Panthers’ Perfect Twitter Response

One of the sports topics I’ve become more aware of through Twitter is team attendance. Over the past few years, one team that has had its attendance numbers scrutinized is the Florida Panthers. 

Last night:

It can be a sore subject for home fans…

…and open-season for media and other cities’ fans. 

Yahoo Sports’ Greg Wyshinski attempted to explain the reasoning behind the low attendance. 

Wyshinski’s key point was how the Panthers no longer give away tickets (free) out to, well, just anyone.  Teams have adopted this practice through the years for various reasons. Some do it as a connection to the community. Others do it in partnership with sponsors or at live remotes. Even contests. But, just freely giving away? That’s like giving money away. 


Needless to say, the Panthers were the butt of jokes on Twitter. And questions. Question for Panthers beat writers:


Twitter has a way of spreading a story, true or not, like wildfire. While most won’t face a “crisis” on the Baltimore Ravens’-Ray Rice level, teams have to be prepared for any and all situations. The Florida Panthers’ Twitter response? The only way they could respond:

Simple. Positive. Focused on the future. 



With the NHL season just underway, it’s a story that is not likely to go away soon. 

Yeah, not anytime soon: 

21  florida  quebec   Twitter Search


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Tuesday Ten: Russ Cohen

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 What is Tuesday Ten?

Tuesday Ten is a quick 10-minute chat with leaders and up-and-comers in the world of sports. On Tuesday, May 13, I was  honored to have sportswriter, author and radio host Russ Cohen joining me on the show. 

  • Russ Cohen is an accomplished writer for and radio host for the Sportsology Radio Network and covers multiple sports including writing specifically about the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers. He has numerous articles published on and other team websites as well as Slam, and Some of his articles have appeared in Canadian Sports Collector, Goalie News, New England Hockey Journal, The Hockey News, Beckett Hockey, Blueshirt Bulletin, NHL Publications and he has a monthly column in Center Ice Magazine that is distributed to every amateur hockey rink in Pennsylvania. Russ has been asked to be a guest on several radio shows as a respected and valued expert on sports and has extensive AM radio experience including Hockey Prospect Radio on NHL Network Radio for the last 8 years, plus TSN 1050 and Sportstalkny WLIE 540 AM. He also contributes to the Cardboard Connection radio show every week including road shows. His articles have been syndicated in newspapers across the country in Metro and the Bucks County Courier Times. His first book 100 Ranger Greats was released in 2009 anStrike Three” a baseball book was released in April 2010. His third book “The Winter Classic: the NHL’s Savior” was released in November 2012. “Baseball’s Best Rookies” was released October 2013 on Motivational Press. 100 Things New York Rangers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die; Raider/Cohen (Triumph Books; scheduled for 2014) is my next book.

The Show

After connecting with Russ on Twitter, it was enjoyable to connect with him face-to-face via Google+ Hangout. Hockey, baseball, social media and more was on the agenda tonight. And, we squeezed it all into 10 minutes. Here are the highlights:

  • 1:16 – Introduction to Russ Cohen
  • 2:23 – Keys to the success of this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs
  • 3:08 – Russ discusses the genesis of his book “The Winter Classic – The NHL’s Savior”
  • 4:41 – Switching gears: Learning about Mike Trout and other MLB rookies in “Baseball’s Best Rookies”
  • 5:24 – A few of Russ’ favorite teams
  • 6:36 – Utilizing social media to help build Sportsology and connect with fans

And yes, my #PredictionsDoomedToFail jinx was passed on to Russ tonight as he made his prediction for Game 7 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers (8:45 mark). Sorry, Russ.


Coming Up

Join me next Tuesday, May 20, at the regular time (5pm PT/8pm ET) when I’ll be joined by Social Media Strategist, Joe Scott. Joe works with some high profile clients, including the Arizona Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald.

To stay in the loop on all of the latest Tuesday Ten shows, SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel here

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Google+ Hangouts are only going to grow in 2014. Learn from the Master, Ronnie Bincer, and his Hangout Mastery group – join through my affiliate link.

