Hockey – The new battleground for social media.

Hockey is top of mind for many people these days. Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins are providing hockey and NHL fans with a great display of technique, passion and skill.

Then there is the “battle” taking place in Arizona. Balsillie versus Bettman.

Whether you or I believe or agree with what Mr. Blackberry is doing with his campaign is not the point of this post.

What Jim and his team do understand is that the power of social media tools are helping them to make a concerted effort to bring a hockey team to the Hamilton, ON residents. And it’s not just the makeitseven Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Here is a list (without links because you can find most if not all if you enter in your web browser of choice 🙂 ) of the “tools” he is employing:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Email updates to supporters (just sign up and become one!) on each and every legal and non-legal moves and initiatives
  • the shop where fans can buy merchandise
  • the HaveAVoice blog and community where fans can interact and share with each other
  • Photo and video galleries
  • Corporate partners (which are listed on the site) have also put out radio and tv commercials (at least in the Toronto area) which ask their customers to support the makeitseven campaign

This may sound like much ado about nothing. Here’s the thing though: Mr. Balsillie is a billionaire who does not have to garner public support in his bid to buy a hockey team. He just has to pay his lawyers enough and buy the team. He has the financial resources.

Why is this campaign a study in social media then? Because of what Mr. Balsillie has learned from running Research in Motion: In short, it is the public – the Audience – who is responsible for either the success or failure of any business, team or campaign.

This story and fight are far from over. I believe this is just the beginning of both this campaign and how future corporate sports battles will be fought.

What are your thoughts? What do you think of the makeitseven initiative?