UT NEWS & Updates

NHL & Social Media Integration v3

Posted by Team UT on October 8th, 2014   Interactive, Social Media, Sports Marketing

The new season drops the puck tonight, and we take another audit of the NHL to see how the teams are promoting and integrating social media on their websites.

Just like our previous reports (#1 – April 26, 2012; #2 – Sept. 20, 2013) 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 October 07-08, 2014.


Team Key Findings

Total # of SM Channels Integrated by year:

  • Oct. 08, 2014 – 169
  • Sept. 20, 2013 – 166
  • Apr. 26, 2012 – 107

Team Activation by Channel:


  • Nashville due to their SM content page being broke, did not promote any channel besides Twitter on their site.
  • Three new additions to Vine: Minnesota, Montreal, and Tampa Bay.
  • Snapchat debuts with three teams: Montreal, Tampa Bay, and Washington.
  • Montreal added the most new activations with 3 (YouTube, Snapchat, Vine).
  • Two new additions for Linkedin with Columbus and Philadelphia, while Washington dropped it.
  • Calgary and Detroit only two teams to not promote Instagram (Nashville broken SM page).

Teams Promoting the Most Activations:

  • 9 – New Jersey, NY Islanders, Tampa Bay
  • 8 – Montreal, Washington
  • 7 – Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, St. Louis, Toronto

Social Media Navigation:
Teams that included a social media related naming scheme in their main navigation include:

  • Flames – Connected
  • Oilers – Interactive
  • Kings – Social
  • Blues – Social
  • Canucks – Social
  • Bruins – Bruins DEN
  • Blue Jackets – Social
  • Lightning – Social

Social as Mainstream Content
A few less teams than the NFL (14) integrating social content into other sections besides a normally hidden social media sub-page:

  • Video > Flames on YouTube
  • Kings Vision > Kings Vision on YouTube
  • Multimedia > @NHLBruins on Instagram
  • Habs TV > YouTube
  • News > Lightning on Tumblr
  • Team > Official Player Twitter Handles
  • Oilers TV > Oilers on YouTube


  • Added a Stay Connected callout in the right column that stays throughout the site with icons for: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Foursquare, G+, and Vine.
  • G+ & FB are duplicate content posts.
  • Interesting that they only promote Pinterest on their FB channel.

Team Notes

Anaheim Ducks – SM Removal
No longer list their Social Media Central page in the Fan Zone section sub-links, hopefully means it’s being overhauled.

Arizona Coyotes – SportsStream
Coyotes are only team using SportsStream, perhaps with good reason. A few issues: Twitter feed shows tweets that a couple days old; Rinkside Instagram feed shows images from 9 months ago; Season Stats and News modules are blank. Perhaps they need an off-season option so the page isn’t half empty.

Boston Bruins – Instagram Sponsorship
Bruins include a sponsored Instagram feed module on the home page, and also on their main DEN page:

Boston Bruins – Infographics
Updated during playoffs, we’ll have to see if they continue to update it now that the new season starts.

Buffalo Sabres – RebelMouse
With the Blues dropping it, only team to use RebelMouse is the Sabres.

Calgary Flames – Flames Social
Page talks about ‘later this summer’ you’ll be able to access Twitter & Facebook posts – time for an update.

Carolina Hurricanes – SM Content Page
Header and directory display is the same as the Sabres, but not a bad job. A simple redesign could make this into a much deeper social content section instead of a single page, but better than most NHL teams offer fans.

Chicago Blackhawks – Emjois
First pro team we’ve seen promote branded emjois.

Colorado Avalanche – Infographics
Nice job keeping this up to date.

Columbus Blue Jackets – #CBJBWW Viewing Parties
Nice engagement idea by the Blue Jackets with viewing parties at BBW hosted by the Jackets social media team. Should add a hashtag gallery on the site to give the fans some more exposure and also the event itself to peak other fans interest in going to one.

Columbus Blue Jackets – #CBJ Social Station
Unfortunately the Jackets ‘Social Station’ link goes to a dead page.

