Tennis enthusiasts from all over the planet befriend each other on Facebook, thus creating a sub-culture of friendly communities breaking down geo-political and sociological barriers.
It took them a while, but the one group of sports participants that are notoriously slow in reacting to new technology, are getting the hang of it. Tennis players from all over the world are connecting through Social Media Networks, and Facebook is on the forefront of this trend.
Celebrity Tennis Players are Getting Mega Traffic on Facebook
It used to be that internationally popular team sports were the most active on Facebook. English soccer club FC Liverpool led the field for a while with millions of fans on their Fan page. Although their 6.8 million fan base is huge, it is by far not the biggest. Teams like the Los Angeles Lakers have 9.9 million fans. US Basketball players like LA Laker's Kobe Bryant (10 mio.), Miami Heat's LeBron James (8 mio.), and ex-Chicago Bull Michael Jordan (13 mio.) are power players in the Social Media field.
But today’s biggest tennis stars are right up there with their numbers. Rafael Nadal: 8.0 million fans, Roger Federer: 8.6 million. While no one can top Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal’s mega soccer star (over 32 million fans), Roger Federer shows a very impressive presence on Facebook. His Christmas message was “liked” by 29,144 fans, and 4,762 of them took the time to comment.
Southern Cal Tennis Organizations Catching Up With Traffic
The Facebook Fan Page of the Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA) represents an organization with a 124 year history and they decided early on in the Facebook game they weren't going to be left behind. In fact they are a front runner in terms of professional approach and number of fans, compared to many of the other 17 USTA Sections. Another organization with a long history that's trying real hard to spread the word via Social Media is LA's own and only professional tennis tournament, the Farmer's Classic, part of the Olympus US Open Series. Played in July at the LA Tennis Center (UCLA Campus), this tournament went through a lot of changes in recent years but is hoping to attract more and more ATP Top 10 players again.
Regular Fans Communicating in Their New Tennis Sub-Culture
Adding like minded tennis players or fans to someone’s circle of friends is mushrooming on Facebook. Any user with tennis affiliation and less than 1,000 “friends” has little social standing in that social network. Examples like Ada Pignatelli from Maniago, Italy, are commonplace. Ada has 2,644 friends from all over the world and communicates daily with many. Tennis is her hobby and the sport is the connector for most of her friends, letting her reach out to all corners of the world and thus greatly enhancing her life. And Ada is not alone in her quest for letting tennis become her community, her “Vienna coffee house”, her town hall meeting. People from the Middle East, Asia, Russia, Europe, Africa, South and North America, Australia are all part of her circle and she has no problem communicating with them in Italian and English. Geo-political and sociological barriers do not exist for her, nor do they exist for anyone else on Facebook.
One curious phenomenon needs special attention in regards to tennis players and fans participating on Facebook. Recently, one nation was overwhelmingly “crowding” the site with tennis people: Argentina. With 6 Argentinean players in the ATP Top 100 and many more in the pipeline to break into that exclusive group, that nation of 40 million appears in a total tennis craze right now. Individuals, professionals, clubs, and organizations alike have realized the value of social networking and social media marketing, and they are coming online in great numbers. Typical example for hundreds of Argentinean tennis fans who joined Facebook recently: Alfredo Barboza from Buenos Aires. He already has 2,717 friends and is connected to a popular Argentinean tennis web site named MercadoTennis.com.
Cultural differences are apparently real in the world of tennis. Spain has currently 13 male players with Top 100 ranking, but only a fraction of the Spanish tennis fans are hurrying to sign up on Facebook compared to Argentineans.
Plenty of tennis fans are connecting and it is apparent the tennis community is far away from Facebook saturation. Besides the amazing success Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are experiencing in Social Media right now, people with tennis interest are creating a sub-culture that is greatly enhancing their life and their reach around the world.
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