Washington Redskins Facebook Cover Photo

With the influx of draft coverage this weekend, it's easy to forget that the schedule for the 2013 NFL season was announced recently as well. Stadiums have been booked, broadcasters are locked in and fans can start preparing and saving for those long road games.

Sports Geek examines how teams communicated their scheduling information to fans via Facebook, with some refreshing and creative results.

The Patriots' approach was simple: announce your team's yearly fixture with sharp, clean and easily readable post accompanied with an image of one of the game's most recognisable players. And just to make sure the tone of the post is clear, use a pigskin-themed background image. Touchdown.

New England Patriots Schedule Announcement

The Jets got creative with their announcement, using the familiar image of a New York subway map to convey their fixture to fans. They also tagged a number of fans in the image in an effort to improve the post's reach:

New York Jets Schedule Announcement

While you'd want a sizeable screen to view the smaller text concerning dates, times and broadcasters, it was definitely an interesting way to engage with fans. Now they just have to decide what to do with Tim Tebow.

Fellow AFC East team the Buffalo Bills, stressed user-friendliness with a horizontal schedule information photo that fans were able to share as their own Facebook cover, a strategy that was shared with other teams:

Buffalo Bills Facebook Cover Photo

The Baltimore Ravens used an updated cover photo to herald their 2013 fixture. The image description alerted fans to the primetime games the Super Bowl champions would be taking part in, as well as directing them to downloadable versions of the team's fixture via the official website:

Baltimore Ravens Facebook Schedule Cover Photo

The Redskins, Giants and Cowboys among others, also chose to utilise their Facebook cover photos as the main drivers of schedule information to fans.

The Houston Texans gave us another example that clarity can often be effective in conveying important information to fans. Like the Patriots, their Facebook announcement incorporated a schedule that was linear in appearance, and accompanied by a recognisable figure, that of 2012 Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year, J.J. Watt. A great example of a clean and professional approach:

Houston Texans 2013 Schedule

In a nice salute to road game fan support (not to mention a creative marketing strategy), the Texans followed up their schedule announcement by  promoting the various travel packages for the 2013 season, utilising photos of fans at away games:

Houston Texans Fans

Staying in the AFC South division, the Colts decided to go with a low-key, yet direct approach – pointing fans toward the team's official website for ‘immediate reaction' to their schedule announcement, before following up with an image post:

Colts Schedue Facebook Post

In a similar vein to Indianapolis, the Denver Broncos initially chose to send traffic back to their official website (see below), before posting a more conventional follow up image post:

Denver Broncos Facebook Schedule

The Tennessee Titans were quick in making their 2013 schedule available in a downloadable wallpaper format, as well as posting a link to an interview with head coach Mike Munchak:

Tennessee Titans Wallpaper

Mike Munchak Interview

In one of the more creative ways to communicate their 2013 schedules, the Philadelphia Eagles and St Louis Rams created photo albums showcasing their round-by-round opponents:

Philadelphia Eagles Facebook Photo Album

St Louis Rams Week 1 Schedule

Refreshingly, the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers showcased their schedules by adopting a more vertical style:

Atlanta Falcons Schedule

Carolina Panthers 2013 Schedule

The only team to use the highlight post option for every piece of content they publish to Facebook, the San Francisco 49'ers were the only team to direct traffic toward external reviews of their 2013 fixture – an impressive move that may further improve their credibility as a brand:

San Francisco 49ers Schedule

So there you have it, some effective ways NFL teams used Facebook to communicate their season fixture to fans – now the four and a half month wait for the season begins.

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