Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Islanders fail the Web 2.0 test, Point Blank blackout

Important Update: Sign the Online Petition to Save Islanders Point Blank and join the Facebook Group


As you all know, I'm a huge hockey fan. In these dog days of summer it's always a little bit harder to get through the day with no real hockey stories to read about. Forget about getting a tidbit from a major news outlet about my beloved New York Islanders, sure Twitter and the Hockey Twits are nice; but sometimes you just want to be entertained. After all, the NHL is sports entertainment.

About 10 months ago, Chris Botta (picture), formerly an Islanders exec started IslandersPointBlank.com. Over the course of the blog's evolution, my addiction to it grew leaps and bounds. It wasn't long before my Google toolbar had IslandersPointBlank as my #2 recently visited site. A typical Chris Botta / IslandersPointBlank day would be about 2 - 3 posts. Mind you, nothing generic, and almost always interesting. Chris was able to provide such great coverage because he's been in and around the NHL for over 20 years. He was able to devote so much time to his articles because the Islanders were sponsoring the blog. Can independent Islanders coverage truly be independent while being sponsored by the team? It turns out the answer is yes.

Wouldn't you know it? IslandersPointBlank has developed a user base of 400,000 unique monthly visitors, so logically the next step would be to expand the blog and create a multiple user Wordpress install and hire some more bloggers right?

No.

The next step by the New York Islanders was to discontinue sponsoring IslandersPointBlank.com.

Now I could go off on a personal tangent about how professional and awesome this blog is, listing thousands of hockey related reasons, but I want to focus on the Web 2.0 connection in pro sports, specifically the NHL.

During the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs the Washington Capitals did a great job of connecting to their fan base on Twitter, it was extreme, even the Washington Post was publishing user's Tweets of Washington Capitals games. It really got the community mobilized on Twitter and connected back to the team.

While the Islanders were able to only talk about draft picks during the playoffs, they really didn't make any type of social networking efforts to connect with their fan base. Albeit, IslandersPointBlank was really the only Internet fan connection they had, and at 400,000 unique visitors a month, a damn successful one!

So why would a pro sports team such as the Islanders who launched such league wide innovations as IsladnersTV and the Islanders blog box start holding back now? I know we're in a recession and business is business so whatever the cost of sponsoring the blog was seen as expendable. But, REALLY? Do the Islanders not see the user/investment value of a web 2.0 property such as Point Blank? It makes me a bit nervous, my beloved franchise has been acting bewitched and bewildered for the better part of my existence. Why not offer Point Blank readers discounts to Islander events to get warm bodies in the building? Their performance as of late hasn't been good enough to get people in the seats, but incentives to obvious fans (readers of an Islanders blog) could be a measurable investment used to justify the expense of sponsoring such a great web 2.0 property.

Unless the Islanders hire Chris Botta's clone to keep PointBlank going I don't know how they just write this off. Since the end of the 2007 hockey season the team just hasn't put the money where it needed to. If they can't see the value in sponsoring PointBlank for another season, what's to say they'll see the value of signing John Tavares to a long term deal in three years?

Facebook, Twitter, and blogs are the way forward for pro sports teams to connect with and expand their paying fan base, the New York Islanders didn't shoot themselves in the foot, they removed the foot in something reminiscent of a Saw movie.

11 comments:

  1. Once again the almighty buck is keeping the Isles in the minor leagues. From Roy Boe thru John Spano to the group of no-nothing Milstiens we've had some quwstionable ownership. But Mr. Wang has tried to save the franchise and for that we must be grateful BUT some of his decisions Ie: Mike Milbury's long run as GM, Dipietro's ridiculous contract, Neil Smith fired to be replaced by our back-up goalie, dumping our radio broadcast team and his failure to hire a first rate experienced coach (always choosing the lowest possible guy on the salary scale)-well his decisions leave so much to be desired. It seems that each decision is a money decision...we are in big trouble. Kansas City beckons.

    MickeyBoy7

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  2. I agree with most of what the previous poster said, but I don't agree the part about Garth Snow and Gordon being a mistake. Garth has made some good moves and Gordon has a system that the young Islanders are buying into. I look forward to this season, but the one big downer so far is the news about PointBlank and Chris Botta. I checked out that site at least 5 or 6 times a day looking for the latest news about my team. Thats now ending and I think its Mr. Wang's biggest mistake this year. hopefully, they will reconsider this decision.

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  3. Please - if you're at all a fan of Point Blank (and the Islanders in general) email & call the Islanders.

    Chris has done so much, given us so much & created such an atmosphere that despite being last in the league last year & more than likely toward the bottom this upcoming year - we're excited to be Islanders fans again.

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  4. Chris Botta's site is a fraud owned and operated by the Islanders. If you post any criticism of Botta, he will delete the post.


    What exactly has he done on his Blog other than telling us that just about every prospect the Isles have is the second coming of Bossy and Potvin.

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  5. I would post what I just said on Botta's Blog. But I've been moderated, so I cannot post there.

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  6. If the blog got 400,000 unique visitors a month couldn't it be easily run on a full time basis using ads.

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  7. Chris has done an amazing job of keeping the Islanders in the news year round. Newsday's coverage sucks and they owned by Cablevision which owns the Rangers. My guess would be that the Isles are tired of their "team sponsored site" criticizing them. As for using ads, CB said at his age and with a family he does not want to start up and manage a full time business.

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  8. Whether you liked the idea of the blog or not, it's a shame the Islanders don't see the value of having it around. I'm pretty sure this "internet thing" is going to work out, so why would they not have all the exposure? I wonder how many visitors their site gets per month? Maybe they were out shined. Like I said in the post, it's just surprising to me that the organization couldn't see the user / market value in continuing to sponsor such a property.

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  9. Oh bull****, "anonymous"... there is criticism of Botta and his views all over the place there. What you cannot do is fight with people, he will delete your posts. But there are plenty of other places where you can fight and insult people, so whats the problem from your end? If you personally didnt like it, fine. I dont recall PB being mandatory, it was there to read IF you wanted to.

    If anyone thinks this is a poor decision by the Islanders (and it is) please write to chris.dey@newyorkislanders.com and tell him how you feel.

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  10. who cares. botta should stop begging like a little bitch.

    jocko

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  11. Hey jocko where is this "begging" you refer to? Oh yeah, nowhere.

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