), whose Twitter following increased by 84% during that time period, followed by Jose Bautista (@JoeyBats19, +49%), Gio Gonzalez (@GioGonzalez47, +46%), Matt Kemp (@TheRealMattKemp, +43%), Howie Kendrick (@HKendrick47, +28%), Heath Bell (@HeathBell21, +18%) and David Ortiz (@davidortiz, +17%). The 23 All-Stars sent a combined 223 tweets during the #HRDerby which generated more than 18,000 @ mentions back to their accounts.
In addition, the MLB and Club Facebook and Twitter accounts gained a combined 52,375 new fans/followers in that same 18 hour period, with the MLB Facebook account generating +190% more “likes” than a typical day, and the @BlueJays (+185%), @Yankees (+174%) and @Phillies (+131%) all gaining more than double their daily average. Overall, there was a combined +70% increase in followers to the MLB & Club Twitter accounts over the daily averages for the past month.
During the event, fans sent more than 100,000 tweets using the #HRDerby and #HomeRunDerby hashtags, driving both to be among the worldwide trending topics during the event. In addition, Robinson Cano and runner-up Adrian Gonzalez were also among the top trending topics in the U.S. during the finals. In all, there were more than 23,000 Twitter conversations about @RobinsonCano.
Last night’s telecast of the State Farm Home Run Derby on ESPN registered a 4.7 household rating and drew an average audience of 6,686,000 viewers according to Fast National data from the Nielsen Company, up +2% and +4%, respectively, over the 2010 event in Anaheim. The 6,686,000 viewers for last night’s State Farm Home Run Derby telecast stands as the most viewed telecast on ESPN since late May.
Boston, which delivered a 10.3 HH rating (up +7% over last year) and Milwaukee, which posted a 9.3 HH rating (+11%), and which both had two competitors in last night’s contest, were the top rated local markets. New York, home of last night’s State Farm Home Run Derby winner, recorded a 6.1 HH rating (+2% over last year).
State Farm and Major League Baseball donated $603,000 to charities through the State Farm Home Run Derby, including $428,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of America and $150,000 to the David Ortiz Children’s Fund, due to the Ortiz-led American League winning the overall team competition.