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August 30, 2008

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Bryan Person

I hadn't heard about the NY Islanders Blog Blox -- what a brilliant move, and good to see it's coming back for a second season.

Did the team tell you what kind of personnel access it granted to the bloggers? Were they able to go into the locker rooms with the other members of the press, for example?

I hope other teams will follow suit with this. Like the Boston Red Sox?

IslesJosh

Hey, it's Josh Bernstein with the Islanders here.
The Blog Box is back for a 2nd season (and many more.) The bloggers get all access.

They are in a press box that has a better view than the traditional press box, they get lockerroom access to all of our post game interviews, and to our Head Coach's press conference.

We arranged for 2 members of the Blog Box to get press row access at the NHL Draft in Ottawa this past June, and gave them one on one interviews with our team executives, scouts, and even our draft picks during and after the draft.

They break stories on their blogs, get exclusive phone interview time with players, and every other level of access that the "mainstream" media is accustomed to getting.

It's been a ton of fun and a great success.

Josh

David Meerman Scott

Josh, this is amazing. I think that all organizations can learn from your pioneering efforts.

Thanks for sharing! David

Bryan Person, LiveWorld

Josh, good to hear just how supportive you and the Islanders have been of the bloggers. A couple of follow-up questions:

1) Have you talked about your model with other NHL teams? And if so, do you get the sense that some of them might adopt a similar program for the upcoming season?

2) Have you considered speaking about the program at conferences or unconferences? It would make an excellent case study.

--Bryan Person
LiveWorld

Leo Wurschmidt

This is a great contrast to what I just wrote about concerning NBA team execs staying away from athletes who blog. It is very refreshing to hear that the Islanders are willing to embrace blogging and the power it holds.

One question I do have for those who will do the blogging. How does this affect their conflict of interest in blogging? For example, David discloses that he spent time with the Islanders execs in this article. However, the bloggers who attend the games will have received free tickets, locker room access, etc. Or does it really matter in this case since they are going to write about the team regardless?

Josh - I am excited to see how this works out for your team! Thanks for being willing to take a chance.

John Flynn

It is great to see a sports team moving forward in this market place. When I ran athletenow.com in 2000 the teams wanted no part of bloggers.

This opens a big door for the team to take advantage of many different options.

Great work David!

JRJ

I think this is great. I wish more organization (in and out of sports) wouldn't be so afraid of social media and start embracing it!

Kelli

It is great to see that people are realizing the importance of customers, or in this case fans. It solidifies an already strong brand loyalty. I’m a big advocate of sports organizations getting involved with the fans that support them and this is a great way to do that. As a sports fan I would love to have the opportunity to get the inside scoop about my favorite team from the team itself. This is a great idea and I hope more sports organizations (and other companies in general) start doing realizing the potential of social media.

Gwen Wright

This is a super example and definitely should be used as a case study. What amazes me is why more teams are not embracing this - it is a win/win for them and the fans.

Brendela

This is great, but let's give credit where credit is due. The Washington Capitals have been welcoming bloggers into their press box and giving them full access since before the 2006 season. Maybe the Islanders are on the leading edge of this, but they are certainly not the first team to embrace the blogosphere.

David Meerman Scott

Thanks Brendela, I did not know about the Captials. My error. Thanks for letting my readers know.

David

David Libby

Reading this, I have to say that social media is only the tool, and this kind of experience marketing has been done for years - just not on the web.

Pick up a copy of the "Experience Economy." It's a must read for any creative marketer.

Enjoy!

David

Marc Girolimetti

Great topic David. I remember when the Islanders first did this and the professional side of me said "how refreshing", because as much as reporters want to believe they are the ones who connect to fans it's actually fans who connect with fans and blogs have been the great tool that changed the access. A neat thing that they should do moving forward is to utilize tools like Twitter that can give us access inside the organization. I, fortunately, worked closely with the Boston Red Sox for a couple of years and to see how they operated was completely different that what I thought. Something like Twitter could allow inside access to the interesting inner workings of the organization. "Working with Coke on fan sponsorship section". "Thinking of offering perogies in concessions". Neat things like that which can generate immediate feedback to the operation. Josh, if you are still following this conversation take a look at @Zappos on Twitter. CEO Tony Hsieh personally manages that account and provides a lot of interesting information. A couple of weeks ago I was able to provide feedback, which he alerted via Twitter, on a new site design. The next day he personally sent me a note to discuss it. I've been a longtime customer of theirs, but things like that keep me from looking elsewhere.

On a side note, the Bruins fan in me has been praying for years for the Islanders to be great again, because I remember when they were THE team. I had the tabletop hockey game to prove it. Good luck and thanks again David for putting a great example of social media out there.

Marc Girolimetti

Leon

I love the idea for the blog box. However, as a long time Islander fan can we please get a coach who can be the coach for like 10 years?

Can we put together a team?

Why would you give anyone a 15 year deal? Granted the current management team had nothing to do with that deal but in the land of salary cap, please learn this word... RESTRUCTURE!

chris

Listen up fellas,
This sunday they're showing Bobby Nystrom's overtime goal from the 80's which got the islanders their first stanley cup. Its on the MSG network this sunday at 4pm. It should have some more epic moments but nothings better then our islanders.

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