It may be the most obvious statement ever, but Canadians love their hockey.
Many are willing to go to any length to see their favourite team play – whether it be a mid-winter snowstorm or a Sunday night road game four hours away, when work awaits on Monday morning.
But what happens when seeing the team live is no longer an option? What happens when the team qualifies for a national championship, or players from the team are selected for provincial, regional or national team duty?
The 2010-11 season saw the continuation of the partnership between Hockey Canada and FASTHockey, bringing games from national and international events across Canada live to fans from coast to coast and around the world via webcast.
In total, 120 games from eight events – held from Penticton, B.C., to St. John’s, N.L. – were webcast during the season and watched more than 6,000 times, giving fans a live and up-to-the-second way of keeping up with their team.
Undoubtedly, those webcasts helped promote the events leading up to their respective TSN/RDS broadcasts – more than 300,000 fans watched teams win national championships and gold medals on national television.
But before trophies were hoisted and gold medals were handed out, Hockey Canada ensured the fans would have more than just the game to watch, thanks to an enhanced content plan for all of its webcasts.
For the first time, webcasts included pre-game and post-game shows, along with video features, sit-down interviews and trivia contests in the intermissions, giving viewers a full Hockey Canada experience. All of the video features produced also appeared on the event site at HockeyCanada.ca, which has become a valuable tool in event promotion.
“The goal has always been to promote these events to the highest level, and I think what we’ve done this season in terms of our webcasts is a tremendous first step,” says Dean McIntosh, director of marketing services and events for Hockey Canada. “We have been able to showcase our players, teams and events more so than in past years, and it’ll be exciting to see what more we can do as we move forward.”
So what does the future hold?
Look for Hockey Canada to find ways to make its webcasts more interactive, getting the fans at home involved just as much as the fans in the arena. Options include at-home prize winners, who enter with a special code available only to those who purchase the webcast, or trivia contests where in-arena contestants are paired with at-home partners.
The possibilities are endless, and with a successful first season in the books, the future looks bright for FASTHockey webcasts, and their role in the growth of Hockey Canada’s national and international events.