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2021 SHORTLIST

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DEVILS SIMULATED GAMES

Entrant Company: New Jersey Devils Hockey Club, Investors Bank

FINALIST

Most Creative Engagement During the Sports Pause

Devils Simulated Games

ABOUT THIS ENTRY

In an attempt to bring a sense of normalcy to our feeds and provide an escape for people during an unprecedented time, the Devils content team decided to use e-gaming as a medium to reach fans.

How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?

We believe the player access during this difficult time and the full-scale, multi-level content event was unique during the pause. After the initial stream, the club received many positive messages from fans on social media and on their streaming platforms during the game, thanking the club for giving them a distraction and asking for more games to be streamed.

We started out mirroring the Devils schedule through to the end of the regular season and then pivoted after that to games involving classic Devils alumni and specific teams of certain years (for example, the 2000 Cup championship team). We allowed fans to vote on which Devils teams they wanted to see, which specific players they wanted to see and even which opponents they wanted.

We also had a Virtual Fan Appreciation Night sponsored by M&M's. This included prize giveaways, including the winner of a contest getting to insert themselves on the Devils top line. We also interviewed the winner in our mock post-game interview: https://www.nhl.com/devils/video/c-5370237

Some of the other fun ideas included a virtual t-shirt toss where the winners actually won t-shirts.

 

Objective: Other sports teams have streamed via Twitch before and simulated games are not uncommon, but the Devils content team decided to reach beyond posting a link to a stream off-site.

The objectives were:

  1. Fill our feeds with regular content
  2. Provide a medium for in-game sponsors who were no longer getting exposure due to the
    pause in games
  3. Potentially find a presenting sponsor
  4. Be innovative and do it differently than other teams
  5. Generate some earned media

Strategy & Execution: Shortly after the NHL paused its season, the Devils set up a live stream of simulated games using EA Sports NHL 20 to publish directly to the team’s website and social feeds in an attempt to engage fans on its platforms. In addition, the Devils promoted and covered the event as if it were a real game, with similar cadence and assets as would be used during the regular season:

  • Actual play-by-play from Devils radio voice Matt Loughlin
  • Game recap articles (Example)
  • Post-game interviews with actual Devils players (Example)
  • Game highlights (Example)
  • Reporter post-game packs (Example)
  • Pre and post-game animations
  • Lineup notes
  • Partnership assets
  • Animated goal gifs
  • Gifs and video clips of the goals taken from the broadcast

 

Results:

Measuring the audience itself, we averaged 30,000 viewers per simulated game with a high of 60,000 for our game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Video on demand created as a result of the games, such as the mock player post-game interviews, would sometimes exceed 100,000 views.

We were able to find a presenting sponsor of the simulated games in Investors Bank which helped achieve that objective. Other sponsors which we were able to mention through the games included:

M&M’s Moment of the Game (and Fan Appreciation Night)
NJ Lottery Overtime & Shootout
Investors Bank Roll Call
RWJBarnabas Health Starting Goalie Matchup

PRODUCTION

New Jersey Devils Hockey Club
Investors Bank

 

CREDITS

Senior Director, Content
New Jersey Devils
 
Video Producer
New Jersey Devils
 
Video Production Manager
New Jersey Devils
 
Video Producer
New Jersey Devils
 
Reporter
New Jersey Devils
 
Writer
New Jersey Devils
 
Reporter
New Jersey Devils
 
Play-by-Play Announcer
New Jersey Devils

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