I was fortunate enough to take part in the Blue Jackets CBJTweetUp promotion yesterday before, during, and after the game against Anaheim. Around one hundred tickets were sold, and while I thought they could have opened the experience to more than that, it was a great crowd. The doors were opened to everyone at 4pm for a meet and greet with each other, as well as a number of Blue Jackets staff, and media from a variety of sources.
In terms of 'swag' throughout the evening, I walked away with a t-shirt, a complimentary card for Papa John's (as well as a full belly of pizza and beverages during the event), a picture with Wiz and a personalized autograph. For the cost, in my opinion, the value was tremendous.
What I expected to be a social gathering with structured introductions and small talk with those who were scheduled to join the event. What I got was something much more valuable. Not only did many of the visitors take time to speak individually and personally with anyone who engaged them, they also made a point of 'getting into the thick of things' where groups of fans had already congregated. I can honestly say my opinion on a number of CBJ media types (at least those who are actively visible on a daily basis) was boosted substantially after having direct conversation. I can't thank them enough for extending their interest to myself and other fans, even if only for a short while.
Secondary to the obvious flair of meeting those on the guest list, I also had the opportunity of spending hours with the great fans who I enjoy interacting with on Twitter, including a couple Pepsi girls and ice girls. As expected, it was comparable to a four hour TweetUp (usually held at the Cannon during the first intermission) which is exactly what I was hoping it would be. One of the major benefits of the Sky Terrace is the area behind the seats, which gave everyone an opportunity to come and go at their own pace. I'll admit, I didn't last long in my seat during the first period, and immediately joined a group of 'Tweeps" standing around discussing the game. More on the Sky Terrace, for those who think the seats aren't all that great: I think they are excellent. I am a firm believer that Nationwide Arena does not have a bad seat, and I would enjoy watching every game from that level.
I would also like to give a shoutout to @AlisonL, @RedditCBJ, and a particular Blue Jackets representative for orchestrating the "Get Well" cards that were laid out to be signed by those in attendance. For a team battered by injury, I suspect this gesture will make a lot of guys on the mend feel good, and from all of the signatures I saw on there, it seems like this was something that most of us want to communicate to our players.
With James Wisniewski coming off the injured list, the structure of his visit changed due to his being in the lineup, and instead of spending the event with us, he was made available for everyone in attendance post game to sign autographs and say hello. I can't say enough of Wiz and how friendly he was. He was patient with everyone, took pictures, laughed and joked a bit, and really seemed to embrace his role. He also accepted the get well cards with the intent of delivering them, and while he jokingly acted a bit disappointed he didn't get one, it was clearly all in good fun. I had a chance to get a picture with him and chat him up about when he tweeted his face gash while playing with Montreal, which he seemed to recall with a bit of a smirk.
Additionally, he provided me with an autograph, and while my requested name wasn't nearly as comical as some of the other 'tweeps' I had with me, I'm still pleased with the result!
All in all, I was very pleased with how the evening went, and while the results on the ice were sub-par, the company and the experience were worth every penny. I want to personally thank the Blue Jackets, The Wiz, and the great staff who made the experience so enjoyable. I truly hope the organization takes advantage of the great group of twitter personalities that make up a large portion of the #CBJ hashtag, and makes a point of producing events similar to this one on a regular basis.
Carry the Flag!