When the novel coronavirus began to impact central Iowa, the Iowa Wild had two concerns: their fans and their community. Since the Des-Moines-based hockey team was established in 2013, honoring their fans and giving back to the community have been priorities. When the pandemic interrupted their season and their many fan- and community-oriented initiatives, the Iowa Wild wanted to ensure fans’ safety while staying connected.
“In any given season, the number of community events, appearances, school visits and other programs they do is pretty incredible. Their fans mean the world to their organization.”
“The Wild have always been community driven,” said Alex Rich, an account manager at Trilix. “In any given season, the number of community events, appearances, school visits and other programs they do is pretty incredible. Their fans mean the world to their organization.”
Connecting with Fans
The Iowa Wild were in the midst of their best season to date when the United States began social distancing in late February. Soon, it became clear that Iowa Wild games would need to be postponed indefinitely to protect the safety of players, fans and the community. Allie Brown, senior director of marketing for the Iowa Wild, knew that open and frequent communication with fans would be a must.
“It was definitely important for us to communicate with fans and season ticket holders because they’re the ones who support our team no matter what,” she said. “It’s been tough because we don't know what's next, but we want to make sure that the communication is as transparent as possible. That builds a deeper connection with the community and with our fans.”
Without regular games, how can the Iowa Wild continue to connect with fans? Digital platforms are proving to be their answer. While the Iowa Wild team has done an amazing job managing their website, social media platforms and other digital channels, Trilix has assisted in creating videos that help the Iowa Wild connect with their fans and community.
Schedule updates and community initiatives are posted on the Iowa Wild website and shared through email. The organization even posted coloring pages and other at-home activities on social media for young fans. Trilix’s videos and livestreams on social media and YouTube provide fans with their updates from the team.
Trilix produces five to six videos during each week of the Iowa Wild’s regular season. Those videos might include game recaps, player spotlight pieces, social media clips and more. We also assist in creating graphics for their social media channels and community marketing initiatives.
Trilix continues to produce several videos for the Iowa Wild each week, but they look a bit different these days. Trilix Videographer Nick Mongar has repurposed past footage, releasing never-before-seen clips, generating new formats of video content and capturing new footage from remote video shoots via web camera.
For the past few weeks, the Iowa Wild have hosted YouTube and social media livestreams on Friday afternoons of playoff games from the previous season. Fans can relive those glorious games together and hear trivia from Joe O’Donnell, voice of the Iowa Wild. The organization also has been releasing documentary-style footage Nick captured during last season’s playoff run that has never been released. Meanwhile, fans submit footage of neighborhood street hockey games for Goal of the Week snapshots and the Wild partnered with the Science Center of Iowa to release an educational Science of Hockey video series with geometry lessons for young fans.
Nick has also created short player spotlight videos using past footage, and Joe O’Donnell has broadcast live check-ins via FaceTime with Head Coach Tim Army and many of the players. Nick noted that fans crave the connection with players.
“This was shaping up to be the best season the Iowa Wild ever had. For fan engagement, we want to continue to ride the wave and maintain fans’ excitement to come back and watch hockey.”
“This was shaping up to be the best season the Iowa Wild ever had. The team had a lot of momentum,” he said. “For fan engagement, we want to continue to ride the wave and maintain fans’ excitement to come back and watch hockey.”
Supporting the Community
As the Iowa Wild’s best season was put on pause, so were the charitable events the organization typically holds. Each March, the Iowa Wild host Tame the Hunger, an event in which volunteers package tens of thousands of meals for the Food Bank of Iowa. The event was cancelled this March. One player, forward Mike Liambas, has been instrumental in securing donations for the Food Bank of Iowa in lieu of the event.
“One of the first things we thought about in early March was, ‘how do we help the community?’” Allie said. “Mike Liambas called me early on and said, ‘hey, what can I do to help?’”
The Iowa Wild began raising money for the Food Bank of Iowa, an organization facing increased need from the impact of the pandemic. Nick edited several video messages that Mike recorded explaining why it is important to donate now. The Iowa Wild would typically offer tickets and other in-person incentives to gather donations. This year, Mike gave video shout-outs to those who donated. Mike, also a woodworker, even went as far as to auction off handcrafted cheeseboards. The Iowa Wild raised more than $20,000 for the Food Bank of Iowa by late April.
But they didn’t stop there.
The Iowa Wild always honor community heroes during games. In the last few months, Trilix has assisted in creating Hero of the Week videos in which players and Iowa Wild employees thank health care professionals and first responders.
The organization also supported the American Heart Association’s virtual Heart Walk. Trilix assisted in creating several videos showing players and Iowa Wild staffers walking and encouraging fans to join the Iowa Wild’s team for a virtual event.
“We know that many nonprofits we work with depend on our relationship, just as our community members depend on them,” Allie said. “We want to help.”
And while the Iowa Wild’s motto “Hockey Lives Here” continues to hold true, it’s gratifying to see the team, fans and community members come together to care for those who live here, as well.