Reflections from the Basement Party: Sabres are a major player in social media

There is no point in offering a full recap of last night’s blog summit. There were 16 participants there and I’m certain that the other 15 in attendance are fully capable of offering a full and unique recap of the proceedings.

I want to take a moment to go over something that struck me as truly unique. Not only did the Sabres again open their arms to a community of people who are generally looked at as nerds who reside in their mother’s basement, but they added in yet another wrinkle than they had previously.

Last night’s summit was not only another opportunity for those outside of the traditional media to receive an audience with the team president, it was another step forward for those in the community. Five blogs will be given locker room access for the 2012-13 NHL season due to their continued presence in the press box last season and what would appear to be an appreciation, from the Sabres, as to the quality of the work they did. For the record, those blogs will be 3rd Man In, Buffalo Wins, Die By The Blade, Queen City Sports and Sabres Hockey Central.

What really struck me as special was the fact that the Sabres used a brand-new forum to make a major announcement regarding the team for the upcoming year. The summit was an event designed to bring a number of Sabres blogs together in a forum for discussion on the team. While it was certainly formatted just like a press conference, it was also a forum which has its root firmly planted in social media. What the Sabres did, was use a social media based group of people to launch an announcement for the upcoming season.

I cannot think of a time that a team in the NHL, or any major sport, has taken a new release to social media before providing the information to any other news outlet. This certainly wasn’t an exclusive for the blogging community, so don’t mistake that part, but this was certainly a step towards a new frontier for the Sabres.

Obviously this was a great way to tie in their new social media site, the ICE Network, and that may have been additional motivation for the way in which this news was announced. Regardless, the Sabres are definitely taking a step towards a new way of doing business.

One question that came up yesterday was the way the Sabres hope to shape their approach to social media. While it seemed as if there was some misinterpretation regarding where they may be headed, the Sabres identified a family friendly, intelligent, informational approach as the attitude they hope to portray on Twitter, Facebook and their website. Of note, the Sabres shouldn’t be trying to mimic the Kings or Blue Jackets – well, maybe the Kings – they should be trying to create their own unique identity, and I think they’re well on their way.

I’m hoping to see the Sabres ICE Network grow into a must-stop website for those online. As of now it looks to be a centralize source for Sabres social network sites and will likely provide some unique features that you may not see on the main Sabres site. I think it could be interesting to see the blogging community tied into the ICE Network, but that is something that probably will come down the line.

The bottom line is that the Sabres took a major step forward with regards to their social media presence. As an organization that was already quick to get involved with Facebook, Twitter, their relationship with blogs and other resources; the Sabres have shown they plan on continuing their growth in the newest sector of reaching fans.

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