NFL superstar Drew Brees gets closer to fans online

December 15, 2010
USA Today

New Orleans Saints’ QB Drew Brees has had one memorable year: Super Bowl MVP. Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year. Now he’s part of a customized high-tech application to stay connected to tens of thousands of his fans online.

“It’s a great way to stay connected, up-to-date, with the fans,” says Brees, among a group of athletes promoting a new program, called Fantapper, that promises to bring social-media users and athletes. The app launches Thursday.

“I’m able to engage people in the community on my charitable endeavors, and tell them what I’m up to,” Brees says. “It is truly amazing.”
Fantapper (www.fantapper.com), a free download from Brand Affinity Technologies (www.brandaffinity.net), delivers to fans YouTube videos, Facebook feeds and Twitter tweets from their favorite athletes in one digital area.

Brees says social media has played a prominent role in helping him connect to fans. For example, he solicited suggestions for his baby’s name from his Twitter following of 325,000 and Facebook fans.

Brees is among a vanguard of well-known athletes and celebrities who use online media and tools to directly connect with fans and bypass the prism of the media. Fantapper is already being used by the NBA’s Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee Bucks), and the NFL’s Clay Matthews (Green Bay Packers) and Shaun Phillips (San Diego Chargers).

Indeed, 61% of Americans, ages 18 to 44, say they ‘feel more connected” because of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and celebrity websites, according to research provided by Brand Affinity.