Tuesday Ten: James Royer, Caity Kauffman

Tuesday Ten 4-15


Running the social and digital media teams for an NHL franchise requires teamwork, planning, a willingness to listen and try something new. Good thing the Tampa Bay Lightning (my adopted team) have two of the best in the business in James Royer and Caity Kauffman.

James and Caity joined me on the latest Tuesday Ten Show. As the Lightning get ready to for Game 1 in their opening round series tomorrow night against the Montreal Canadiens, we discussed a bit of what goes on in utilizing social/digital media for the playoffs. There’s a bit more to their strategy not just during the playoffs, but throughout the season that, in my opinion, requires them to be on their game with no days off.  

Here are some of the highlights:

  • 0:48Intro to James and Caity
  • 2:07“Social Captain” at Lightning games
  • 4:21Planning strategy for the NHL season and Stanley Cup playoffs
  • 7:13 Using the “POST” method to decide which social platforms to use
  • 9:36 Freezing of the Instagram account (#BoltsFreeze), including a stalker story


My thanks to James Royer and Caity Kauffman for joining me on the show tonight. AND…for providing the first giveaway on the Tuesday Ten show. Here’s how you can connect with the Tampa Bay Lightning:

Make sure you’re following them on Instagram for access NOW before the #BoltsFreeze contest starts in the morning:

Follow James and Caity on social media:

Follow James on Twitter:
Connect on Google+:

Follow Caity on Twitter:
Connect on Google+:


TUNE IN next week, April 22, when I’ll be joined by Max Goldstein, Community Partnerships Manager at Google. We’ll be discussing sports in the Google+ space, particularly the Hangouts feature. 

** SUBSCRIBE ** to my YouTube channel to stay in the loop on all of the latest Tuesday Ten shows here.


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Google+ Hangouts are only going to grow in 2014. Learn from the Master, Ronnie Bincer, and his Hangout Mastery group – join through my affiliate link.

Sports Photo of the Day

The NHL season is a long one. And with the Olympic break happening soon for the league, there is bound to be monotony, particularly when traveling. Sometimes, you have to break up the mundane travel time with a little fun, right?

And a close-up from P.K. Subban’s Instagram account:

Enjoy it, gentlemen!


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Teammances of the NHL

Now that football is over, time to turn our attention to hockey. However, there isn’t much time to do that now is there? The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia is about to begin with National Hockey League players heading to the games while the NHL takes a break.

We’ll still get our fix of hockey. But, will we still get our fix of teammances?

Teammance? Think the word “romance” between teams. You know, like bro-mance, when a guy has a guy crush on another guy. But, in this case it’s between teams. NHL teams to be specific. 

I first noticed this last year on the Twitter accounts of two of the original six: Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings. I’m sure it had been brewing even before this, but it didn’t use the phrase “teammance” before. Started by the Canadiens

Teammance 2

and continued by the Red Wings:

Mixing in humor, especially at this level, gives life and personality to team accounts. Whether it’s play-by-play, team information or just fun like this, the Red Wings and Canadiens show how to run a Twitter account the right way and give fans what they want.

More on the Canadiens-Red Wings teammance, go to this story on the Canadiens website.



there is another teammance in the NHL that has other team’s fans longing for one of their own. I’m talking none other than the Columbus Blue Jackets and Los Angeles Kings.

Documented last year by Yahoo! Sports’ Greg Wyshinski in this April story, the Kings and Blue Jackets take the “bromance/teammance” to a whole new level:




The Kings have been known for their, dare I say, social media prowess. Flirting with the edge, the Kings bring a humor and fun that many fans would like to see from their own team.


Not to be outdone by the edgy, flirty humor, the Blue Jackets are not afraid to take a dig every once in awhile at a certain network:

As others have documented, ESPN’s coverage (or alleged lack thereof) of NHL highlights on Sportscenter is a bone of contention for many NHL teams. One only need look at the infamous San Jose Sharks tweet-reply during #Sharknado talk last year:

NHL teams do have a sense of humor don’t they? And manners. The Blue Jackets were sure to thank ESPN last night for their coverage — I wonder if it had anything to do with their Super Bowl day tweet?


