NHL NOT MARKETING THE GAME WELL AT ALL - Xtratime Community
 
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old January 24th, 2007, 05:59 Thread Starter
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NHL NOT MARKETING THE GAME WELL AT ALL

The National Hockey League has stopped playing games that matter this week while it puts many of its star players in the spotlight during its annual all-star game, the first in three years. In many ways, the non-contest, which is being held in Dallas tomorrow, is a microcosm of the league itself in its struggles to attract wider audiences to the sport.

Commissioner Gary Bettman typically delivers a state-of-the-game assessment during this break, and as always, it will be a rosy one. But all is not rosy. Attendance is down, TV ratings are abysmal and the league still can't seem to figure out how to market its assets to non-core fans. And it's not only the owners. The players, too, have paid scant attention to the sport's marketing woes.

"It's a bit like pulling teeth during the season," said Calgary defenceman Andrew Ference, one of half-a-dozen player business representatives who are in Dallas to kick around some marketing ideas. "We have to convince guys that it's worth doing."

Based on the number of arenas with empty seats and falling TV ratings, "obviously, their marketing is not working very well," said sports marketing expert Brad Robins, who likes the league's new Internet content ventures, but says it is still not doing enough to expose the game to new audiences.







Take the all-star game, which has been moved back to midweek from its previous Sunday slot. The league thus avoids clashing with National Football League playoffs and other sports that crowd the weekend calendar south of the border. But more important, NHL owners no longer lose their regular Saturday night games, by far the most profitable on the schedule.

In the tradeoff, the NHL gets more money in the till and avoids embarrassing itself by drawing a lousy weekend rating for a showcase game. But it also loses national U.S. network exposure. Instead, the game ends up on the little-seen Versus cable channel competing against the likes of American Idol, by far the most watched series on television, particularly by the younger audience the NHL would love to get its hands on.

Then, just to prove that if the NHL didn't have bad luck it might have no luck at all, Dallas Cowboys' coach Bill Parcells, arguably the city's highest-profile sports personality, announced his resignation yesterday. As a result, the all-star game has been shunted to the media sidelines.

What other league would go out of its way to ensure that its best asset, namely its new wave of young talent, is seen by a minuscule audience comprised almost exclusively of people who already know and like the game? Or that its showcase is held in a city where football is by far the dominant sport? Why, the same people who gave us an unbalanced schedule that prevents fans in certain markets from seeing - at least not live - a Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin or all of the Buffalo Sabres or Detroit Red Wings in a given season.

That wouldn't matter in the National Football League, which is so heavily dependent on TV revenues that it could put a team in an empty stadium and still make money. But it does matter in a league that relies on gate revenues for a large chunk of its income.

"You're hard-pressed in some markets to have a chance to see any of the new stars," said Paul Swangard, managing director of the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center and a die-hard Vancouver Canucks fan since childhood.

Swangard sees it as the sports equivalent of a Ringling Bros. show leaving behind its top-drawing acrobats when it goes on tour. "If I have empty seats and I know there are some players who could potentially put butts in seats, I should think like a circus and take my stars on the road."

Hockey has yet to figure out that it's not the game itself that will attract new fans, regardless of rule changes and cool new uniforms, but compelling stories. The NFL is a perfect example. Sunday's playoff between the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots drew a huge audience, not because it was an important game but because viewers were drawn to the drama of Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning seeking redemption.

Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban, the outspoken owner of basketball's Dallas Mavericks, has some intriguing advice for the NHL when it comes to marketing its stars.

"One of the biggest challenges the NHL has is that there isn't one player that we all know is going to be quotable, and the media is going to run with and pay too much attention to," he wrote in his blog. Cuban would love to see Crosby or one of the sport's other young guns show some flare and self-promotion on the ice.

Among his off-the-cuff suggestions: pull out a cap after scoring a hat-trick and put it on in front of the opposing goalie. "Yeah, there would be some gloves dropped, but if it happened a second time, it would be all over the national news and sports fans across the country just might be curious enough to turn on the TV to see what would happen next."

Cuban acknowledges that the "purists" would argue that the game is enough to sell the product. His reply: "Yeah, right."

Ference and his colleagues were hoping to meet Cuban in Dallas to discuss his ideas, but he'll be on the road with his Mavericks. But they will sit down with some Hollywood types to talk about possible ventures that would raise the sport's profile.

"It's a work in progress," Ference said of efforts to improve NHL marketing. "It's not going to be perfected in one year or two years."

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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old January 24th, 2007, 10:38
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Originally Posted by lions67
Among his off-the-cuff suggestions: pull out a cap after scoring a hat-trick and put it on in front of the opposing goalie. "Yeah, there would be some gloves dropped, but if it happened a second time, it would be all over the national news and sports fans across the country just might be curious enough to turn on the TV to see what would happen next."

Cuban acknowledges that the "purists" would argue that the game is enough to sell the product. His reply: "Yeah, right."

