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. Continue reading

Reflections from the Basement Party: The Sabres and the Webster Block

With only a few days remaining until the City of Buffalo awards the winning bid to those who put in an RFP for the Webster Block, it seems as if the Buffalo Sabres are hoping for another off ice victory.

While Ted Black didn’t show his hand during yesterday’s New Media Summit, he certainly indicated that the Sabres do have a vested interest in the development of the area right outside their front door. After briefly discussing Terry Pegula’s $120,000 gift to complete the lawns at Canalside, Black pointed to the organization’s interest in potentially being involved in developing the Webster Block.

There have been plenty of rumors floating around the internet about what the Sabres may be doing down near the arena, but this certainly backs up what had originally been reported by the News and Business First. With the RFP slated to be announced on the 15th, I expect the Sabres will be holding their breath in hopes of having the winning bid.

Personally, I would imagine that Pegula’s donation was done as a first step of the Sabres’ full interest in that part of the neighborhood. I would imagine that the Sabres have to be the front runner for this RFP simply because I would imagine their proposed project would offer the most return for the neighborhood and city as a whole.

One other thing that was brought up by Black and the Sabres is their involvement in potentially earning the right to host NHL events like the Draft or an All-Star Game. He made a comment that not only pointed to their interest and influence (whether direct or indirect) in the area around the arena.

When addressing the Sabres’ interest in these special events, Black made an indirect reference to some comments made by Emerson Etem and European reporters who made disparaging comments about the city and the lack of activities. Black said that the team and city want to make sure they’re putting their best foot forward and leaving visitors with the best opinion of Buffalo possible. He then said that having a large construction pit right outside the arena would not be ideal, especially if an All-Star Game is on the way.

Based on the conversation with Black, the next possible All-Star Game the Sabres will make a run at will be in 2015, giving three more years for Canalside, the Webster Block and the Donovan Building to be built out and develop. From where I’m sitting Black and Pegula are fully aware of how difficult it is to get anything done by the water and they don’t want the same embarrassment that was suffered during the World Junior Tournament.

While the forum in which Black’s statements were given may not get the most publicity, they should certainly carry a lot of weight to those who make decisions in Buffalo. Continue reading