Last fall, Mississippi State embraced social media with a full on bear hug, and painted “#HAILSTATE” in the endzones for the Egg Bowl against rival Ole Miss. It seems that was just the start of a trend. This spring, Michigan will feature field paint that reads “#GOBLUE” at each 35 yard line. If this seems out of character for a staid, traditional program such as Michigan, it could be a very clever way for the athletic department to gauge interest in the school’s spring game, as well as take the temperature of fans as the scrimmage unfolds.
Many were quick to joke about Mississippi State’s goofy looking endzone design, and it was a bit over the top. However, this is something that could become a trend across the country. Many tv shows now display hashtags during their broadcasts on a chyron in the corner of the screen. Additionally, professional sports teams use team or game specific hashtags so that fans can interact with studio hosts and analysts. Last night, NBC Sports Network urged tweeters to use a particular hashtag to vote for MVP of the night for the Stanley Cup Playoff games they aired on their family of networks. Since college football teams don’t control the broadcast of their games, and can’t place hashtag chyrons on the screen, it only makes sense for them to place them the only place everyone viewing can see them: on the field.
While the use of hashtags is still in its infant stages as far as placing them on the field of play goes, it’s interesting that a school like Michigan is willing to utilize them. There’s no word yet whether Michigan will use them during the regular season, but having them for the spring game is a good trial run. If it goes well, we could be seeing this more and more often.