When the Vegas Golden Knights were in Los Angeles for the franchise's first ever road playoff game on April 15, they sent a tweet asking their fans: "Where's everyone watching the game from tonight?"
Over 1,500 responses rolled in, and the team was stunned to discover how far the support for this expansion franchise reached.
"It was pretty amazing. People from everywhere: China, Philippines, Australia, Sweden, Germany, England, you name it," said Brian Killingsworth, the team's chief marketing officer.
"We thought it was really special. And that's where this VGK Worldwide thing took off," Killingsworth added, referring to a social media hashtag created for the campaign.
For most of their inaugural season, the Golden Knights had focused on "Vegas Born" as a mantra, celebrating the fact that they were the first major professional sports team in Las Vegas. But the playoffs have broadened their horizons: They've thought locally, and now they're acting globally.
According to Killingsworth, the Knights contacted many of the international fans who responded to that initial tweet through direct message. Each fan was sent a T-shirt design that the team had been selling for the past month: a "name tag" that reads "I'm From [Blank Space] But I Cheer For Vegas Golden Knights."
Fans were encouraged to write in their geographic information in that white space with a marker, and put those images on social media.
"We've racked up quite a shipping bill, but it's a direct response to our fans," said Killingsworth.
He said the global approach to Golden Knights fandom mirrors the melting pot of the expansion team and the international popularity of the city.
"Everybody looks at Vegas and the 42 million people that come to this city every year, and this franchise reflects that. It was put together by [GM] George McPhee as a collection of players from all across the country. So we had some fun with the design," said Killingsworth. "They see the story about this team as something that transcends sports. It's really powerful. We see the impact that it's had locally, but it's really humbling to see how it's impacted people all over the world."