Friday, June 1, 2012

Growing Sports Trend: Video Game Cover Fan Vote

As social media becomes more and more integrated into our everyday lives, major sports leagues look to adapt as well.  The National Basketball Association has arguably the best social media repertoire of all the major leagues.  Major League Baseball has integrated Twitter into its All Star Game voting with a special hashtag for every player on the ballot.  Perhaps the biggest and most successful trend as of late has been the vote for the next athlete to grace the cover of two of EA Sports’ top selling games: Madden NFL ’13 and NHL ’13. 

Madden NFL ‘13

Although the “Madden Curse” may have surpassed the Curse of the Billy Goat as the most well-known curse in sports, it still doesn’t stop players’ desires of being on the cover.  It seems that a lot of guys believe that they can be the one to break the curse, but you can just ask Peyton Hillis how that went last season.  Even with the Madden curse ruining seasons and breaking hearts for about a dozen years now, fans still want to see their favorite player on the cover. 

This year, the fan vote was taken to heights never before seen.  The vote saw nearly 20 million votes cast with the finals featuring a match-up between diaper dandy Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and the freakishly athletic Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson.  Johnson, better known by the single name of Megatron, won the close vote. 

NHL ‘13

Hockey may not be one of my personal go to sports, but boy they may have perfected the art of the video game cover vote.  Many consider the NFL to be the end-all-be-all of everything sports, so it is interesting to think that the NHL (yes the National Hockey League) can beat the mighty NFL in anything.  The NHL’s cover vote was executed to perfection in timing and people buying into the idea.
The timing for the NHL 2013 cover vote came in a time when hype surrounding the league was at its peak during the playoffs.  The bracket was set up exactly like the NHL playoff bracket and had a similar timetable for each round.  Having the playoffs coincide with the voting ensured the NHL that interest in hockey would be big and that they could capitalize off of it.  The final round between Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers and Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators began Wednesday, the same day as Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. 
When it comes to generating interest, all of the parties involved must buy into the idea that is being promoted.  Blackberry is the presenting sponsor of the NHL cover vote and their brand is the only corporate brand on  It is interesting to note that the NHL (and the NBA) stopped making Blackberry apps earlier this year, but Blackberry, instead of playing the role of bitter business, decided to keep their brand in the NHL’s arsenal of sponsors.

With the league and the presenting sponsor established as big pushers of the cover vote, it really came down to the people that the fans would be voting on, the players themselves.  The players bought into the idea and started individual campaigns integrating social media to move their name along through the bracket.  Teams even jumped on the idea as well, creating social media campaigns to make a push for players nominated from their team.  The team aspect became big especially because the bracket had 15 teams represented.  Only the Flyers had two players in the vote.

The NHL cover vote ends on June 4 with the winner being announced on June 20 at the 2012 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.  Before voting for the final match-up even began, the NHL cover vote had generated over 23 million votes.  The 23 million+ votes already leaves the NFL’s 19 million+ in the dust, an impressive feat.  The NHL may not be for everybody but with the success of their NHL 2013 cover vote, they certainly need to be recognized as tops in the video game cover fan vote competitions. 

1 comment:

  1. diaper dandy Cam Newton haha well done sir, I like it...good stuff Kev. I still refuse to believe in the curse, but it's getting harder to keep holding out every season