The NHL is planning to make social networking a key research focus for its new business, which will be called Sports Business Analytics.
Brian Burke, NHL commissioner, will lead the research organization.
“The NHL is a company that has always valued innovation in the sports industry, and we’re very excited to be working with Sports Business to help advance our innovative vision of how to understand and measure how people interact on social networks,” Burke said in a statement.
The NHL’s social networking program will be run by the NHL Research Lab, which is located in New York.
“We will be working to develop and share research insights across social and gaming and beyond,” Burke added.
“Our team is comprised of top experts in our field, and our goal is to help the NHL gain an unparalleled understanding of social media and our industry’s role in its growth.”
Burke will lead a research team of experts who will be tasked with analyzing how the NHL interacts with fans on social media, including whether fans post in the NHL’s forums, social media apps, and other areas.
The team will also work with the NHL Players Association to share analytics insights.
“I am excited about the opportunity to work with a leading social media analytics company to help inform our efforts to understand the social and sports-related behaviors of our fans,” Burke, who has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Cornell University, said in the statement.
“As a professional athlete, I am constantly looking to improve myself and the way I communicate with my fans.
I am looking forward to working with Brian to continue to expand our knowledge base, and to contribute to the growth of social networking and sports analytics.”
The NHL has been a pioneer in social media use, as the league began using its website to allow fans to create and share fan art in the late 1990s.
In 2006, the NHL introduced an automated Twitter system that allowed fans to follow other fans on Twitter and follow the team’s news and announcements.