Top 10 Most Successful NHL Teams on Twitter During the Lockout
@LAKings Twitter handle accomplished something unprecedented. Between April 12, 2012 and June 14, 2012, the handle gained 87,358 new followers (a 224% increase). Riding the team’s playoff success, the handle’s combination of wit, trash talk, and fan engagement caused the Twitter account to explode in popularity. But what happened three months later when the NHL went into its third lockout in two decades? Between September 15th, 2012 and January 6th, 2013, NHL teams had to generate content for their fans when previously there was no such thing as a Twitter feed to worry about. With no game updates, injury reports, or post-game interviews, would teams suffer extreme losses from a fan base made bitter by the lock out? Not so much. NHL teams earned a total of 170,633 retweets and gained a net combined 375,133 new followers, enough to grow these brands by 9.42%. During a time when fans were so angry at the NHL, how did the league manage to gain so many new followers? Below are the top 10 NHL teams based on followers gained and a little insight as to what helped acquire them.
10) Oilers (13,863 New Followers)From a city that loves hockey and has been pining at the thought of a new championship for years, it comes as no surprise that this already die-hard fan base eats up Edmonton’s strictly-hockey Twitter feed. From 1,369 tweets, the Oilers were able to pull 14,019 retweets – 3rd most during the lockout. The majority of the handle’s top posts stem from the Junior World Championship, as well as plenty of updates on Edmonton’s AHL team, the Oklahoma City Barons. Other top posts include three happy birthday messges and more Ryan Nugent-Hopkins updates than fingers on hands.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is named captain of Canada’s National Junior Team. Well done, @rnh_93! — Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) December 14, 2012
9) Rangers (16,867 New Followers)Another winning franchise, both online as well as on the ice, also received respectable retweet numbers, dialing in at 7,986. This handle in particular seems to be of a more by-the-books approach. As opposed to the Oilers, the Rangers prefer to offer users plenty of history lessons as well as support many different initiatives and charity events, specifically Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. Of New York’s top 10 tweets, only three are about actual hockey being played.
Wishing a very happy birthday to #NYR Alum and Stanley Cup Champion Mike Richter!! instagr.am/p/P4dgzIvdE4/ — New York Rangers (@NYRangers) September 22, 2012
8) Flyers (17,478 New Followers)Philadelphia earns two points for efficiency scoring 10,207 retweets from just 347 tweets during the lockout. Twenty-two of which were able to bring in over 100 retweets (ranking second-best in teams with 100+ retweeted tweets). That being said, eight of those twenty-two tweets were about NHL announcements of the cancellation of games or the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Beyond this, tweets were standard fare: franchise-related birthdays, AHL-related player announcements, and a tweet about Justin Bieber.
25 years ago today, Ron Hextall became the 1st NHL goalie to score a goal by shooting the puck into the net. WATCH IT: bit.ly/VpWU31 — Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) December 8, 2012
7) Blackhawks (19,181 New Followers)It’s no surprise that Chicago, one of the “Original Six” teams in the NHL would have a large number of Twitter followers. That being said, this is the only handle of the Top 10 to be paired with one of the lowest numbers of total retweets – coming in at only 1,007 retweets. This could due to the fact that the team had the second-least number of tweets sent out among all teams (59), but it could also be because the content wasn’t all that spectacular. Of the team’s top ten tweets, seven pertained to its AHL affiliate.
Congrats to Eddie Olczyk, who will enter the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame today! We’re looking back at his career today: bit.ly/OC9n5s — Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) October 15, 2012
6) Canadiens (20,413 New Followers)The second of the Original Six in the Top 10, Montreal was similar to Chicago in that it received below-average numbers of retweets (3,225 from 551 tweets). This could be due to similar run-of-the mill tweeting by the handle (which had no tweet receive over 100 retweets). Tweets included a Happy New Year tweet, birthday messages, AHL-related tweets, a friendly Movember wager with Vancouver and another Justin Bieber tweet.
We’re proud to stand alongside @glaad and @youcanplayteam in going purple for #spiritday.Stand up against bullying! — Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) October 19, 2012
5) Canucks (20,709 New Followers)Despite gaining over 20,000 new fans, Vancouver was actually one of the teams to receive the least percentage growth over the lockout. That being said, the handle has the second-most followers of any NHL team. Vancouver’s tweets rang to a different tune, with the majority of its top tweets stemming from NHL lockout/CBA announcements, holiday greetings, and Pavel Bure’s Hockey Hall of Fame entry. In fact, 86 of Vancouver’s 1,255 tweets include Bure’s name. Most interesting however, is Vancouver’s top tweet in response to Montreal’s Movember wager:
BOOM. We’re in. RT @canadiensmtl: Movember time! How bout a friendly wager @vancanucks? Us vs you: losing mascot poses with winner’s jersey? — Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) November 1, 2012
4) Penguins (20,780 New Followers)Pittsburgh is one of the more interesting teams in the Top 10. While the team gained 13,803 retweets from just 414 tweets and scored a large number of followers, it saw some of the worst percentage growth of NHL handles. This particular handle was able to use quotes from its main star and captain to gather its most retweeted tweets on the day of the lockout – a move that isn’t seen by any other NHL team. Beyond this, coverage of the USA during the Junior World Championship, ticket announcements, and NHL-related announcements flooded their most popular tweets.
“I am really happy that a deal was reached and we’re all excited to get back to playing hockey.” #Pens captain Sidney Crosby — Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 6, 2013
3) Maple Leafs (20,918 New Followers)With 2,165, Toronto wins the award for most tweets during the lockout (if there was such a thing) – enough to push its retweet count to just over 14,000. Like Philadelphia, the team was also able to receive twenty-two tweets worthy of 100+ retweets. A few of these tweets revolved around Mats Sundin’s induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame and Toronto’s CFL team.
Argoooooooos!!! Big congrats to the @torontoargos on the Grey Cup victory! Great for Toronto! #GC100 #100GC — Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) November 26, 2012
2) Red Wings (21,879 New Followers)Detroit appeared to be the team with the most engaging content, as it had 25 tweets that received 100+ retweets, just three more than Philadelphia and Toronto. But digging deeper, this engagement stems from a Farmers Insurance sponsored fan vote of the best Detroit Red Wings Alum of all-time. This vote counted for 35 of the total 670 tweets as well as 2,606 retweets of the total 11,176. Memories of Budd Lynch (an announcer and Hall of Famer for the Red Wings), Steve Yzerman, & Nick Lidstrom also filled in top content for Detroit, as well as updates of the Great Lakes Invitational (which takes place in Detroit).
Legendary Red Wings PA Announcer Budd Lynch has passed away at the age of 95. Budd Lynch: Forever a Red Wing video.redwings.nhl.com/videocenter/co… — Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) October 9, 2012
1) Bruins (24,043 New Followers)Boston is the champion of follower gains during the lockout, growing by 10.41% to 254,979 followers and averaging 21.5 retweets per tweet. @NHLBruins’ tweets offered great content with over half including a picture or link (266 tweets to be exact). The majority of excitement generated from the handle came from Milan Lucic’s contract extension, Veteran’s Day appreciation, McKayla Maroney, and the TD Garden’s ability to feed 700 people from homeless shelters on Thanksgiving.
The Bruins have signed forward Milan Lucic to a three-year contract extension through the 2015-16 season.^BB bbru.in/lucic0915 — Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) September 15, 2012