SBD/March 21, 2011/Media

Devils Using Social Media Initiative To Gather, Spread Information About Team

Devils utilizing 25 fans as part of Mission Control project
The Devils "have begun a social media project they call Mission Control" in which "three or four fans among a group of 25 volunteers, in roughly two-hour shifts, monitor social media sites and hockey-related Web sites for news and other information related to the Devils, then pass the items along through Twitter and Facebook," according to Dave Caldwell of the N.Y. TIMES. The "Devils Army," with fans "appointed as generals, was born in February," and its Mission Control uses "converted storage space in the Prudential Center offices." After "collecting information from the Web, the generals share it on Facebook (Devils Army Generals) and Twitter (Devils-Generals)." Devils New Media Marketing Manager Anthony Oliva said of the generals, "They're the voice of the fan inside the organization now." Devils Owner Jeff Vanderbeek said that he "was not aware of anything quite like it in professional sports." Caldwell noted the "idea was to create more enthusiasm among a fan base that Vanderbeek considers relatively young and more likely to use social media to obtain, and exchange, information about the team." Much of the "original content has been happy chatter about the team and its playoff prospects, but the Twitter and Facebook pages can be an online customer-service desk." Caldwell: "Families, for example, said they wanted more gluten-free concessions, and the team responded." Vanderbeek reasoned that if fans "enjoy the experience of going to a game ... attendance will rise, Prudential Center will become noisier and the Devils may play better" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/19).
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