The spread of the Coronavirus put hockey season on hold, but the league is now gearing up to restart right where they left off—the playoffs. As anticipation for the Stanley Cup Finals’ qualifying and playoff games mounts, the NHL has inked a deal with Twitter that gives fans a livestreamed view of some of the games.
Beginning August 1 fans can go to the NHL’s Twitter page and vote on which games they’d like a “live look-in” of, which will give viewers four total minutes of unique game footage live streamed through the platform. The NHL will pick two game nights per week, with fans then able to vote on which matchup they would like to see on Twitter. Through the partnership deal, Twitter will stream the first two minutes of the first and third periods of the qualifying games, and the first two minutes and last two minutes of the same periods during the Stanley Cup Final. By limiting the game viewing, the NHL could spur fan interaction on Twitter as well as drive viewers to the television broadcasted games on NBC Sports and the NHL Network, according to a Gartner report.
In addition to the “live look-ins”, Twitter will also be home to Stanley Cup Playoff video highlights and a continually updated list of top tweets from hockey players and NHL brand partners. Twitter is also bringing back its #StanleyCup emoji after popular demand, as well as introducing logo emojis for each team competing in the postseason. The hockey emojis allow the NHL to engage ardent fans on Twitter beyond a traditional campaign hashtag and could help the league gauge how successful the feature is at sparking hockey conversation on the platform. Working with Twitter also gives the NHL a chance to boost fan interactions despite having no in-person audience at the games. By continuing to market digital connections, the NHL can connect with its homebound audience and provide fans a unique viewing opportunity they otherwise may not have had.
Hockey fans have been anxiously awaiting the NHL’s return since the season was interrupted in March. As the league’s reappearance gets underway, offering fans a unique game look on Twitter could help the NHL re-engage viewers, grow its social media presence, and begin a new brand partnership that could last for many seasons to come.