So other NHL teams and other leagues take note. You can add some fun and humor to your Twitter accounts, either with fans…or with another team. Spread a little love and romance, err, teammance.

Everybody’s happy! Right, LA Kings?


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2013 SSM Digest

Kobe Bryant and Maria Sharapova.

No, they’re not a new sports power-couple. Bryant and Sharapova were the subjects in my very first SSM Digest back in January. I started the SSM Digest to track the hottest topics in the social media-sports (#SMsports) world. Nobody that I knew of was doing anything of the sort. I set out to catalogue the latest happenings in #SMsports each month.

It all started with Kobe and Maria.

Note: Each month listed below is a hyperlink to that month’s SSM Digest


January 2013

I said back then:

Time will tell if this proves to be a winning strategy for either Sharapova or Bryant.  I am, by no means, not one who focuses solely on Twitter followers. The fact that you can “buy followers” proves that those numbers can be skewed. Add in the fact that there are people who follow others just to “gain followers” (think people with relatively equal numbers of followers and following), numbers can be deceiving. But the way Bryant has used Twitter to engage, proves that he’s well on his way to “getting it”.

That first tweet from Bryant has been retweeted over 50 thousand times. Sharapova’s, 2600+ times. Again, I’m not one to focus just on one’s Twitter follower numbers, but Kobe has 3.9 million followers compared to Maria’s over 700 thousand. Both have only tweeted in the 600 range for number of tweets sent. Sharapova follows 40 people while Kobe at least follows 852.

Safe to say that the Black Mamba gets the edge over Sugarpova.


February 2013

February was a very interesting month for me. I decided to do something that to my knowledge had not been done before. I “watched” the Super Bowl through Twitter. No television. No radio. Just Twitter.

Seriously. As much as Twitter had become embedded in the sports lexicon by early 2013, I figured it could be done. I wanted to see how well I could follow a game just through Twitter. Every play. Every questionable call. Blackout. GIFs. Replays. Varying perspectives. I got it through Twitter alone. My little Twitter experiment can be read here.

I said back then:

I am able to see conversations transpiring across a wide range of mediums. I try to be in tune to all sports on Twitter. It helps me to get a vibe for how people are viewing their sport, or, in the case of a sporting event like the Super Bowl, how they perceive it. Thus, it provided all the insight I needed to know as to how the game played out.

While the Super Bowl was the biggest story, we also had National Signing Day drama,

Danica Patrick leading a lap at Daytona, death of Dr. Jerry Buss, Richard Sherman-Darrelle Revis war of words plus a multitude of other sporting events including college basketball that I could not mention. Most memorable? This terrifying crash at a Nationwide race.


March 2013

Sports had a case of the madness. March Madness, that is.

I said back then:

Many think of madness as simply the NCAA tournament. But it is so much more than that. Teams vying for conference titles down the stretch of the regular season generated some great games like the Michigan-Indiana game on March 10th. Or perhaps it was the surprising #1 ranking for Gonzaga.

Before we get to the madness, a word from Phil

Ha! A Zen language we don’t know about? *Sigh, no.* It was funny at first but it was simply for “promotion”.

March also brought us a posterization (Brandon Knight), Tiger-Vonn coupling, #RandomActsOfOpeningDay, sports reacting to a new Pope and a potential hoops scandal too. But we all know what March was really about this year, right?

DUNK CITY!!!!!!!!!!

Aww, yeah! Dunk City babyyyyy! Florida Gulf Coast took the NCAA tournament by storm with upsets and dunks and just playground style basketball. Not everyone liked their show, but it sure made for a fun Cinderella run.


April 2013

Scandals, the Final Four, Kobe Bryant injury, Jason Collins coming out, NFL draft. All transpired during April. Only one stood out to me:

I said back then:

Social media, particularly Twitter, was the go-to resource for news. This is both a good and bad thing. The vast amount of information provided an exorbitant amount of factual news as well as rumors, instantly. Access to the Boston police scanners on the internet, to a certain extent, made matters worse for law enforcement.

