(Team Infographics is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)
When sports fans think of traditional hockey markets, Dallas, Texas doesn’t usually top the list. That hasn’t stopped the Dallas Stars from building a sizable and passionate following within the American Airlines Center as well as on social media. Stars’ Executive Vice President and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Matt Bowman credits this growth to the organization’s quality digital team as well as executive leadership that understands the importance of a strong digital presence.
“We are a team that prides ourselves on being really efficient with our advertising dollars and we try to do as much in-house as we can,” Bowman says. “A real strength of ours is our talent in video content and in social media. We want to create content that the hockey fan is going to like…making sure that we’re covering free agency, putting out highlight reels, doing stuff in the offseason in particular to keep our core fans engaged.”
As Bowman mentions, a big part of the Stars’ strategy has been making content that casual hockey fans can relate to. This showed through in their Tyler Seguin contract extension piece, which was a play off of the Super Mario Brothers video game. That video generated over a million views on Twitter.
“It was maybe the most engaging contract extension announcement of all time. That was all born out of a prior piece we did that was called Super Seguin Brothers last summer. It got a ton of reaction and a lot of positive engagement. It was another really cool engaging piece with an appeal that extended beyond the core hockey fan.”
Video has been a major component of how the Stars have been slowly turning Texans into hockey fans. Bowman and the rest of team leadership place a large amount of trust in their content creators to create entertaining pieces that may have a hockey lean but are more attractive to a broader audience.
“We know that our video content creators are a huge strength of ours,” Bowman states. “We basically turned them loose and say, you guys, go create stuff. Create things that you find entertaining and at the end of it, we’ll make sure that everybody knows it’s the Dallas Stars’ production.”
The Stars also supplement their video content through a partnership with Team Infographics (TI). Dallas’ leadership team approached TI after being impressed with the content created for Duke basketball.
“The content Team Infographics creates with us is really slick, it’s really clean,” Bowman says, “and it really adds a level of professionalism and quality to our work, which we already are very proud of.”
Executive leadership that provides a digital team with the freedom and resources to create a unique and entertaining digital presence is something that Bowman does not take for granted.
“I think what our executive leadership recognizes is that the world of media is changing and that traditional TV and radio, while still really powerful tools to promote our team, are giving way to social media,” he says. “Social media is the way that we’re connecting with a broader segment of the general population. Millennials and Gen Z watch Instagram like I watch cable television and we need to be nimble enough to adapt. I think what our executive leadership has really given us the tools to do is hire the right kind of content creators and hire the right kind of social media managers that really understand this world.”
The Stars’ social presence has been primarily Twitter-heavy in recent years with solid results. This is where the team has the largest following of their social accounts. The digital team does have plans to expand more into Instagram, however, as Bowman sees that platform as the best opportunity to attract new potential fans.
Bowman once again credits the team’s success on Twitter to the talent on the digital team paired with good decision making by the team’s leadership.
“Our executive leadership allows our team to take risks,” Bowman states. “We are not scared to be a little edgy. Our team also is nimble enough to recognize trends in the broader social media world and be able to add our own spin on that. That helps bring attention to us that we otherwise wouldn’t get.”
After an exciting run in the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs, expect the Dallas Stars’ social team to continue to take risks and grow along with the number of hockey fans in the Lone Star State.