SBJ/February 20-26, 2017/Franchises

New York Rangers revamp digital strategy, boost content

The New York Rangers perennially rank as one of the most followed NHL teams on social and digital platforms, but they also ranked in the bottom third of the league in published content last year.

Going into this season, the team revamped its digital strategy, resulting in a 45 percent increase in content produced and vaulting it into the top five teams in fan growth.

“One of our big areas of focus is growing our fan base, especially in the millennial set,” said Jordan Solomon, executive vice president of MSG Sports. “We know it’s critical to engage them on social, and one of the best ways we’ve found is to do it with exclusive content, much of it through video.”

That has led MSG to send a full digital team on the road with the Rangers for the first time to capture content. It hired Amanda Borges from Jacksonville sports radio to serve as the team reporter and video anchor, and she is accompanied by a videographer.

“The conventional wisdom in the past may have been fewer, better pieces — now it’s ‘more is better,’ but without sacrificing any of that quality,” Solomon said. The organization is spending three to four times more on digital content strategy than it has in the past, though Solomon declined to provide specific figures.

Across Facebook, the team saw more than 15 million views over the first half of the season, compared with roughly 5.5 million last season. Much of that growth is a result of a host of new, original off-ice features, such as team building activities during preseason, and highlighting what players have been doing on off days, such as shopping in Manhattan and riding a sea-plane in Vancouver.

The Rangers also have seen a boost from the NHL and BAMTech partnership. Solomon said improvements in the team app and website have made it easier to work with digital content.

That has led to additional opportunities to work with marketing partners. The team created two new digital features with partners Diply and New York Lottery, and presenting partner Chase has supported all the team’s 90th anniversary content. Chase and Northwell Health have worked with the team on Snapchat filters during select games.

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