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Social media: a blessing or a curse?

Athena Constantinou, managing director, APC Sports Consulting, Nicosia, Cyprus The use of social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, is revolutionising the marketing and promotion of sports events and sportspersons around the world. This is particularly important in communicating and building a sportsperson’s valuable brand and thereby raising awareness and increasing its marketability. These platforms facilitate communication between sportspersons and their fans as well as interaction between them. Social media, compared with traditional media, such as TV advertising, is less expensive and more immediate. A single post per day by a sportsperson will bring the sportsperson to the attention of fans and thereby result in more economic benefits for the sportsperson concerned. However, the use of social media may not only be a blessing but also a curse, as the recent spat between the wives of two high profile international footballers, Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy, has shown. This spat, which involves the leaking of private posts and stories about Coleen Rooney to the British tabloid newspaper ‘The Sun’, allegedly by Rebekah Vardy, has grabbed the attention of the media in the UK and internationally. The exchanges between the two of them have not been edifying and must reflect unfavourably on their footballer husbands. As such, their professional and personal standing and brands must have been tarnished. Professional footballers are defined not only by their sporting achievements, but also - perhaps more so - by the company they keep and their wives, partners and girlfriends (known in the jargon as ‘wags’). It appears that Coleen Rooney set a carefully designed and elaborate trap for Rebekah Vardy to allegedly expose her as the source of these unwelcome leaks about her and her personal life posted on her private Instagram account. This has led to one headline describing Coleen Rooney as ‘Wagatha Christie’ – after the famous fictional English sleuth! Apart from all this, sportspersons need to control and limit their exposure through social media, which, if not handled carefully, can result in over publicity, which is just as damaging as bad or no publicity. Thus, the use of social media effectively requires that sportspersons are trained accordingly, which is something that we, at APC Sports Consulting, are constantly aware of when advising and assisting them with the building of their very valuable and marketable brands to their fullest potential. Athena Constantinou may be contacted by e-mail at ‘This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    

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