Tag: social media

Mission Control

Devils win “socially engaged brand” award by group that enjoys corporate buzz terms


When it comes to NHL social media, New Jersey is a budding Mark Zuckerberg.

Hyperbolic? Maybe. But today, the club announced it received a pair of Bulldog Awards — honoring the best in media relations campaigns — for Mission Control, a digital communications initiative located inside the Prudential Center.

More, from the Devils’ website:

A pro sports first, the Mission Control project features a Digital Command Center located inside the Prudential Center (@PruCenter), designed to more effectively manage, monitor, and measure the franchise’s online brand engagements. 

The center is fueled in part by the Devils Generals (@DevilsGenerals), a team of two-dozen socially-savvy fans who utilize Twitter, Facebook and other online channels hosted by the team/arena to extend the organization’s reach.

“So, can I watch this on the YouTubes?”
— My dad.

As mentioned, Mission Control captured two Bulldog Gold Awards: One in the Digitally/Socially Engaged Brand of the Year, and one for Best Use of Digital/Social in an Arts/Culture/Entertainment Campaign.

(And a bronze award for most aggressive backslash usage.)

“We fully embrace social media and recognize its importance in promoting our brand in a crowded entertainment marketplace,” said Richard Krezwick, the Predisdent of Devils Arena Entertainment.  “Being honored for our ‘Mission Control’ initiative by Bulldog Reporter is a great testament to the hard work our staff put into this program to make it the success it’s become.”

If you’re wondering what the Bulldog Report is all about, click here and enjoy the piece about setting quantifiable PR objectives. I know I will.

In closing, a quick word about Mission Control. The Devils’ ability to leverage social media could create a paradigm shift, but only if they capitalize on this innovative vertical market. That could result in positive momentum, especially if the Devils can synergize their brand functionality with evolving landscapes. The practical application of this growth industry is dynamic!

Also, user-centric.

Kirill Kabanov accepts your Facebook invitation to play pick-up hockey

Kirill Kabanov

New York Islanders prospect Kirill Kabanov is a player who has come with a lot of controversy since being drafted by the team in 2010. With a bit of a bad reputation but a world of talent, he was viewed as a player whose reputation and attitude could make him more of a headache for an organization than a helper.

Funny thing about Kabanov, however, is that it turns out he’s a pretty great kid as some Islanders fans got to find out last month courtesy of the most popular method of communication between people these days: Facebook.

New York Times Slap Shot’s Chris Botta tells the story about how Isles fan Shawn Shea asked his Facebook “friend” Kabanov to come on out to play some pick-up hockey with his friends in Massapequa and Kabanov, on a lark, took him up on it to create one hell of a story. It also goes to show that sometimes stories about a bad reputation can be changed by doing one extremely cool thing.

“One of the young players who showed up brought an extra pair of skates and Kirill put them on,” Shea said. “Supposedly it was his first time on rollerblades. His skill was amazing. He spent the whole night setting his teammates up. He got there at 8 and stayed until 10:30, when the people at the park told us it was long past time to shut out the lights.”

D’Andrea, the goalie, said: “I’ll really remember two generous things he did. Kirill passed up every chance to take a slap shot on me, possibly saving me a trip to the hospital. And when the game ended, he skated over to his goaltender, said she was the M.V.P. and gave her his hockey stick.”

The goalie was Elyssa Kaplan, a teenage Islanders fan from Dix Hills who read about the game of shinny on Facebook and asked her father for a ride to Massapequa.

“What a thrill it was for Elyssa,” Shea said. “What a night it was for all of us.”

What an incredible story to have and what a great, and very random thing to do this was for Kabanov. This story evokes the images of seeing Willie Mays playing stickball in the streets of Harlem with neighborhood kids back in the 1950s. Instead of stickball in the streets, it’s just a fun game of pick-up hockey on rollerblades.

Kabanov has a world of talent and while his reputation is a bit checkered, a story like this instantly makes him the kind of guy you want to root for to make it to the NHL. Seeing any pro athletes doing something like this is rare and to do so thank to a social media platform makes it even more impressive.

