At this year’s NFL draft, text messaging proved itself to be a key player. “Come get me” read Ha Ha Clinton-Dix’s text message to the Philadelphia Eagles the night before the draft. Michael Sam, the first openly gay football player eligible for the draft, received a congratulatory text message from supporter Jason Collins after being selected by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round. And for fans, text message notifications kept everyone in the loop.

In recent years, text messaging has moved beyond the realm of personal communication and become integral to communication in professional settings, a fact that was prominently on display at the 2014 NFL draft. From Clinton-Dix’s text message to a team he hoped to play for to the alerts provided to fans who subscribed for updates whenever a draft selection was made, text messages delivered millions of updates and messages to fans, players, and teams this past weekend.

NFL draft

The NFL draft is big business and communicating with fans is key.
Image courtesy of Wiki Commons

Clinton-Dix was ultimately chosen by the Green Bay Packers at pick 21, one selection before the Eagles were to choose a player. He didn’t get his wish to play for Philadelphia, but his message was received loud and clear.

In previous years, communications between players and teams leading up to the draft most often happened during in-person meetings or with a sports agent delivering a message to a team from a player or vice versa. The flow of information was decidedly formal and exact in nature.  The emergence of text messaging as a valid means of communicating has made the flow of information both faster and far more candid.

Scouts exchange information via text message while watching a player work out. Agents and General Managers strategize and negotiate via text since short messages allow for a conversation that is neither audible (like a phone call) or beholden to a laptop (like email). Text messaging also offers higher reliability. A phone call can be missed or avoided, while a text message will be opened and read over 90% of the time. Text messages have given athletes and their stewards a way to hold conversations that posture and position and manipulate where a player might be selected…or if he is even selected at all.

Perhaps the most significant use of text messaging at the NFL draft was seen in how the league and teams kept fans apprised of what was happening. Every team in the league and the league itself allowed fans the chance to subscribe to distribution lists that provided regular updates to what was happening at the draft. When a pick was made, fans could receive a notification. When a trade was made, another notification. More significantly, these subscriber lists gave teams a great way to interact with fans through surveys and polls related to the draft. Instead of the flow of information only traveling one way, fans and interested observers were now able to participate in the conversation. Furthermore, these text messages allowed fans to enjoy the draft without having to sit in front of the television for three full days. The NFL brand was able to win mindshare and attention without relying solely on television or internet coverage. That is a truly amazing turn of events!

Once upon a time, players sat by the phone waiting for a team to call and state their intention to draft the player. The scenes were often emotional as entire families sat around the draft telecast hoping, waiting, praying that their friend or family member would be selected. Now? Draft eligible players hosted parties and went to events knowing that their mobile phone was the only tool needed to learn the news of where they would be playing football next fall. Teams might call… or they might send a text message. Those offering congratulatory words would take to Twitter… or simply send a text message.

SMS services are no longer just for casual conversation between friends. Now, a message that changes the life of a young man and his family might come across via short message service on a cell phone. Players that are selected can be seen furiously sending and replying to text messages with friends as the cameras capture their celebration. Mosaic NetworX offers companies a robust SMS services platform that can be used to develop business relationships like those between the NFL, its players, and their fans. Click here to learn how Mosaic NetworX can help you bring SMS services into your offerings.