NHL Teams Are Utilizing Esports To Keep Fans Engaged During Coronavirus Pandemic

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NHL teams like the New Jersey Devils are using esports like NHL 20 to engage and interact with their fans while the coronavirus pandemic has the league on pause.

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New Jersey got Matt Loughlin, its radio announcer, to do the play-by-play for the games. The team integrated actual game day sponsors like M&Ms for its moment of the game, PSE&G for its power plays, Investors Bank for a team roll call and RWJBarnabas Health for the starting goalie matchup.

“When more teams cooperate,” Devils senior vice president of marketing Jillian Frechette said, “it benefits both teams. The engagement on social platforms is much stronger.” Minnesota’s also gotten a lot of interest from some of its own players to represent the team in NHL 20 matchups, including forwards Jordan Greenway and Ryan Hartman and goalie Devan Dubnyk.

“It brings another dynamic when you can have these players on headsets commentating on what’s happening,” Vanek said. “You hear the banter back and forth. It just adds a whole other layer to the viewing experience.”a virtual 5K run “When I saw a couple of other teams going with simulations, I liked it, but we thought that we should do something a little different,” said Panthers vice president Shawn Thornton, who won a pair of Stanley Cup titles over his 14-year playing career. “We felt like we wanted to be a little more interactive with our fanbase.”

While the Devils were more experienced in producing esports events that can attract big audiences— with weekly Saturday night streams continuing with this weekend’s battle against the archrival New York Rangers— the Wild and Panthers have been encouraged by their initial forays into Twitch.

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