While many players won’t have anything to do with Facebook or Twitter to interact with fans, full marks for Kabanov for not just using it to keep in touch with fans but to interact with them in a very real and incredible way.

Ottawa Senators let fans pick their goal song, opens door to be trolled by rivals

Chad Kroeger, Nickelback

Seeing teams take advantage of social media to do fun things with their fans is great to see. More fan interaction is a good thing. The Ottawa Senators are trying to do something fun with their fans by letting anyone who “likes” their Facebook page get the chance to cast a vote for what they want to have the Senators use as the team’s goal song this season.

The Sens’ campaign was even done in a most honorable and open way. According to the site, here’s how they decided on picking the final five songs for fans to pick from to be their celebration song.

After receiving nearly 500 suggestions, we’ve narrowed it down to five. All five of these songs include a great chorus that fans can chant along to, and were among the top suggestions from fans. To choose the final goal song, we’ll take your votes into account, along with how the Sens Army reacts to the songs during the pre-season games.

Those five songs were mostly decent when it comes to the choices. Songs from The Black Keys (“Howling For You”), The White Stripes (a remix of “Seven Nation Army”), and Locksley (“The Whip”) were among the five finalists. The other two songs? Nickelback’s “Burn It To The Ground” and Britney Spears’ “Til The World Ends.” Uh oh.

Among those songs, The Black Keys’ tune is already being used by the Phoenix Coyotes as their goal song. Britney Spears and hockey? Perhaps the Sens are hoping to lure her to Ottawa to fill Carrie Underwood’s old seat at games.  Nickelback’s song used to be the Islanders’ goal song and is still used as the main theme on WWE’s Monday Night Raw. Nickelback is also pretty much universally reviled on the Internet.

In theory, it sounds like a great thing that opens things up to the fans to make a Senators goal at home a reason for everyone to celebrate with a song that will become iconic for the team and rally the fans into a frenzy. Of course, when it comes to the Internet things don’t always go according to plan and the Senators’ rivals from Toronto are stuffing the ballot box in favor of Nickelback.

It’s Internet trolling at its finest. Of course, Nickelback is a Canadian band and they’ve sold millions of albums worldwide so they’ve got that going for them, but hockey fans and Nickelback don’t seem to blend too well. Nickelback was invited to play the opening night kickoff event in Winnipeg which led Jets fans to petition the NHL to not send the band to their big party. Ouch.

While Leafs fans are doing a hilarious thing to rile up their rivals and make their home games more miserable, the joke might be on them as the Senators appear to be a team that’s going to struggle scoring goals at all this year. It’s a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” thing for the Senators as their team is going to have a hard time scoring and goals will be at a premium but when they do, it appears they’ll be stuck listening to Nickelback unless more Senators fans swarm their Facebook page and take the power back.

This whole thing doesn’t take into account how this is a huge missed opportunity for fans to get Britney Spears to have a team’s goal song. Consider us as a part of Team Britney as long as we’re in the business of giving teams an embarrassing goal song.

Don’t expect any more game day tweets from your favorite NHL star

Paul Bissonnette, Jared Boll

It’s a day you knew was coming for the NHL. With so many players now taking to Twitter and letting loose with a stream of silly, fun, or informative tweets there was going to come a day where the NHL would have to implement a social media policy to make sure no one got a bit too out of control with what they were saying.

While anyone who’s taking part in Twitter is already, likely, familiar with the likes of Paul Bissonnette, Michael Grabner, and Derek Roy on Twitter, it was Flyers young tough guy Zac Rinaldo (found here on Twitter… For now at least) that caught the ire of the Flyers organization for tweeting that he wouldn’t be playing in Thursday’s rookie game. Giving away that sort of information can help give other teams a better way to prepare to play against your team.

With all that in mind, the NHL is going to institute a set of guidelines for teams and players to follow when it comes to Twitter, Facebook, or anything else that comes up in the future that involves social media.

The National Hockey League has joined other major sports leagues by drafting a social media policy for the upcoming 2011-12 season.

Highlights of the policy include a social media blackout window before, during and after games, as well as during practice and any other team obligations. Any use of social media applications such as Twitter or Facebook in violation of these rules may be subject to an undisclosed punishment.

