Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment is a local mini sports empire here in Toronto. Repeatedly regarded as the highest earning property in the NHL year after year, the Maple Leafs lead the pack of other MLSE properties: the NBA’s Raptors, Toronto Marlies of the AHL, and the surprisingly highly successful Toronto FC of the MLS league.
Internal Social Media Sites
MLSE has 2 online communities for the Leafs and Raptors:
These sites are tied into their primary websites (mapleleafs.com and raptors.com) and internal database. These online communities serve to drive fans back to their sites and are further supported by 3rd party social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Here is the ROI… more unique visitors to these sites = sponsorship opportunities.
The Leafs on Facebook
Here is the official Facebook Fan Page for the Leafs. There are several fan created fan pages – a testament to their base and brand. While the page is still evolving, MLSE is focused on providing unique applications for the fans to use – like building a custom jersey or creating your own hockey card. This represents a viable e-commerce stream in addition to fan engagement.
MLSE on Twitter
Here is where I see an interesting approach – one that is different than other teams – MLSE is focusing on people vs. the brand on Twitter. Rather than follow “the Leafs”, MLSE has positioned an individual - Monika – as the face of the online community. Monika is also the in-game announcer, so she is tied in with fan experience in a live capacity. Via the Twitter platform, Monika represents the brand. True to social media’s core of people as content – time will tell how the strategy of individual vs. brand will play out.
The Raptors have a similar approach – but the indivual is a further step removed and embodied in Raptors Web Guy. Here, Raptors Web Guy comes across as someone within the organization, but not a named/pictured individual. In this way, Raptors Web Guy is half person and half brand – again, a different approach than what other teams are doing on Twitter and one that is noteworthy.