Detroit Red Wings – HockeyTown Hub
Wings are asking fans to tag selfies, or create a video to show them what “It’s More Than Hockey” means to them. The hub page includes a feed of posts that are out of order and start from this past July. The iframe and double column also provide a very limited user viewing experience. They also provide a chance to be in an ad if you include a specific hashtag, would be nice to see which ones made it.

Florida Panthers – Social Media Sponsorship
Panthers integrate Ford as their SM sponsor in the universal header, Multimedia section drop-down, and main Social Media page – well done. Props for also including a Tweet module from the sponsor – South Florida Ford. Couple design changes could make this a more detailed social content section vs. one page.

LA Kings – Toyota Social Hub
Hasn’t been updated since the Stanley Cup – should change the name to Relive the Cup, or Playoff Hub. Really like the sponsor integration, but page views on this should be zero since shortly after the end of the playoffs – missed opportunity.

Montreal Canadiens – Snapchat & Vine
Canadiens are one of three teams that promote Snapchat on their site. Props to the team on securing the same username across 8 different social platforms.  Appears to be an issue with the icon links on their social content page, they only link out when you specifically use the right click new window option, and they don’t include a link at all for Vine.

Nashville Predators – Social Media Central Disaster
Page is promo for Wayin and has no social integration. Not sure how long this page has been like this, but the entirety of Nashville’s social integration is a Twitter Feed on the home page. Just a horrible example of social integration – the worst of any site we’ve ever reviewed. This  is why you include universal icon links, so when your vendor page messes up you’re not left empty handed.

New York Islanders – Flickr
Islanders continue to be the only team to promote a Flickr channel, but it’s time they remove the link or start updating their account again, because it’s been inactive for years.

San Jose Sharks – Universal Icons
The Sharks include five social icon links (albeit very faint) on their splash page, but on their main site only include bottom footer icons for FB and Twitter. Amazingly five teams actually don’t include any universal icons on their site – SM101.

Washington Capitals – Snapchat Promotion
The only team to include Snapchat in the universal icons – clicking it goes to their SM Directory page which lists Snapchat first.

Caps also promote Linkedin in their Social Networks sub-link (Business), but they’ve deleted it from their Directory page. Also of interest is the team’s site-wide poll related to social media:

Winnipeg Jets – Instagram Promotion
Surprised more teams don’t graphically promote their social channels via the right column add space – good example from the Jets, and also for reference one by the ATP:

Hurricanes, Lightning, Caps – Section Presenting Sponsors
Not SM-related, but important enough to share to the #smsports crowd – interesting to see:

  • The Hurricanes section sponsors: Tickets – Ticketmaster; Teams, News, Multimedia, Social – OhioHealth; Schedule – AAA; Stats – Ohio Lottery.
  • The Lightning section sponsors: Schedule – Sagicor Life; Stats – Florida Medical Center; News – Tenco Energy; Photo Galleries – Colorgraphyx.
  • The Capitals section sponsors: Team – Monumental Network; Schedule – Chili’s; Stats – Monumental Network; News – Lexus; Photos – Comcast SportsNet.

Site Sponsorship
Not SM-related, but congrats to these teams for integrating overall site sponsorship:
http://flames.nhl.com/ (Official Website Presented by)
http://blackhawks.nhl.com/index.html  (Official Site Presented by)
http://stars.nhl.com/  (Presented By)
http://oilers.nhl.com/  (Powered By)
http://predators.nhl.com/ (just logo)
http://canucks.nhl.com (Powered By)
http://mapleleafs.nhl.com/index.html (Powered By)
http://bruins.nhl.com/ (just logo)
http://hurricanes.nhl.com/index.html (Presented By)
http://bluejackets.nhl.com/index.html (Presented By)
http://redwings.nhl.com/index.html (The Official Site of the 11-Time Champions presented by) Well done!

http://canadiens.nhl.com/index.html  (Presented By)
http://devils.nhl.com/ (just logo)
http://senators.nhl.com/index.html (Powered By)
http://penguins.nhl.com/ (Delivered By) Best sponsor tie with FedEx

http://lightning.nhl.com/index.html (Presented By)
http://capitals.nhl.com/index.html (just logo)



*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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