Washington Capitals Facebook Bot Brings Instant Fan Connectivity

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Taking a page out of the National Basketball Association‘s last postseason, the Washington Capitals Facebook bot brings instant fan connectivity to the National Hockey League in a new way.

The NBA unveiled a Facebook bot for the 2016 Finals. It allowed fans to view custom highlights, get custom notifications, and dig through stats on demand through the Facebook messenger application. The platform was a success, and it seems the idea has caught on.

Washington hired Interactive Strategy Labs to create the bot, which has many of the same capabilities that the NBA Finals bot did. In addition, fans can purchase tickets and get questions about the Verizon Center answered instantly. The bot also has a trivia feature that the team has plans to build upon.

Vision for the Future

While the bot’s capabilities are impressive, there is more that the Capitals hope to be able to accomplish with it.

Currently many functions refer users to the official team web site. Washington says that it hopes to be able to integrate many of those functions right into the bot. One hope is to add instant video highlights and have a player wish a user “Happy Birthday” on the appropriate day. The franchise also hopes to soon be able to make its trivia function update in real-time, with achievements that can be unlocked for correct answers.

As the amount of content grows within the bot, so does the potential for monetization for the Capitals. New video products create additional digital real estate that can be sold as advertising. That will help to keep the content free for fans to access.

This partnership between Washington and Facebook is a win for both parties. Not only does it keep the Capitals’ reputation as the NHL’s tech innovator alive, (Washington was also the first team to use Snapchat stories to connect to fans) it also strengthens Facebook’s position as the NHL’s primary social media channel.

If past results are any indication of future results, it won’t be long before other NHL teams develop and begin utilizing their own Facebook bots. As this technology spreads, it will only enhance the fan experience across the NHL.

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Derek Helling is a freelance writer who covers the intersections of sport and business, culture and law. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, double-majoring in Journalism & Mass Communications and Sport Studies. As a fan, he follows Hawkeye athletics, Major League Baseball, the Florida Panthers and the Miami Heat.

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