The Cleveland Cavaliers are currently in first place in the Eastern Conference. They’re also the first team in the NBA, and professional sports as a whole, with their own dedicated social network. Named after the Cleveland faithful, Wine & Gold Nation is composed of an online community and a mobile app.

A Social Network for Everyone Else

Sure, 1.95 million users follow the Cavs on Twitter. But it’s safe to say that not all 1.95M followers are true Cavs fans. Within that following there could be other NBA teams, NBA players, TV networks, and sports journalists and broadcasters. And don’t forget about the bots. A recent study found that 48 million Twitter accounts are bots. That’s 15% of Twitter’s membership.

If you take a minute and scroll down the Cavs’ list of Twitter followers, you’ll see a lot of eggs. An egg is a Twitter user without a profile picture. That’s generally a warning sign that the user is a bot… or someone’s parent. My dad’s been on Facebook since 2010 and he still doesn’t have a profile picture.

So while the Cavs may have tremendous engagement and reach, they’re not necessarily reaching their ideal target audience with every tweet. How can they?

A Social Network for the Fans

Enter Wine & Gold Nation, with the sole purpose of providing the most passionate and loyal Cavs fans a personalized platform to interact with each other and the team in a unique environment. The one-of-a-kind features and functionality separate it from the typical sports fan forums and communities.

Some of the personalized features, as listed on the Cavs’ website, include “event management to organize events with customizable features like reminder notifications, RSVP management and more; community broadcasts to send instant messaging to the entire community or specific public/private groups; ability to connect to Facebook and Twitter and post concurrently to both platforms while also posting directly to a designated Wine & Gold Nation community/group” and more.

There are free and paid membership options for various age groups, which lets fans choose the exact experience they want to have.

Just the Beginning?

One of the most important things to any fan of any sports team is feeling like they’re part of the team and knowing that their loyalty and enthusiasm is appreciated. The Chicago Cubs do a great job of this, which is why they were the most engaged-with MLB team on Facebook in 2016.

What better way to show your true fans your appreciation than by launching a social network just for them? No bots, no outsiders. Just pure passion between diehard fans. This is sure to drive engagement even further and make an already massive brand even bigger.

Is this the future of social networking for teams and fans? Depending on the success of Wine & Gold Nation, we could see a lot more of these in the coming years.

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