The National Hockey League plans to unveil an official Facebook page late Monday to provide fans with information on scores and updates for games and players.
The page will support virtual gifts, videos and more. The decision to have the site built and hosted by a third-party company removes any limitations that building dynamic content in the site on Facebook might present, according to Michael DiLorenzo, NHL's director of social media marketing and strategy. "The idea is to make it more fun to be an NHL fan," he says.
Making it more fun means providing access to virtual gifts, such as a team's jersey and discounts on merchandise. If one person gives another an Anaheim Ducks jersey, both receive a discount coupon code.
The viral concept allows the virtual gift to appear on both walls. "You can also give friends a two-minute penalty," DiLorenzo says. "If my friend blows me off for dinner some night, I can send him a two-minute penalty."
Friends also can give each other a "face wash," which happens sometimes in hockey when players come together and act if they are going to fight. One might put their glove in the other's face. DiLorenzo says virtual gifts on the site are consistent with how fans might "talk trash."
The NHL Facebook page will support sophisticated analysis on the back end. The analytics monitors clicks and time spent on the page, as well as when videos begin and end and how long they run.
NHL fans can also sign up for the newsletter or click to more information about the organization's mobile offerings, such as the exclusive videos served up through Verizon in the United States.
Down the left panel, the Facebook page will list game times and places, and provide easy access to NHL GameCenter Live, the organization's live streaming package for those interested in more information about a specific game.
The NHL has stepped up efforts to launch a consistent message across NHL.com and other media properties, as well as Facebook to Twitter. This year, the NHL combined forces to tweet under the NHL brand, rather than employees' names, to foster unity and send a consistent message.
Since launching @NHL in September and running several promotions, the group's Twitter site has gained nearly 78,000 followers as of Friday. And since all 30 NHL teams were scheduled to play during the weekend, DiLorenzo planned to run a Twitter marketing campaign asking followers to pick the winner of all 15 games.