The New England Patriots have partnered with Buddy Media to create a new Facebook page that is now their primary source of online content for fans. The Patriots Fan Zone offers fans of the team a opportunity take part in team-related discussions with other fans, stay up to date on games and events through a team calendar, send Patriots-themed virtual gifts, participate in Fantasy Forecast and more.
Several of the features in the Fan Zone still link back to the Patriots’ official Web site, but the new Facebook page is intended to be their primary online portal for fans. Both the team and Buddy Media acknowledge that it’s much easier to bring together fans through Facebook, where followers of the team are already congregating.
“It’s still very difficult to pull people into other gated communities. We think leveraging against Facebook is a no-brainer. The audience they have and their data speaks for itself,” said Buddy Media CEO Mike Lazerow, whose company also handles social media for sports-related clients like Reebok and Sports Illustrated.
The Patriots were looking for a way to expand their social network presence, and decided to tap the team’s the existing fan base on Facebook.
“We really weren’t anywhere [before] as it relates to social media. We had to get into the game, and to have that kind of audience we have on Facebook, you can’t get that kind of immediate impact on [Patriots.com],” said Patriots Dir of Interactive Media Fred Kirsch.
The original Facebook official fan page for the Patriots still exists, and fans are still using this page to post comments and photos. There hasn’t been any recent activity from the team, and there is also a lack of any sort of redirect or alert to let the 160,000-plus fans of the team know that the new fan zone exists on another page. It’s obvious that many fans already know about the move, however, as the new page with the Fan zone already has more than 120,000 followers.