Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron appears headed to a landslide victory in the social media voting held to determine the player on the cover of EA Sports’ “NHL 15” video game.
The company held the final round of the voting between Bergeron and Montreal’s P.K. Subban from May 26-June 1. Fans were allowed to show their support by using the respective hashtags #NHL15Bergeron and #NHL15Subban on Twitter and Instagram. Posts containing the respective hashtags, regardless of how many times they were used, were counted as one vote. Hashtags posted on May 29 counted as two votes. Votes were also taken via the EA Sports web site.
Bergeron received a total of 3,053,257 votes via Twitter. That includes a double-count of the votes cast on May 29. Subban, meanwhile, got 2,016,975 under the same formula. The cover athlete is set to be officially announced on June 24 during the NHL Awards Show on NBC Sports Network.
Lest we end up looking like Karl Rove when those results from Ohio came in back in 2012, there are a few caveats here. For starters, this data from our pals at Crimson Hexagon does not include the number of votes cast via the “NHL 15” Instagram or “NHL 15” web site.
The EA Sports' @EASPORTSNHL Twitter feed has 130,000 followers, while its official Instagram account has less than one-third that total.
But if the percentages offered via the 5 million votes counted here hold [Bergeron holds a 60.2 - 39.8 lead], and that’s a tremendously large sample size, Bergeron’s presence on the cover is what the people who care about such things want. Both players also received support via Twitter and Instagram from their teams and various teammates.
A spokesperson for EA Sports referred our questions about this to someone in their NHL division last Friday. We have yet to get a response.
Internet and Twitter snark requires the following statement: "None of this matters more than the Bruins losing to Montreal when it counted most." Duh. The Bruins probably enjoyed the distraction, nonetheless.
Among the Tweets containing #NHL15Bergeron where gender was known, 69 percent were posted by men and 31 percent were by women, Crimson Hexagon said. The numbers were virtually the same for Subban. There were 13,000 post per million in Canada for Subban, while only 195 posts per million in the United States. Bergeron’s hashtag was used in 3,100 posts per million in Canada and 2,100 posts per million in the U.S.
Several websites recently reportedly breathlessly about the fact that the contest rules include a provision that the company has final say on who ends up on the game’s cover, regardless of the voting.
Here it is from the official rules on the EA Sports website:
3. How to Participate: During each Voting Period visit http://covervote.nhl.com (the “Site”) and follow the links and instructions to vote for the NHL player you want to be on the cover of the NHL 15 video game this year. Prior to voting, each participant must first have or register for an NHL.com account. Registration for an NHL.com account is free and may be made by following the applicable links and instructions on the Site to complete and submit the registration by providing the required contact information including user name, email address, country, zip/postal code, and the selection of a password . Multiple participants are not permitted to share the same email address. After the participant has registered for an NHL.com account the participant may vote. Participants may vote as many times as they want during each Voting Period. Sponsor will consider the voting results when choosing the NHL player to be featured on the cover of the NHL 15 video game, but Sponsor will not be obligated to abide by such results in making its decision.[Emphasis added.]
Now if we could only find Lois Lerner's lost emails.
While EA wasn’t talking to us, they have gone on the record saying that the “opt out” provision is there just as a precaution against fraud in the voting and that the cover subject is not determined in advance.
One could call it the “Aaron Hernandez Rule.” EA Sports and other companies who sponsor contests such as this do not want to be bound by the results if the person slated for the cover ends up being charged with some heinous crime or becomes toxic when it comes to sales.
That’s reasonable and sound.
So is limiting the field of potential cover subjects at the onset. It’s like any “reality” TV show. Nothing is left to chance. The clauses governing performers on shows like “American Idol” and “The Voice” are legendary in their restrictions and control. "The Voice” has a similar provision it its rules giving the show the final say on who wins. These potential "NHL15" cover figures don’t get to be potential cover figures unless they sign with EA Sports in advance. Again, simple common sense.
The marketing involved in this promotion is noteworthy. Five million free plugs on Twitter and thousands, if not millions more, on Instagram. Conspiracies aside, it would make little sense for EA Sports to put an athlete on its cover who was not the most popular among those on their ballot.
In this case, that appears to Patrice Bergeron.
By a landslide.
And how could you not vote for this guy?
The OBF column is written by award-winning journalist and Bay State native Bill Speros. Hit him up on his Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or at his
Obnoxious Boston Fan Email Address. Thanks always for reading and pass the clicker.
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