Social video brand NowThis and the National Hockey League are launching Home Team: The Las Vegas Golden Knights, a Facebook Watch series that tracks the debut of the Vegas NHL franchise and its response to the Oct. 1 mass shooting at a country music festival. (See trailer below.)
Co-produced by NHL Original Productions, the series will premiere on Wednesday, Nov. 8, with weekly episodes posting to Watch over the next five weeks. NowThis, the top engine of social video with more than 2.5 billion monthly views, is part of Group Nine Media, a digital holding company whose investors include Discovery Communications.
The makers of Home Team set out to embed with the Golden Knights during their first training camp, presenting a portrait of the first professional sports franchise to be based in Las Vegas. As crews were filming, the shooting on Oct. 1, which killed 58 people and wounded 500, cast the team’s fledgling ties to the community in a completely new light. The series sets out to show how sports can help a community rally during a time of crisis.
Another dimension of the show is the remarkable start the team has had on the ice. Last month, the Golden Knights became the first club in the NHL’s 100-year history to win seven of its first eight games in an inaugural season. Heading into tonight’s action, the team’s record stands at 9-4, putting them near the top of the Western Conference’s Pacific Division.
Home Team is the first series to launch as part of NowThis Sports, a new channel that will tackle emotionally potent stories through social video and mid- and long-form series.
“It’s not often that a professional sports team is launched, but given the extra weight of the recent events in Las Vegas, our goal is to tell this story with sensitivity and on-the-ground perspective,” said Athan Stephanopoulos, president of NowThis. “We’re excited for viewers to experience both the launch of the Vegas Golden Knights through the eyes of the athletes, and also experience the fans’ reaction as they come together to grieve and heal in the wake of such tragedy.” Tina Exarhos, Chief Content Officer at NowThis, calls the show “the latest example of us developing premium content around important stories” and says the company is “super excited to be pushing into longer-form original programming for all platforms.”
Steve Mayer, the NHL’s chief content officer and executive vice president, sees the series as “a terrific opportunity to continue to super-serve our fans with compelling content that helps them understand who our players are behind the mask, and to connect them with our newest franchise on a more emotional level.” He added, “The world saw the entire hockey community come together in solidarity with the Golden Knights and in support of the victims and first responders. Home Team: The Vegas Golden Knights will bring fans into the locker rooms and living rooms of the
players that helped bring comfort to Las Vegas.”
Here’s the trailer: