I personally don’t watch hockey. Not because I don’t like it, rather, because I am a big basketball fan and both the College and NBA seasons conflict with watching NHL games consistently. However, I can appreciate the large growth in interest it has earned here in the U.S. We all know hockey is much more important in Canada where many of the players come from, but the NHL has clearly gained momentum in the U.S. recently. Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner, said, “ [that] the success of the NHL is due to the leagues embrace of digital and social media.” I feel like hockey is the perfect sport to benefit from social media.
The NHL has to compete with many other professional leagues that are more popular and therefore get the best and most network broadcasting agreements. So they would clearly revel in the expanded promotion that social network gives them. They can build more interest by engaging directly with fans as well as reach new fans with access to more content than ever before!
The NHL is also very aware of the success that they have been having with their social media goals. One way they have been showing this awareness is by understanding that their players need to understand the leagues overall objectives. According to this article, “The league has partnered with the NHL Players’ Association to incorporate a type of social media 101 with new rookie players and long standing vets.” Unlike a few other American sports, the NHL is being proactive and trying to make sure both the league and its players, are on the same page.
With this awareness and strategy, I believe the NHL will continue to rise in the ranks of popularity in American sports. I would not be shocked to see the NHL as one of the three major sports in this country within the next five years. Perhaps I should start tuning-in, I may be missing out.