Archive for the ‘NHL’ Category

(Newark, NJ, February 16, 2011) ~ In a first for a professional sports franchise, the New Jersey Devils (@NHLDevils) today launched Mission Control, a Digital Command Center designed to activate and further extend the franchise’s online brand presence. Located inside Prudential Center (@PruCenter), the command center will be fueled by fans using Twitter, Facebook and other online channels hosted by the franchise and opening its digital outlets to bloggers and message board users.

The Devils carefully chose  25 social media savvy fans, the self-proclaimed Devils Army Generals, through Facebook and Twitter to act as the voice of the team’s fan base using Devils’ social media platforms.   Several of the Generals already host fan blogs of their own.  The team and Generals (@DevilsGenerals) were assisted in the development of Mission Control by the team’s social communications consultant, Jim Delaney (@activate).

Mission Control is headquartered in a newly constructed dedicated suite of offices in Prudential Center that will serve as an interactive digital hub for the team to engage in online discussions, initiate proactive outreach, track media performance/trends, and deliver interactive service to fans and followers of the Devils and the Rock on Twitter, Facebook, fan message boards and other media channels.  Fifteen individual screens in Mission Control instantly monitor all aspects of the Devils and Prudential Center brands.

“Mission Control will allow our team to connect directly with our fan base, expand the Devils’ presence throughout social media platforms, and ultimately give our fans the opportunity to be a part of the Devils family,” said Jeff Vanderbeek, Chairman and Managing Partner of Devils Arena Entertainment. “The National Hockey League is aggressively using social media and we want to set the standard not only for the league but in all of sports as well.”

Mission Control will serve to not only connect the Devils with fans but will also allow the team to engage more broadly with music and entertainment enthusiasts. Prudential Center has established itself as one of the country’s ‘must-play’ stops for top concert acts, family shows and high-profile special events. The Rock recently ranked 6th in the nation according to Venues Today 2010 arena rankings.  Mission Control will host opportunities to grow the Prudential Center brand and promote its top shows and concerts via all digital media platforms.

Mission Control is a next step in the Devils overall strategic goal to more effectively engage through social communications. Starting at the end of 2010, the Devils introduced the Digital Zone on the arena concourse.  The Digital Zone gives fans a hands-on opportunity to tweet, post and check Facebook during the game.  In addition, the team offers an Apple iPad rental program,  with customized  Devils’ application as well as apps from the NHL and other sports,  while watching the game live. The team has also successfully tripled their number of Facebook followers this  season, and grown significantly on Twitter.

The logo for Mission Control was designed by Devils fan Chrissy Baptista of Elizabeth, NJ, through a crowd-sourced design contest via social media, believed to be a first by any professional team or venue. The logo incorporates the Devils’ demonized font, the Prudential Center’s ‘arena art’ element, and NASA-inspired graphic rays that symbolize outbound communications.

“Being a designer, I jumped at the opportunity to create a logo for the New Jersey Devils Mission Control,” said Baptista. “I’m a Devils fan, of course, and it makes it that much cooler to see my design represent this program. I’m really excited to see it in action.”

Media Contact:

Anne Sciaino





This week I want to focus on what is often called the “next generation fan.” And what is the next generation fan? It’s the sports fan who consumes sports in a much different manner than the traditional fan. The “traditional fan” would primarily go to watch the action on the field, court, ice or arena. But the “next generation” fan consumes sports in a very different way. Instead of just watching the on-field action, the “next generation fan’ is constantly multi-tasking. They are also watching the big scoreboard/big screen as well as using their smart phone to text, Tweet, take photos, check-in, post to Facebook, etc.

Jimmy Lynn for iStrategy

In the past two years, I’ve been fortunate enough to attend sporting events in two of the greatest sports venues in the world. In late 2009, I went to the famed Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro (one of the three greatest soccer venues in history) to watch Flamengo play a league match. And, in the spring 2010, I went to see Arsenal play Porto in a Championship League match at their new beautiful Emirates Stadium. The passion of the fans at both venues was remarkable and bone-chilling. But, it was also clear that they were there for one thing … to watch the action on the field.

Big screen Cowboy Stadium

Contrast that to the American sports fan in the US. Go to nearly any professional sports league game and you’ll witness a good number of fans multi-tasking. I think back to Feb 2010 – at the NBA All-Star Game at Cowboys Stadium in Texas. I’ve never seen a more spectacular sports venue. Wow. The place is simply amazing. In particular, the high-definition screen that runs 60 yards long will simply take your breath away. What’s interesting is that the picture is so clear that often times you find yourself watching the big screen versus the live-action on the field. Then, of course, the fans are on their iPhones, Blackberrys, Androids, etc to tell their friends about the spectacular venue – snapping photos and posting on Facebook, posting tweets on Twitter, checking in on FourSquare, texting and emailing, etc.

