Even your grandmother knows at this point that social media has, without a doubt, changed the world. Whether that's for better or for worse depends on your views. But the wide world of sports is certainly affected by the explosion of social media. Players are more fan-accessible as long as it's 140 characters or less. Teams can provide instantaneous news updates as well as plug deals and giveaways. Athletes and their teams are closer to their fans now more than ever.
The Dallas Stars are definitely not deaf to the impact that social media can have. In a market where hockey is far from a top sport with a team that has been rebuilding for years, social media is both a necessary and effective tactic. The Stars have had a few viral moments in recent memory, most of which involving certain Canadian pop stars. But the Stars use their Twitter for far more than invoking the wrath of Beliebers. Many times last season @DallasStars gave away sets of tickets to home games to lucky fans. I know this first hand since I won 2 tickets to the first preseason game last year from the Stars on twitter - and it was an awesome experience.
Typically Stars related social media campaigns have been isolated to the metroplex. Those of us outside of the DFW area know the pain of telling people that we're Dallas Stars fans and getting that all too familiar response - "Oh....that's that hockey team, right?". But this offseason the Stars launched the "#LoneStarsState" campaign looking to rectify that. The Stars set out all across Texas - Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and even College Station - to 'expand the brand' across the Lone Star state. The Stars organization has certainly wanted to make their presence known in Austin. Even before the #LoneStarsState campaign trip, the Dallas Stars street team was at every home Texas Stars Calder Cup Final game, and the Dallas Stars players will make the trip down Interstate 35 for a preseason scrimmage and practice against the Texas Stars on October 3rd and 4th.
In years past the team would hold their yearly fan "ice breaker" before heading off to Prince Edward Island, Canada for training camp. But for the second year in a row the Stars will keep it local and hold camp in Ft. Worth. The whole camp, and practices all year long, will be open to the public. Practices were open and free last year, however with interest sparked in the team the Stars are trying to spread the word to new or returning fans.
Will improved accessibility and social media prowess translate to improved ticket sales? Because at the end of the day that's what the target is. It'll be hard to judge that as a success or failure. But in this day and age it certainly doesn't hurt.