The Evolution of a Social Network – Colts Fan Network

Colts Network
My good friend, Pat Coyle has re-branded his blog to Sports Marketing 2.0 and is now writing about the evolution of the Colts Fan Network. This is the Perfect Storm (in a good way) … a captive loyal audience (that can’t be stolen), an online outlet for them to share their loyalty and love for a great team, and the technology to make it happen. Pat is also a master wordsmith so his blog is very entertaining. His narration of this launch is something you should not miss!

Here’s a snapshot of the Colts Fan Network (recently written about at Mashable).
Colts Network Screenshot

This endeavour is a win-win-win for the Colts. The Indianapolis Colts are “America’s Team”, the team with the most fans in the country. Every part of the team is incredible – Jim Irsay has come into his own as a fantastic owner, finding the best talent in the country and allowing them to work. “Bill Polian is the President of the Indianapolis Colts NFL team. He has won the NFL’s Executive of the Year award 5 times (1988, 1991, 1995, 1996, and 1999). Polian was the General Manager of the Buffalo Bills from 1986 – 1993, building a team that participated in four straight Super Bowls (he was there for 3 of them). Polian was the General Manager of the expansion Carolina Panthers until moving on to the Colts in 1997.” – Wikipedia.

Tony Dungy is the Coach of the Colts. Coach Dungy is an incredible coach and person. “Dungy is a devout Christian and at one point in his coaching career considered leaving football for the prison ministry. Throughout his career, he has remained involved with community service organizations.” – Wikipedia.

And of course the players who make it happen… Payton Manning, Jeff Saturday, Marvin Harrison, Dwight Freeney, Cato June… there’s really not a single player that stands out (though the press does spend a lot of time on Payton). It truly is a team rather than a bunch of egocentric stars trying to stand out from each other. The team is also well-respected, you will seldom find Colts players in the news for anything other than good… a rarity in professional sports. Check out the Community section at to see how much the Colts do for the community. It’s nice to see. Here in Indy, our NBA club has just recently been involved in another embarrassment… so the Colts are the center of attention and respect. We believe!

Pat’s background as a Marketing Guru is a perfect fit to lead this. I had the pleasure of working with Pat and Darrin Gray in a company called Brandirect where we executed marketing and advertising campaigns for a number of businesses here in Indy (including the Colts). When the Colts called Pat full-time to help them build better relationships with the fans and season-ticket holders… that was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up! I still talk with Pat every week and we are involved in a local Indianapolis Book Club where we discuss and implement ideas from the latest and greatest business books out on the street. We’re joined by some top minds in Marketing here in Indianapolis and I’ve learned a lot through the exposure to these talented people.

Check out Sports Marketing 2.0 to watch the evolution of this Social Network. It’s going to be exciting!


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    I’ve always admired your abilities in marketing and technology, but now I can see you may have missed your calling. You should be in PR for me!!

    Thanks for the kind words and for letting folks know about the Colts Fan Network. We busy getting the site ready for launch – I can’t wait to begin the experiment!

    One thing I should point out, however. The Colts may have the fastest growing fan base among NFL teams, but we do not have the most fans, or are we “America’s Team.” Both those distinctions still go to the Dallas Cowboys. That brand began gaining strength in the 1970s and continues to endure.

    My hope is that one day through clever use of marketing and technology – and a sound dose of customer intimacy – we can indeed rise to the top.

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    It is interesting to me that I have not seen more sports social networking site along the lines of facebook etc…There have been plenty of other entertainment related sites. Currently I am working on a social networking site for Movie Lovers. In fact it was released less than a month ago. Two business partners and I, I belive have created a very robust site that allows the user so much in terms of movie reviews ratings and most importantly their own top movie list (all of which can be reordered by dragging and dropping). Being only a month or so old, I believe we will find success in the same way as this network has – but PR and word of mouth are the most important pieces. Good look and I hope to see you all over at as well.

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