Inside the Minnesota Wild: Digital and Interactive Group

Many media members try to get inside an organization by giving you exclusive interviews with players, coaches and front office personnel. Well, that's all fine and dandy, but without the business-side of a professional sports franchise, there wouldn't be any way for that team to even take the ice.

We at Hockey Wilderness think it's important to get to know the people who make professional sports possible. The business behind the team.

I figured since we're all online, what better way to kick this off than with the folks who work to get the Wild online. I had a phone conversation with Dewayne Hankins and Michael Brinkman, part of the Wild's Digital and Interactive Group on the position of the Wild in the online world and social media.

1. With the NHL becoming more and more involved in the online world, how are you seeing that expansion working for the Wild?

Because the NHL fan is more tech-savvy and affluent, we have been heavily involved online (especially over the last 13 months).  We have definitely followed the NHL from the league level as we attempt to provide great online content for our fans. Both Twitter and Facebook have helped give an insider’s viewpoint and we hope that this enhances the personalization of our organization.  For Twitter followers, we are up 40% since the start of Training Camp.  Facebook has also quickly increased as we are now over 40,000 fans.

2. I like the addition of the in-game commentary on wild.com. With teams like the LA Kings bringing bloggers in-house to add to dwindling traditional news coverage, do you see this as a potential growth area?

Glen Andresen has joined our Digital & Interactive Group to help provide inside information and add additional content for wild.com. Andresen’s job is not to compete with our current beat writers but to help complement our media coverage with more in-depth features and analysis.

3. Teams in non-traditional hockey markets are reaching out to non-traditional news outlets for coverage. How do you see those relationships developing for the Wild?

We have not fully defined this area as of yet.  We understand the importance of this topic, but we truly want to be fair to everyone as this process plays out.  We have a great relationship with our current news outlets and at this point we continue to focus on expanding that relationship.  Over time, we will know more about other non-traditional opportunities.

4. I love the social media outreach upon which the NHL has piggybacked. How have you seen the social media campaigns for the Wild working? Any reason we haven’t had a Tweetup like so many other NHL franchises have had?

Social media allows our fans to interact, communicate and have their voices heard. It is a great tool to gauge the temperature of the State of Hockey. We have internally discussed having a Tweetup and this is more than likely something we will do in the near future.

5.      Have you seen an impact on tickets or merchandise due to the growth in the Wild’s online presence?

We continue to develop analytics and fine-tune our monetary results. Wild.com is definitely the ticket and merchandise source for many of our fans. Social Media is a great ways for us to reach out to people, but we haven’t fully monetized our social media development. To this point, social media has been a great way to efficiently get current news stories and alerts to our fans.  We want this material to be relevant and authentic.  Email and text alerts are also a large part of how we currently communicate with our fan base.

Thanks to Michael and Dewayne for their candor. Look for more news on the Wild and social media as we look to work with the Wild on a Tweetup for a road-game viewing party this winter!

For the next Inside the Minnesota Wild, from whom would you like to hear? Media Relations? Photography? Zamboni Navigation? Marketing & Sales?

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