Upon reflection, many tweets and posts showed how people felt about the tragedy and its aftermath. Contrast what transpired in the social media realm with the event itself. We wanted instant knowledge, instant justice. Instant, instant, instant.

But the event itself is not about instant. Pardon the cliché, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s about endurance. It’s about venturing forward when everything within tells you not to.

Marathon. Endurance. Forward.

Viewed over 2.5 million times:


May 2013

Gotta get to the playoffs. That’s what the NBA and NHL did in May. On the ice, do you remember this hit (viewed over 2 million times)?

Off the court, the Oklahoma City Thunder and others came through when their fans needed them most

In David Stern’s court: Seattle-Sacramento. Sacramento-Seattle. Who would get to call the Kings their own?

I said then:

For as much flux as the Kings were in under the Maloof ownership for the last few years, it seemed inevitable that with David Stern as commissioner, the Seattle group led by Chris Hansen had no chance of completing the purchase of the Sacramento franchise.

On the court? Well, close to the court at least.

Sure the games were entertaining. The NBA and its teams stepped up their social media game, led by the Golden State Warriors. Horse racing and Brad Keselowski made news. Super Bowl L too.

Ahh, yes. The biggest worldwide news of all? The pitch:

Do you remember this sports moment from May?


June 2013

I said then:

Did anyone ever tell you that June is the best month of the year?

No? They should have. It truly is. Two world champions crowned. A golf major won. One tennis major completed while another begins. The final collegiate sports championship earned. The last of the triple crown in horse racing run. USA Soccer shining after rocky start to World Cup qualifying. Athlete arrests, auto racing tragedies, my show cancelled, controversial comment/tweets bring firings in college and media, I got another year older and…

Okay, I’m a little biased. June was a month for the ages in sports.





Odin Lloyd's sister's Facebook*




Triumph, tragedy, stupidity and my show cancellation. On second thought, maybe this past June wasn’t the best month after all.


July 2013

I said then:

Dog days of summer in the sports-world. Not much happens in July, right?

Wimbledon, Aaron Hernandez, NBA & NHL & Twitter handle trades, Brad Stevens to the Celtics, Dwight Howard, Marshall Henderson, Manchester United, EA Sports, George Zimmerman verdict, UFC upset, MLB All-Star week, college football Media Days, Metta World Peace, Yasiel Puig, failed drug tests in track & field, British Open, Tiger & Phil, Olympic hockey returns, NFL & HGH testing closer to reality, athletes quit Twitter, PEDs & Biogenesis, Johnny Manziel…

If ever a month proved there is no off switch for sports, July was it. Constant. 24/7/365 – sports news in the social media world rolled on. In the social media realm itself, creative uses for Instagram and Vine were on display

One team even used Instagram for a meet-up (as opposed to “tweet-ups”).

A sign of things to come? MLB leading the way with a live-stream in a tweet during the Home Run Derby

There simply was a bounty of stories in July including Andy Murray ending the drought (my favorite take on it below)


August 2013

Dempsey and Johnny and Chipper..oh my!

In the early days of my Twitter life (I should hashtag that #MyTwitterLife), I wasn’t afraid to let my fandom show. That was before the sports masses jumped on board. In today’s Twitter (#TodaysTwitter), with the volume of people using it for sports, you have to be more careful about showing your fandom. Some may disagree with that, but I believe it is necessary for those in media.

My caveat to that, however, is when one of my teams do something good or positive. BIG caveat is the Seattle Sounders.

It really was an innocent hashtag, #DempseyWatch. Every so often in the Twitterverse, hashtags take on a life of their own. It helps when…

If not hashtags, well, stories too can take on a life of their own. And when your name is Johnny Manziel, the spotlight can amplify every little move you make. 

I said then:

The Manziel saga, because that is what it’s become now, dragged on through the month. In the end, Manziel would be suspended for a half in the Aggies’ home opener against Rice.

He’d go on to make even more news on August 31 with some of his on-field actions during the game.

Every brand has to needs a presence somewhere in the sports-social media world, right? Dempsey and Manziel have theirs. Chipper Jones (Atlanta Braves) has…no, had…wait…has (again) his. (Jones rejoined the Twitterverse on September 9th.)

