“The jealous are possessed by a mad Devil…”

Well, I have a little social media envy.

The New Jersey Devils just launched Mission Control which, as a social media/hockey nut, is the “office” I thought only existed in my wildest fantasies.

Surprisingly, “the stuff Melissa’s dreams are made of” is not how Mission Control is described. Rather, the Devils refer to mission control as:

A Digital Command Center designed to activate and further extend the franchise’s online brand presence. Located inside Prudential Center (@PruCenter), the command center will be fueled by fans using Twitter, Facebook and other online channels hosted by the franchise and opening its digital outlets to bloggers and message board users. (full press release here)

A group of 25 (lucky) social media savvy fans called the Devils Army Generals and team social communications consultant Jim Delaney (@activate, one of my personal favorite tweeters) helped develop the idea for the space, which boasts 15 individual screens to monitor the online conversation surrounding the Devils and Prudential Center brands.

I’m a little hazy on how this room and the Army Generals will work together, but I’m eager to see the results. What I can say is that I am glad the Devils have truly embraced social media by involving their fans. Far too many teams have insisted on using social media to “broadcast” versus engage, and there is nothing social about that.

As much as I might pine for a social media command center, I must accept that something like this wouldn’t work for our minor league baseball team. However, there are certain elements from the Devils social media strategy that could apply to a minor league franchise like the one I work for:

  • Encouraging and promoting fans who thoughtfully blog (shout out to the New York Islanders Blog Box).
  • Launching a concourse station which includes computers for fans to update Facebook and Twitter statuses and a photo booth to share an instant game photo with friends.
    For us, this likely can’t happen in the next year or two. We can adapt this strategy by having a concourse table where we can explain to fans how to interact with and follow our team during the game through their smart phones.
  • Get fans involved with crowd sourcing. Even something as simple as a contest to design the next “Burger of the Home Stand” gives fans a larger stake in the team. From personal observation, fans who feel involved with a team are more likely to become advocates of the team, come to games more often, and convince their friends (both offline and on) to attend a game.

It’s incredible how social communications keep on evolving, and there is no place more exciting for these advances to occur than in the arena of sports.

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