The NHL’s ‘Stanley Cup Live’ Social Media Show Gives Fans Everywhere VIP Access To The Playoff Party
June 13, 2019
Lil Nas X embraces the Stanley Cup on 'Stanley Cup Live' with Jackie Redmond and Adam Burish before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in Boston on May 27, 2019. COURTESY: NHL
No matter where you live, you’re invited to this year’s Stanley Cup Final parties in Boston and St. Louis through the magic of social media.
Ninety minutes before each game and also on select off days, 2010 Stanley Cup champion Adam Burish and NHL Network’s Jackie Redmond are back for a second season of hosting ‘Stanley Cup Live.’
“We love the attitude that these shows have,” said Steve Mayer, the league’s Chief Content Officer. “They're just fun.
“They look at a little bit of a lighter side, the more entertaining side of the Stanley Cup Final. We just try to have a good time and we have great hosts who are perfect in this kind of format.
“Adam and Jackie had never really worked together before and right off the bat, they had incredible chemistry,” he added. “They kind of finished each other's sentences, they smile together, they joke around with each other. They add an energy that is hard to get out of hosts, and I think it's one of the keys to its initial success here.”
Shot live on location, each episode runs about 10 minutes. After launching on Facebook Live in 2018, the show is also being simulcast on Twitter this year and has added a presenting sponsor, New Amsterdam Vodka.
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The live format and social media platforms mean anything goes. On Monday, the first show before Game 1 aired from the Stanley Cup Final party at Boston’s City Hall Plaza and featured exclusive interviews with musical performers Chase Rice and Lil Nas X. The second show included a sit-down interview with three-time Stanley Cup champion-turned-NBC analyst Patrick Sharp.
“I think the format of the show brings out, I guess, a casualness to those being interviewed,” said Mayer. “Their guard is a little let down because of this format and we find that they're much more willing to tell stories that I think if they were on one of our broadcast partners, they might not tell.
“So, Patrick Sharp talking about the time he left the bar with Dustin Byfuglien at two in the morning — you might not get that at a network level or a broadcast network, but you get it here. And because it's live, we do think that anything can happen, and that just adds to the energy of it all.”
The guest for this year's third episode, which aired before Game 2, was Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover model Camille Kostek, a Bruins fan who was once a New England Patriots cheerleader.
“We're finding these newfound superfans that really can speak to the game,” said Mayer. “Some of them are super impressive with their knowledge and how much they enjoy the game.”
Pre-exiting hockey knowledge is not a prerequisite, though.
“The other night, we had Lil Nas X, who obviously has taken the world by storm with his song ‘Old Town Road,’” Mayer said. “He had never been to a game before, but we watched, on the show, how he was just enamored with the Stanley Cup. We watched him take in the whole experience — and he really took it in.
“That was one of the best observations I had from the other night, is how a guy who had never been around hockey couldn't get enough of it. He went to the game later that night, just loved it, and has been quoted as saying 'Hey, hockey's my new favourite sport. I want to go to more games.'
“We saw it first when he did his interview on this show. He was just so into the experience and took a selfie with the Stanley Cup. That's the kind of stuff this show is all about.”
Just as the moment made an impression on the breakout star, he made an impression on Boston’s top sports icon, Tom Brady.
Mayer believes that ‘Stanley Cup Live’ offers another dimension to the NHL’s overall content-creation strategy.
“I think at the end of the day, we need to expand this format into our regular season because where it fits is, we want to have fun,” he said. “We want to show that everything doesn't need to be so serious.
“We do our all-access shows and those show the intensity, the passion, the drama of what it's like to win the Stanley Cup. But when you take a step back and go off the ice, everybody's having a good time.
“As a fan, I think these are the moments that are never, ever forgotten. The Stanley Cup Final is one of the greatest events in all of sports. We want to show that it's a lot of fun and if somebody's watching the show, goes ‘Man, I want to be there.’
“Wanting people to watch what we do because it looks cool and fun and it's got the energy. This is another example of a show that absolutely shows that.”
Excitement is already high in St. Louis, where the Blues will host their first Stanley Cup Final game since 1970 on Saturday.
“I cannot believe how many celebrities are coming to St. Louis and taking in these games,” said Mayer on Thursday. “I guess if you're a fan of a team and you haven't been to the final in 49 years, you cherish this moment and you go out of your way to come.
“We're looking under tables for tickets. We're loving it, but we're now in the mode of getting them booked for shows like this, for NBC, for Rogers. There's going to be quite a few of them and many of them, hopefully, will be on the show.
“We're going to do concerts both nights, we're going to have celebrities introducing the concerts. it's going to be fun. I’m really looking forward to the next two games.”
Over five episodes plus related content during the 2018 Stanley Cup Final in Las Vegas and Washington, ‘Stanley Cup Live’ drew more than 2.93 million video views and over 250,000 likes, comments and shares, with a total reach of more than 12.3 million. This year, three days of programming over the first two games have drawn 511,000 views and 5.8 million impressions across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
“We just need to expand upon this format,” said Mayer. “We're starting to see the numbers — they look pretty good.
“I think it's a different world that we're all living in. It's definitely something to add to the many different content initiatives that we have.”
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