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Joseph Ray, Jimmy Smith and Brian Fowler

Social media has become a powerful source of sports information. The uncertainty of outcomes of a sporting event is a contributing factor to fan satisfaction, which in turn affects fans’ social-media habits. If teams can determine specific factors that affect these social-media habits, marketing conclusions can be drawn. The current research followed the Twitter accounts of 4 National Hockey League (NHL) teams throughout the 2015 NHL postseason to observe changes in fan engagement. The results displayed increasing growth during each subsequent round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, which indicates an advantageous time to gain fans and develop brand loyalty. The current research showed that retweets and favorites earned on team tweets were shown to have the greatest correlation to followers gained. The growth demonstrated during the postseason provides sports organizations the opportunity to cultivate a strong and loyal following for their teams through strategic marketing initiatives.