UT NEWS & Updates

NHL & Social Media Integration – v2

Posted by Team UT on September 20th, 2013   Social Media, Sports Marketing

With pre-season games now underway we take another audit of the NHL to see how the league and teams are promoting and integrating social media on their websites.





Just like our previous report posted last year on April 26, 2012, the focus of this audit is strictly on the league and team websites: how they promote and integrate social media on the website. All findings are based on research of team sites on September 18-19, 2013.


  • Since our last review they actually have less integration. The only integration are the Footer universal icons – Follow On: Twitter, Facebook
  • Missed opportunity, nothing else you can say about it.


Team Key Findings

Total # of SM Channels Integrated:
When we last looked at the NHL Team sites (April 23-2, 2012) they had 107, and now they’ve moved up to 166.


Team Activation by Channel:

  • Twitter – 30
  • Facebook – 30
  • Instagram – 26
  • Google+ – 20
  • Pinterest – 20
  • YouTube – 19
  • Foursquare – 12
  • Tumblr – 4
  • Linkedin – 3
  • Flickr – 1
  • Vine – 1


  • Just like the NFL teams, Instagram had the biggest integration jump going from 4 to 26. The four teams (Calgary, Colorado, Detroit, Minnesota ) that don’t promote it on their websites do have active accounts = mistake.
  • Last time Meebo was used by four teams (Anaheim, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Washington), but had been removed on all four sites this time around.
  • Linkedin is back with mixed results: Anaheim and Islanders added it, while Buffalo, LA and Philadelphia dropped it. Washington was the only holdover to keep it.
  • The Devils were the only team to include promotion of Vine with a call-to-action and icon on their social media directory page.
  • Tumblr continues to not be very popular with NHL teams with just four promoting accounts – Boston, New Jersey, Tampa Bay, and Washington.

Team Channel Breakdown:

 *Reminder this is website integration
**Red 1 = added channels, Red * = removed channels


Team with Biggest Integration Jump:
The Devils went from 2 to 9 – adding Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, Foursquare, Tumblr, and Vine.


Teams Promoting the Most Activations:
9 – New Jersey, NY Islanders
8 – Washingon
7 – Anaheim, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Toronto


Best Practices

Universal Icons
Only 21 of the 30 teams included universal icons. No idea why teams feel it’s better to not promote activated channels.

Only a few teams integrated a Hashtag on their website:


Latest craze in college sports has been the use of game infographics, yet only four teams in the NHL have caught on:


Social Media Hub:
Last time we reviewed the sites two teams were at the forefront – the Bruins with DEN, and the Maple Leafs with “Leafs Nation Everywhere” so we were looking forward to see if they had been enhanced over the past year. Unfortunately there were no real updates to either hub.  Lots of teams added pages that included directories and feeds, and below are few samples from around the league of what teams are doing:


Buffalo Sabres & St. Louis Blues – RebelMouse
The Sabres and Blues were the only teams to integrate a RebelMouse social board into their websites. Still not a fan of the puzzle format on social feeds, but like that both teams are willing to experiment with new initiatives.


Anaheim Ducks – Facebook Cover Photos
Like that the Ducks include this feature on their website, but they need to add more than just three options, and their “Social Media Central” page makes no mention of them. Should definitely be included on that page as complimentary social content.


Anaheim Ducks – Social Media Hub
Unfortunately going to point this out as a ‘what not to do’ example. The Ducks Hub or “Social Media Central” page needs a lot of work on the display. It’s just completely disorganized and doesn’t leave a good impression at all for the user. Most of the content is there it just needs to be displayed better (or setup to work in the case of the Facebook module).


Carolina Hurricanes – Social Rewards Program
We like the benefits of these types of programs, but we don’t like how they are so templated (ie most are virtually identical with changed out logos and color schemes). Our advice to the teams is to push the vendors to provide a more customized/unique look.


Chicago Blackhawks – Twitter Discover Page
The Blackhawks are the first team we’ve seen use the ‘Twitter Discover’ page team listing to showcase their players on Twitter. Probably better to just list them within the team website.


Columbus Blue Jackets – Social Station:
The Blue Jackets profile their on-site Social Station with this page, and include a form for fans to sign-up for a chance to attend the game in the Station. They included a bunch of testimonials, but no images of the Station – would really like to see what it includes or even the view fans have from it.


Florida Panthers – Social Media powered by Ford
Congrats to the Panthers on being the first team in the NHL or NFL that we’ve seen properly include a sponsor with their social media integration.  For more details check out this related post.


New Jersey – Vine Promotion
Congrats to the Devils for being the only NHL team to promote the Vine channel within their social media directory.


NY Islanders – Tumblr Promotion
Interesting that the Islanders include a Tumblr icon in their universal list, but it doesn’t go to an account setup by the team, but rather links to Islander tagged posts.


Phoenix Coyotes – SportsStream Feed
The Coyotes were the only team to integrate a SportsStream Feed/Template.


Tampa Bay Lightning – Icon Ordering
Interesting to note the ordering of the Bolts’ SM icons: Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, G+. Most teams go with the more popular Twitter or Facebook first, but nice job by the Bolts changing it up and putting channels that may be less familiar to fans upfront in the order.


Vancouver – “Social” Main Nav Section
The Canucks put an emphasis on social by including it in their main navigation – surprised more teams don’t do this.


Winnipeg Jets – Instagram feed
A couple teams included Instagram feeds on their sites, but they were small horizontal feeds with 4-5 thumbnail images. The Jets provide a bigger showcase of their account having 15 posts at once.


*For inquiries on how UnCommon Thinking can help improve your team’s social media integration strategy please contact us at info@uncommonthinking.com

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