Sometimes, brands have to go big or go home. In the U.S. Open’s case, they chose the former option.


September 2013

Welcome back, NFL and college football. You made my job curating these SSM Digest much harder with your return.

I said then:

This month, due to the sheer volume of items to track, I’m changing the structure to this month’s digest. Less input from me and more of the stories, images and videos that crossed our timelines in sports-social media. The biggest stories lead us off followed by a few of the images that grabbed my attention, followed by some daily sports-social media news.

I changed the structure of my digest due to “sheer volume”. Football, baseball, soccer, NASCAR, tennis proved quite challenging to track everything. It all begins though, with football.

Despite separate litigation issues hanging over their heads, the NFL and NCAA football came back with a vengeance. Most days/weeks, you could find trending topics on Google or Twitter included something related to those two sports. But, there was one other sport that captured the attention of another type of football fan around the world.

Football has an iconic place in American culture. Two other sports icons were part of September news too.

Okay, this isn’t iconic, but I couldn’t resist adding to my year end post

What’s a year-end post without an “own goal”?

Side note: Check out my “Fun with Topsy Search” post reviewing the first time popular hashtags were used according to Topsy.


October 2013

Get your game face on, October!

We welcomed back hockey and bid adieu to baseball. And, we also said “thanks”. Wait! No we didn’t. We said, “you’re welcome”. Well, U.S. Soccer did:

I said then:

Mexico survived to play another World Cup day thanks to a last-minute flurry by the USA in their 3-2 victory over Panama. The U.S. victory enabled Mexico to solidify that final World Cup qualifying spot. That Mexico needed a U.S. victory to qualify was not lost on fans of both teams, nor the official U.S. Soccer account. Expect to see that tweet on most end-of-the-year Top 10 lists.

With over 83 thousand retweets and 31 thousand favorites, I do expect it to at least be in the Top 10 of Top Tweets for 2013.

One of the top stories in baseball, aside from the Red Sox winning the World Series (and Facebook)

…had to be the Pittsburgh Pirates. Back in the postseason after 21 years (Roberto Clemente’s number), the Pirates, their city and their social media were a joy to watch.

Another team’s social media that is a joy to watch has to be the Golden State Warriors. Their team is embracing the social media outlets they use with passionate innovation (#passionateinnovation). Innovation like this G+ Hangout called #WarriorsLive:

Also innovating this month were the New Orleans Saints becoming the first NFL team with a Snapchat account and the Tampa Bay Lightning freezing their Instagram account (a first).

Innovators in their own right, we lost two football legends in October.


2013 was a professional roller coaster. Starting the year with two jobs and by summer’s end I was jobless. Until November. My new job with Sportsmanias meant less time for writing up my monthly digest. Abandonment was not on my mind. As the year was drawing to a close, I had the idea to create this year-end digest instead. Although I have no links for November and December Digests, I did curate content that helped shape their storylines.


November 2013

Welcome, November. The month where hockey players grow their mustaches and beards to their heart’s content. Movember arrived. No shaving allowed.

Also not allowed? One of the more bizarre stories occurred between two Dolphins players, Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin. 

The story itself was fluid all month-long Even to this day, the situation has still not been resolved. Just another in a long line of off the field stories the NFL didn’t need. Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter summed it up:

As the NFL world changed…constantly, one sports returned to “normalcy” (think six-pack), despite what flows from Donovan McNabb’s mouth.

Not normal? On second though, maybe this is normal…for Alex.

Apologies for not touching on amazing NFL games, college basketball, college football, soccer, #SFBatKid, Veterans Day celebrations, Thanksgiving, WWE, NBA, women in sports, Google Glass, YouTube videos, MLB awards, Twitter and the Phoenix Suns and so on and so forth. Suffice to say November did not disappoint. Especially when you have Minnesota Golden Gophers Head Coach, Jerry Kill, dancing upon his return from his health hiatus. Go Jerry!


December 2013

Coaching changes.

Coaches in trouble.

Free agent signings.

