This past weekend marked the 139th annual Preakness Stakes horse race and the second leg of the Triple Crown. With a record attendance of 123,469, the race was one for the books.
With his most recent win at Pimlico, California Chrome and rider Victor Espinoza have now won six straight races including the first two jewels of the Triple Crown: The Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Next stop, Belmont.
If California Chrome wins the Belmont Stakes in New York, it will be the first Triple sweep since Affirmed in 1978.
As if his winning streak and possible hat-trick weren’t enough, the chestnut colt’s humble pedigree makes California Chrome an unlikely standout among high-bred race horses. He comes from a unheralded lineage and was only $10,000 to breed, giving modest ranchers everywhere newfound hope.
Accompanying his swift rise to fame, the winning Californian colt now has his own official Twitter handle: @calchrome. The fans of California Chrome have also made their mark on social media with the nickname “Chromies,” complete with the hashtag #chromies. The victory in Baltimore was shortly followed by this official tweet:
In addition to its importance as a sporting event, the Triple Crown serves as a reminder of how social media has redefined the “broad” in broadcasting. Viewers of the race were encouraged to use the hashtag #PREAKNESS and an on-air stream of tweets from celebrities, horse-racing experts and @NBCSN were featured. A Twitter trending bar was integrated into the live broadcast which allowed viewers to check out popular hashtags inspired by the race.
NBC Sports Digital, NBC Sports Live Extra, CSNWashington.com and social media users were all following the Preakness Stakes as the excitement unfolded. NBC Sports’ Preakness All Access acted as the online “social and behind the scenes destination for everything surrounding the 139th Preakness Stakes.”
This “social center” allowed viewers to see tweets, Instagram posts, and Vine videos that were trending before, during and after the Preakness Stakes. The site also has an interactive feature that can generate a user’s “Horse Name” which can be shared on Twitter. Facebook had a “Choose the Winning Horse” poll with the votes shown on-air during the race. That is some serious cross-media promotion right there.
NBC Sports Live Extra is the the live stream used for electronic devices such as tablets, mobile devices and desktops. It included the stream of four online-only cameras, which increased the online presence and hype of the race. One of these exclusive shots covered California Chrome while another featured bonus footage of commentator analysees and replays from earlier races, including the Kentucky Derby.
Under Armour was the host of this “Hospitality Weekend” and invited all of their sponsors, including Texas Tech. Kliff Kinsbury, head football coach, Candace Whitaker, head Woman’s basketball coach and Tubby Smith, head Men’s basketball coach, were all in attendance.
There were also many celebrities and athletes in attendance, including Mike Tyson, Tom Brady and Stephen Curry.
Aside from all of the celebrity tweets and pics, California Chrome is in a serious position to give the media something to talk about. If he can snag that final jewel at Belmont Park in New York on June 7, he will not only make history, but he will also give Chromies everywhere something to tweet about.