Special to NYSportsJournalism
March 30, 2012: EA Sports has had great success in handing over to fans the decision regarding which athletes to put on the cover of its Madden NFL and Tiger Woods PGA Tour videogames.
Now, EA Sports has teamed with the NHL to do the same thing for its NHL 13 release.
Electronic Arts said that people would "have the opportunity to shape the face of the EA Sports NHL franchise" by participating in the first EA Sports NHL "Cover Vote Campaign," which is being sponsored by BlackBerry and hosted on NHL.com.
“The announcement of the cover athlete has become an event unto itself, and every year we look to grow the platform and innovate around the launch,” Keith Wachtel, svp-integrated sales for the NHL, said in a statement. “The creation of the NHL 13 cover vote campaign, sponsored by BlackBerry, does just that by building an exciting new platform for players to connect with fans while bringing together two of our valued partners.”
The voting process will consist of two preliminary rounds, with players divided by Conference, followed by a 16-player bracket as a field of 60 NHL players is narrowed down to one. The winning player will be unveiled as the EA Sports NHL 13 cover athlete at the 2012 NHL Awards on June 20 in Las Vegas. (Full details here.)
EA Sports is supporting with a TV spot and dedicated social media including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
According to David Le, marketing director for EA Sports, "The EA Sports NHL fanchise has had a rich tradition of outstanding cover athletes, including Conn Smythe Trophy and Stanley Cup winners, NHL All-Stars and Hall of Fame members. With fans selecting the cover athlete for NHL 13 they now control who gets to join that prestigious club.”
"The NHL 13 cover vote campaign [builds] an exciting new platform for players to connect with fans while bringing together two of our valued partners.”
EA Sports has been using consumer voting to determine the cover athlete on Madden NFL for three years (the voting for Madden NFL 13 is currently in progress) and unveiled it for Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13, with Rickie Fowler getting paired on the cover with Woods in the U.S. and Rory McIlroy in Europe.
The first round of competition, which pits teammate against teammate, is open for voting now throughout April 11, the first day of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. In the round of 60, one representative from each team plus two wild card selections will advance.
From April 12-22, 32 players will be narrowed down to 16. From April 24–June 4, the round of 16 will ultimately conclude with the NHL 13 cover athlete being named.
Bruins - Tuuka Rask vs. Tyler Seguin
Canadiens - P.K. Subban vs. Tomas Plekanec
Capitals - John Carlson vs. Brooks Laich
Devils - Ilya Kovalchuk vs. Adam Larsson
Flyers - Claude Giroux vs. Scott Hartnell
Hurricanes - Eric Staal vs. Jeff Skinner
Islanders - John Tavares vs. Michael Grabner
Jets - Evander Kane vs. Andrew Ladd
Lightning - Steven Stamkos vs. Victor Hedman
Maple Leafs - Phil Kessel vs. Tyler Bozak
Panthers - Stephen Weiss vs. Tomas Fleischmann
Penguins - Evgeni Malkin vs. Marc-Andre Fleury
Rangers - Henrik Lundqvist vs. Brad Richards
Senators - Erik Karlsson vs. Jason Spezza
Avalanche - Matt Duchene vs. Gabriel Landeskog
Blackhawks - Patrick Sharp vs. Duncan Keith
Blue Jackets - R.J. Umberger vs. Ryan Johansen
Blues - T.J. Oshie vs. David Perron
Canucks - Henrik Sedin vs. Alex Burrows
Coyotes - Shane Doan vs. Keith Yandle
Ducks - Corey Perry vs. Jonas Hiller
Flames - Mikael Backlund vs. Matt Stajan
Kings - Anze Kopitar vs. Drew Doughty
Oilers - Jordan Eberle vs. Taylor Hall
Predators - David Legwand vs. Pekka Rinne
Red Wings - Pavel Datsyuk vs. Jimmy Howard
Sharks - Logan Couture vs. Brent Burns
Stars - Loui Eriksson vs. Jamie Benn
Wild - Mikko Koivu vs. Niklas Backstrom