February 9, 2010

Washington Capitals - New Media Trailblazers

Capitals continue to reach out to fans through social networking
The Capitals have more than 95,000 fans on Facebook and more than 11,000 followers on Twitter. Players with accounts include defenseman Mike Green, who Twitters as GreenLife52 and has more than 6,000 followers, and forward Eric Fehr, who only recently began using the social networking Web site at the suggestion of the Capitals.

"The team kind of talked about maybe getting some guys on there," said Fehr, who has nearly 2,000 followers under the handle EricFehr16. "I'm always open to different ideas, so I thought I would try it out, and I like it so far."
It's been really hard for me to avoid being inundated with Washington Capitals media of all forms. Especially since they're the closest NHL team to me. They know how to work the social media system, and they're successful at it. It's rather impressive.

I probably have far more Caps bloggers on my following list on Twitter than anyone else. Not that I want to - it's just that there are so many of them! And for good reason. The Washington Capitals owner has a blog himself that he posts to regularly.
"Where we should be advantaged is our customers are younger, more educated, Web-savvy than the NFL audience, which is older, less wired. So let's pick a fight we have a shot at winning, and if our consumers are younger, and they love video games, and they have shorter attention spans, and they love interactivity, and they love social media, and everyone blogs, and everyone's on Facebook, why wouldn't we put ourselves right in the middle of that?" [Caps owner Ted Leonsis
Leonsis has been at the forefront of advancing his team into what he calls "the new world," starting with launching a Web site for the Capitals soon after his purchase and becoming the first NHL owner to make available his direct e-mail address.
Not to mention that there are a ton of hockey bloggers for other teams that live in DC. Mostly it's because there are a lot of people who work for the federal government. And a lot of military as well. People from all over move here.

The Caps bloggers are lucky. Hopefully the rest of the NHL will be so forward thinking. And some are better than others. But they'll all end up following in the steps of the Caps, since they seem to know what they're doing. For the most part, anyways.
The Capitals' growth in popularity on the Web has also triggered a spike in credential requests from bloggers. Washington's Web site lists more than 30 blogs relating to the team, the NHL or both, and while some cover the team as a hobby rather than a profession, media relations director Nate Ewell wrote in an e-mail, "Our issues with bloggers have been very, very rare."
They were willing to grant me media credentials, but as a matter of policy deferred to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning turned me down stating that they're trying the blogging thing on a case-by-case basis locally in Tampa only - which does me a lot of good. But that's for the time being, anyways. We'll see what new ownership has to say about how things go here in the future.

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