On Monday the Rugby Football League – the officiating body for Rugby League in the UK – announced that they would be conducting the first ever Challenge Cup draw live on Twitter. The Challenge Cup draw usually takes place over radio, but this year the RFL have decided to take advantage of their 9,000 Twitter followers and host the draw exclusively on Twitter.
The RFL stated that,
“All 18 ties will be tweeted as the pairings are made from the Rugby Pavilion at Iffley Road, Oxford, on Wednesday (March 13) from 1.00pm by celebrated actor Kevin Whately and Bruce Ray, the Communications Director of Carlsberg UK.”
All rugby league fans need to do is simply follow the official @TheRFL Twitter account to find who has drawn who.
This is the latest step by the RFL to use Social Media as a way of promoting Rugby League in order to engage with existing fans better as well as hopefully attract interest from new fans. This is the first time (As far as we can tell) that a major sporting competition draw has taken place on Social Media channels exclusively. This is really a positive sign for the sport and one we at Blueclaw are delighted to hear about, especially with so many Rugby League and Social Media fans in the office.
The RFL’s decision to host the draw live on Twitter comes just two weeks after Blueclaw held a Social Media training session for first team players at Warrington Wolves, who have won the Challenge Cup in the last 3 years. Head of Social Media, Sean Walsh, gave the current holders an hour session on the perils and benefits of Social Media – both during their time in the sport, as well as after their career.
Karl Fitzpatrick, Wolves’ player welfare manager, speaking on the Warrington Wolves website said,
“Social media is now a big part of how our players interact with fans, therefore it is important that they do so in the right manner. This workshop highlighted how the players can have a great impact on their own and the club’s profile by the 140 characters they display.
“There have been a number of high profile cases involving professional athletes who have been reprimanded due to the comments they have made on social mediums; we are trying to educate our players to not fall into the same trap. Although from time to time we may have a misdemeanor via social media we will continue to provide guidance and education in what at times can be a minefield. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sean from Blueclaw for an excellent and informative workshop.”
Today’s draw won’t see any Super League clubs included just yet, but it will most definitely be important for Championship and below teams. The likes of Featherstone Rovers, Halifax RLFC, Sheffield Eagles and Leigh Centurions are all considered the favourites from the Championship – and noticeably, all of them are on Twitter.