The final BCS Championship game.

World Cup test draw

And…a now-deleted penis tweet (saved via the beauty of Twitter).

Whew! That’s plenty, but December isn’t even done yet. We have the college bowl games, Liga MX final, NFL season wind-down, NBA digging in to their holiday season and am I missing anything?


There is much to reflect upon in social media-sports. 2013 was a huge year. Fans engaged on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, G+ more than ever in social media. Unfortunately, not always in a positive way.

We saw a rise in Infographics and GoPro/Google Glass videos, more specialized apps, creative team promotions, heightened social-television relationship and more.

Professionally, I have “met” some amazing people in the sports media/sports biz world through Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Social media in 2013 made the world a little smaller for me in sports. Knowledge is a precious commodity. I’ve learned more this year via my “friends” about journalism, marketing, business and yes, social media despite my lack of a college degree. Although I do like to say I have a degree in Common Sense from the School of Hard Knocks at the University of Life. But, I’m still learning. Social media is a great teacher, beyond just Twitter.

As for 2014, I don’t know that we’re fully prepared for what 2014 will bring in social media-sports. I expect there are things to come that we haven’t given a thought to yet in terms of creativity, platforms, or even tools. The actual sports stories, oh my, I can’t even imagine what we will see, especially withe the Olympics and World Cup in our future. Sounds exciting.

But, before I close, in reviewing this past year’s content, there is one photo that captured my heart and I wanted to make sure I shared it with you. I’m always looking for the good in sports and this is perfect:


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#SportsDoingGood: NHL

This is the tenth installment in my ongoing #SportsDoingGood series highlighting the good being done in and through sports.


The beauty of Twitter lists is recognizing emerging sports conversations or trends. One such list that I’ve been watching lately is my NHL Teams list. With the NHL season well underway, I’ve tried to watch how teams are utilizing their Twitter accounts. Many us it to provide game details, both live-tweeting and pre-/post-game information. But, teams are going beyond just that type of standard Twitter-fare.

The above tweet was recently retweeted (RTd) by the Edmonton Oilers Twitter account, @EdmontonOilers. It’s an example of a trend that I’ve noticed: team accounts retweeting their team foundation accounts.

Team foundation Twitter accounts? That’s relatively new to me. I like it.

There is more to a team than what happens on the playing surface or in front office transactions. Community involvement is vital to any team’s relationship with their fans. Social media can provide teams with an opportunity to spread the word of how they are active in their community. Foundation-specific Twitter accounts are a great tool to do that.

According to NHL Communications, all NHL teams have charitable foundations. Not all have social media accounts, however. There are ‘approximately 18 with Facebook accounts, 14 Twitter and 8 Instagram’. These team foundations are using social media  to “promote upcoming events, auctions, fund-raising and to recap previous community events through stories, photos”. 

One foundation account that is often RTd by their team Twitter account is the one from the Columbus Blue Jackets.


The league itself sets the tone for charitable and community involvement. Not only does the league share what their teams and players are doing, but it leads the way in getting involved.

NHL Facebook Cover Photo_DayOf

NHL Spirit Day Facebook cover courtesy of NHL Communications

Last month, the league was part of the #SpiritDay campaign to help stop bullying. In addition, the league and its teams were very active in the #HockeyFightsCancer campaign on social media sites like Twitter and Pinterest (pictures below provided by NHL Communications).

HFC Tweet HFC_Awareness Calendar

It’s not just in-season they get involved. They are active year round. Various players/teams hold hockey clinics, make school appearances, host various charity golf outings, and more (via NHL Communications)

Off season Tweet Example 3 Off season_Tweet Example 2Since we are in November, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention #Movember. Every year, the NHL is a very active participant in the Movember movement. Players grow shave either on October 31 or November 1 and grow their mustaches throughout the month. People can donate money in support of their favorite player/team to support prostate cancer research.

The NHL takes it a step further by encouraging their fans to get involved too.

Great engagement. Great involvement. Well done, NHL. 

Learn more about NHL teams’ respective charitable foundations via NHL Communications: Team Foundations 2013-14




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