I do love the purity of watching the soccer/football matches in Rio de Janeiro and London, but as a sports marketer, I marvel at how sports venues in the US, such as Cowboys Stadium, create so many more meaningful ways to create revenue.  The sponsorship opportunities alone are staggering.  But also the advent of mobile apps will continue to help sports fans consume in even more engaging ways. There’s a number of apps that help fans follow their fantasy sports teams, order concessions, change seat locations, follow other teams and sports, look at traffic reports, check on weather, etc.

iphone sports app
Sports has always been one of the key content areas to drive the adaptation of new technologies. This “next generation fan” will continue to multi-task in more and more ways as new applications continue to be developed.  Yes, the US is probably leading the way since it’s the largest consumer sports market, but many of these lessons will be shared – and fans in the UK, Brazil, China, Australia, India, Russia, etc will also consume sports in a different manner. This also means that leagues and teams will also be able to create new incremental revenue streams. It will be interesting to watch this play out in the coming years. The game – or “watching the game” has changed.  And, those that embrace it will be the ones who can most benefit.


Maloney Interested In Other
Leagues’ Social Media Policies

SOCIAL STUDIES: USA TODAY’s Kevin Allen reports social media use by NHL players “became a talking point at the GMs meeting because some have had concerns with either inappropriate remarks or giving away team secrets.” lists 51 NHL players with Twitter accounts, and Canucks GM Mike Gillis “has an account, too.” Coyotes GM Don Maloney: “We don’t want to discourage personalities.” But he added that the GMs “discussed having a leaguewide policy at some point” (USA TODAY, 11/10).’s LeBrun noted Maloney “led a discussion regarding players’ participation on Twitter and Facebook.” Maloney: “This was more a discussion on how do we get ahead of it? … There (are) certain lines that you can’t cross. It’s more just for us to talk about it. Did other teams have issues with it? We went to the NFL and what kind of policy did they have.” Maloney’s “concern is also when it’s appropriate for players to tweet.” Maloney: “Last thing you want to see is him sitting in the penalty box tweeting about the three lefts he just threw.” LeBrun noted the “consensus among the GMs moving forward is some form of guidelines, whether it’s at the team level or league-wide, should be looked at,” though the NHLPA “will want to have a say in that.” Capitals GM George McPhee: “Should we have a league-wide policy? Should we have a policy with clubs?” (, 11/9). Sabres GM Darcy Regier: “The thoughts on social media are that we don’t know enough about it. … Apparently, I have a number of Twitter accounts, none of them my own” (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/10).

NHL Interactive Facebook App

Posted: November 9, 2010 in Facebook, NHL, Social Media
This Week’s Issue
NHL launching interactive Facebook app
Staff writer
Published November 08, 2010 : Page 09

One week after passing the 1 million follower mark on Facebook, the NHL is launching its first interactive application for members of the social network. The application, called the BlackBerry All-Access Pregame, allows users to watch video segments from’s popular All-Access broadband show and also lets fans rank NHL teams based on performance.

The application is sponsored by BlackBerry as part of a cross-channel digital deal with the league, which declined to list a value for the partnership.

“ has been living particularly well on Facebook. Our followers are our über-fans; they really break the mold,” said Perry Cooper, senior vice president of the NHL’s digital and direct marketing. “We knew that we have to have an [application] that was video-centric and that allowed our fans to voice their opinions through polling.”

The new app comes after six months of rapid
growth on Facebook for the league, helped
by the launch of a “Like” button on

The new application comes after six months of rapid growth on Facebook for the league, which launched its Facebook page in July 2009. Early traffic on the league’s Facebook page was slow, and by November 2009 the NHL had gained only 194,000 followers. But continuous promotion of the page — combined with the April 21 launch of a “Like” button on — contributed to an explosion of followers through the spring and summer. According to the league, Facebook is now the No. 1 referral website for, other than search engine websites such as Yahoo! and Google. And according to metrics released by the NHL, Facebook users who linked to consumed content in a greater capacity than other visitors. When compared to direct visitors in monthly user metrics, Facebook users scored higher in average visits (7 to 3), video starts (12.1 to 5.8), articles read (4.8 to 1.5) and total minutes per visit (41.4 to 12.5).

Cooper said Facebook users helped increase’s unique-visitor count for the month of October by 30 percent over last year’s number for the opening month of the season.

Justin Osofsky, director of media partnerships at Facebook, said the NHL’s new application is the tip of the iceberg for the league’s potential with the social network. The NBA leads the major leagues in social networking through Facebook, with more than 5 million followers. The NFL recently broke the 2 million mark.

“Sports leagues have used the connection to give special promotions to their followers and to bring the conversation about sports closer,” Osofsky said. “I live in San Francisco, and the experience I had [through Facebook for the World Series, with the MLB Giants] is close to being in the ballpark.”

Typical NHL Facebook posts ask fans to agree or disagree with statements about team or player performance, or to comment on predictions for the outcome of a game. The network broadcasts these posts to friends of each person who posts a comment.

Cooper said the league has experimented with direct promotions through the website, giving merchandise discounts through’s store. For now, Cooper said the league will continue to use its Facebook site predominantly to generate traffic on and for creating future partnerships for applications. Sources close to the league said the NHL is negotiating high-five-figure amounts for partnerships for future Facebook applications.

“We’ve done a lot in a short time. We weren’t organized well enough to realize the opportunity with Facebook before now,” Cooper said. “We had elements of this connectivity before, but we knew we had to seize upon this opportunity now.”