Whether you like the new look of the Carolina Hurricanes or not, it can not be denied that the way they rolled it out was nothing short of genius.
For nearly two weeks, message boards were abuzz, hanging on every daily preview the team released on Instagram, the popular photo sharing site. Caniacs discussed and drew up mocks of what they thought the new sweaters would look like, even engulfing other teams’ fans in the debate at times.
When the time came for the big reveal, the team hosted its own webcast and panel Q&A, and their hashtag #NewStorm even trended briefly in the United States.
— Carolina Hurricanes (@NHLCanes) June 4, 2013
By comparison, the Dallas Stars’ jersey overhaul was leaked two weeks ago and made no special arrangements for their official announcement on the same day as the Canes’.
This had been just another step in the advancement of social media for the franchise. CanesRewards.com was born mid-way through the 2013 season, offering everything from signed merchandise to tickets if you accrue enough points through things such as liking Facebook posts and retweeting the official Hurricanes Twitter account, which grew its followers by about 15% since the site’s late-winter inception.
Even FourSquare has become popular, with visitors to PNC Arena occasionally being offered specials for checking-in during games.
Though social media is not a new concept, it is expanding exponentially. Many business are employing their own “social media expert” in charge of establishing their brand online.
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Carolina is not at the forefront of this movement in sports or even in the NHL, but they are jumping on board quickly, offering experiences and avenues that others haven’t yet explored. Through CanesRewards.com they’ve held contests that featured Zamboni rides and even exclusive access to the new uniform reveal.
Social media creates a new form interaction between the team and fans, something both sides can appreciate. Many NHL players have jumped on board the Twitter train, and the Hurricanes are no exception with an extensive list of their own. Though several of the team’s bigger names have elected not to join Twitter, numerous employees throughout the organization have, including the Hurricanes‘ general manager Jim Rutherford.
As the world enters the social media age, a strong presence over various platforms almost becomes a necessity. It’s free advertising without the intrusive nature of pop-ups or the annoyance of commercials.
But more importantly, it’s a way to reach millions in an instant without going through traditional media. Teams have recently taken to announcing roster moves and breaking their own trades, effectively combating multitudes of false information that tends to float around these days.
The Hurricanes are just scratching the surface of their social media potential. Through CanesRewards.com they’ve achieved an excellent start and it will be exciting to see what the future holds for the franchise.