Most of the stuff that goes on with players on Twitter is either silly fun or guys just busting each others chops. Other times it’s guys giving a look at what life is like working in the NHL. Some players have a better handle on things than others and can be informative about the things going on in the game later on. We can recall last season when Bissonnette would give his thoughts and insight into the fight(s) he had during the game, even fessing up when he was over-matched by his opponent.

That said, what some have gotten down perfect others are still learning about and the NHL setting guidelines for the players more than makes sense. The NHL is the last of the big four leagues to set a social media policy league-wide. The NBA, NFL, and MLB have all had something in place for a couple years now. The NHL getting caught up with the times, as much as fans might hate it, makes all the sense in the world.

Update (12:27 p.m.): The NHL released their statement on the new policy and it’s as straightforward as it can be. Here are the highlights:

The policy, the NHL Social Media Policy for League and Club Personnel, governs both players and hockey operations staff and is designed to promote the value of social media as a tool for communication with fans. It also highlights issues surrounding social media, as well as limits the use of social media by players and hockey operations staff on game days.

As per the new policy, there is a total “blackout period” on the use of social media on game days, which for players begins two hours prior to opening face-off and is not lifted until players have finished their post-game media obligations. The suggested blackout period for hockey operations staff is even longer, beginning at 11 a.m. on game days.

Also, the new policy makes it clear that players and club personnel will be be held responsible for their social communications in the same manner in which they are held responsible for other forms of public communications. As a result, discipline is possible for any social media statements that have or are designed to have an effect prejudicial to the welfare of the League, the game of hockey or a member club, or are publicly critical of officiating staff.

It makes sense to us and while some fans think it’s the NHL’s way of censoring players, it’s more of a way for the league to make sure that the game is focused on completely by everyone. It’s not as if a lot of players were abusing this as it was, if anyone has at all anyhow. Since the NHL is its own company of sorts, making sure everyone plays by the same rules on game days makes a lot of sense. This isn’t free speech being limited so much as it is making sure that game days don’t turn into a circus led by the players on the Internet.

Bill Daly on Islanders watch party: ‘We do not approve of the use, based on what we know’

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders

By now, you’re probably aware – and depending on your allegiances or viewpoints on celebrating violence, maybe irate – about the New York Islanders’ plan to host a watch party for their infamous February 11 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. (If you’re not, click here for the details on that situation, with the viewing party planned for August 19.)

While I agree that event is in poor taste, it strikes me as the equivalent to people who are obsessed with the “Saw” franchise. It’s not really something I have any interest in, but if that’s their idea of a good time, then have at it. There’s no denying that night’s existence despite the fact that most of the hockey world would like to bury it alongside any memories of Bobby Orr playing for the Chicago Blackhawks, so if the Islanders and their fans want to bask in its ugly glow, then they should be allowed to do it.

There’s no denying that it isn’t a great idea for the image of the team or the NHL, though, so it should be no surprise that the league isn’t thrilled about the idea. USA Today’s Kevin Allen passed along word that the NHL is “looking into it,” although it’s difficult to grasp what that entails.

“We do not approve of the use, based on what we know,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said.

It’s an awkward situation for the NHL to be in, because it’s unclear what they could do – or most importantly, how far they would want to go – to make the whole thing go away. To little surprise, Penguins GM Ray Shero didn’t seem very keen on the idea, either.

On if he has a problem with the Islanders planning a viewing party for the Feb. 11 game:
The Islanders have a good, young hockey team and that’s what I think we should be talking about. They should have a good year there for themselves. What they’re doing off the ice – if they want to revisit (that game), that’s fine. But that’s not a game we’re going to revisit. We’re going to put that behind us. We’re not proud of it. It’s time to move on.

So the NHL and the Penguins disapprove of the Islanders’ viewing party, along with a substantial chunk of the hockey populace. Again, I personally view the Islanders as “that friend” who has a tendency to say all the wrong things and generally look like a fool in this case; it’s not the recommended course of action, but there might not be many better options than just letting them have their misguided fun.

We’ll keep an eye out for any updates on this situation – especially if the viewing party gets canceled – as its Friday launch rapidly approaches.