Mcallaster Miller went from growing up playing ice hockey himself, to becoming the first digital hire ever made by the Colorado Eagles. As the Digital Media Manager for the minor league hockey team, Miller has been building the team’s community-centric brand.
“Businesses to businesses, fans to fans, players to fans, we want to be that central hub of connectivity for Colorado,” said Miller. “We want people to come here and connect with our players. We want them to connect with each other. We want them to connect with our local businesses.”
On this episode of #Storyteller, Mcallaster takes us inside the team’s strategy to build a strong identity, creative ideas to drive revenue, plus the award-winning campaign that helped his digital team bring home some hardware.
On building a community-centric brand:
We pride ourselves in being community first. That means that we are community-facing, not necessarily just in a digital realm, but we want to showcase all of the things that we are doing physically as well. Coming into this summer and during COVD, how that looked was meshing partners together. We were able to take a big partner of ours in OtterBox and match them with another partner of ours in the school district. And say hey, OtterBox makes coolers; our school districts don’t have enough freezer space and coolers to deliver meals to kids. It’s like okay, great. You know, the Eagles don't make coolers, we don’t make ice, we play hockey. But we work with a lot of different companies and so it was, how do we connect those organizations...At the heart of it, that’s what we want to be. We want to be a connection for Northern Colorado. Whether that’s businesses to businesses, fans to fans, players to fans; we want to be that central hub of connectivity for Colorado. We want people to come here and connect with our players. We want them to connect with each other. We want them to connect with our local businesses.
On responding to every single fan:
I don’t care what a fan comments. We are going to reply to them. It could be ‘I really hate you guys and you're the worst team ever.’ I’m going to respond to you. I’m still going to start that conversation. Because 9 times out of 10 it’s going to turn into a positive conversation. Somebody once told me the best thing about social media is everybody has a voice. And the other side of that, is the worst thing about social media is everybody has a voice. You can take that as you will, I choose to take it as everybody has a voice and as a team, I’m going to interact...We ushered in that conversation era with the Eagles where no comment is too small, we’re going to reply to everybody.
On the digital team’s award-winning campaign:
People are egocentric. I want to see my picture up on the video board. I want to be doing something crazy. Tagboard allowed us in a smaller arena where...we’ve got 2 cameras, we can’t get a whole lot of people, a whole lot of fans on camera. But we’ve got an amazing fan base. It just needed to be digitized a bit. By bringing in Tagboard, we were able to digitize that by using everybody’s phone in the arena by posting their own photos. And by posting their own photos on social media, that gave us more opportunities to start conversations.
On what trends he has his eye on next:
I think there is so much potential for minor league sports to really dominate sports streaming. You’re not going to see it in professional sports as much because they’re working with big TV companies and stuff like that, but minor league sports, if you can get in there and create an NBC-like experience on a streaming platform for your fans, that’s amazing. We’re talking about streaming wars right now, you’ve got Netflix and Hulu and Disney+ and now Peacock with NBC, everybody’s got something...And I think that the quicker minor league sports can take advantage of the streaming platform and the streaming landscape, the better. So future, that’s really where I see the Eagles going. We want to create a streaming platform for our fans to get involved with whether they’re in arena, or whether we’re on the road, that it’s a very similar game presentation for them. They’re seeing the same things. But also with minor league sports and that industry and platform, the better you get with those things, the more ad revenue you have to share. And the more ad revenue you have to build up other programs.
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