Anyone who knows me even remotely well can vouch for the fact that I am a huge NFL fan (Go Pats!), as well as a social media advocate. This combination naturally made me excited to learn that wide receiver Chad Ochocinco has made the switch from the Cincinnati Bengals to the New England Patriots.
As one of the handful of athletes who have established a solid self-branding off the field, Ochocinco leverages social media in new ways to connect with fans, promote himself and his team, and get people more involved. Much like an NFL version of NBA Celtics’ center Shaquille O’Neal, Ochocinco has also used Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to reach the masses – and he’s been quite successful with 1,861,487 Facebook friends and 2,419,971 followers on Twitter to date.
While with the Bengals, Ochocinco:
- Gave away tickets to fans he connected with on Twitter in order to place some friendly faces in the endzone for his Lambeau Leap
- Helped the Bengals sell out games by offering the first 85 people two free extra tickets for those who bought at least two tickets via his Facebook account
- Treated 85 fans to dinner at XO Prime Steakhouse through a Twitter invitation
- Accepted a challenge to ride a bull via Twitter
In Ochocinco’s latest social media escapade, he has stated that he’s going to stay with a fan for the first two or three weeks of the season, noting the only requirements are that they have WiFi and an Xbox (I don’t have an Xbox, so I guess I’m out of the running). While this news has gotten a tremendous reaction via Facebook and Twitter, there remain questions of whether or not Ochocinco’s social media image will be tamed by the Patriots and Bill Belichick. For eager fans looking for another Boston social media superstar, or just hoping for similar free handouts, let’s certainly hope not… that is, as long as he keeps winning on the field!