Ok, that cap-example was off-the-cuff, but it's so ridiculous. To make the sport more attractive with such non-sporty actions is not my type of thing. I like it that ice hockey is in my eyes the most european-like sport in America.

GLUBB

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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old January 24th, 2007, 15:27
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I'm gonna start boycotting the NHL (i already dont go to as many Wings games as i used to and i can find tickets anytime i want now unlike in the 90's) and i wont spend another dime on it until i see some real changes, yesterday was a big slap in the face for us Wings fans when they decided not to change the schedule for next year and getting us stuck playing the same old Blue Jackets, Predators and Blues 6 times a year once again... and then they wonder why there is no sellouts??? who the hell wants to go see the same teams twice a week and some even 3 times like when we faced the Wild in December. The only hope for us at this point is if the Penguins move to Kansas City (which i know hope it happens now) and they move us to the East where we belong, enough of us being the bitches of the NHL for the good of the game having to make 3 west coast trips a year and being stuck in the central division just so that we can help draw higher attendaces in places like Nashville and Columbus. And dont get me started on Bettman and his idiots trying to figure out how to market the game to non-core fans cause they have been trying to figure it out for years now and they still cant get it in there thick skulls that hockey is a regional sport and you cant market it to the Nascar fans in the south. Has anyone here been to a game in Carolina? its utter garbage people are outside tailgating and there arena is on the campus of North Carolina State univ it looks and feels nothing like a place where you would have a pro hockey team plus even after they won the Cup last year they are still having a hard time selling out the arena, same with Atlanta they couldnt get it the first time around and now they get a second team which has not done any better at all. It's time to stop marketing the game to non-hockey fans and give the game back to the hardcore fans and people that care about hockey give us back the old divisions, get rid of some of these teams who dont belong, bring back teams in Winnipeg and Quebec and get those old rivalries back. Hockey is a game that only the people that get it will watch those non-hockey fans would rather watch bowling or darts on TV then hockey so its stupid to try to get them to jump on board and watch an All Star game in the middle of the week on VS. Last night there was even rumors that Houston will be getting an expansion team next year and they want 32 teams in the league so that they can allow more teams to make the playoffs... great just great why dont we just allow everyone in the playoffs and make the season more meaningless then it already is. My NHL??? no thanks i'm not spending anymore money on this garbage. :thmbdown:
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old January 24th, 2007, 16:35 Thread Starter
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to me, the best thing that bettman did over the all-star break was to CONTINUE with the way the schedule is done. your damn right ambis, it must sure as hell get boring seeing the same teams come and play night after night, while at the same time not allowing the fans the chance to see some of the other stars in the league?.......tell me ambis, how many times have the pens and crosby been to the Joe?....
i like it for the obvious reason that it will keep people away from the rinks, by the time they straighten it out, the fairweather fan will have had enough and wont come back.
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old January 24th, 2007, 16:40
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NHL is crap

After the strike of two years ago, most people in mainstream sports in the USA just said F U...and they won't give attention to it ever again...not until it earns it back.

WE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER GIACINTO FACCHETTI, LEGEND OF THE INTERNAZIONALE AND ITALIAN GAME
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old January 24th, 2007, 16:43
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Overexposure. How can you have an 82 game regular season and expect people to stay interested?

Make 1 game a week

Visca Barca!!

1 DECADE IN XTRATIME!!
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old January 24th, 2007, 17:39
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cut some teams, maybe to a 24 team league with only six teams making the playoffs in each conference and the top two teams in each conference get a first round bye (like football)

tickets are wayy overprice, but the Islanders are getting smart, like giving students $19 tickets in the lower level! and that has helped attendances
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old January 27th, 2007, 18:24
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Originally Posted by CarlosMiguel
Overexposure. How can you have an 82 game regular season and expect people to stay interested?

Make 1 game a week
You can't but sadly the owners want more home games to make more money from ticket sales so they will never agree to shorten the season.



btw it's not always about how many times you play one team for example i can watch Toronto vs Montreal or Edmonton vs Calgary a million times but when the Wings are forced to play Nashville 6 times and someone tries to hype up that fake match up as a big rivalry it gets tiresome.
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old January 28th, 2007, 00:21 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ambis
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btw it's not always about how many times you play one team for example i can watch Toronto vs Montreal or Edmonton vs Calgary a million times but when the Wings are forced to play Nashville 6 times and someone tries to hype up that fake match up as a big rivalry it gets tiresome.
and there is the rub!.....knowlegable hockey fans KNOW that a leafs vs. habs, or a hawks vs. wings is indeed a rivalry.
to forcefeed the preds vs. ( put your team here) anyone and saying that it will BECOME a rivalry over time is bogus.
you CANNOT just create a rival. it comes from many different components. just because you play each other everyday does not a rivalry make. just look at the SPL as an example. it is only a 12 team league, they all play each other all the time, is a celtic vs. st. mirren a rivalry?.........lol..of course not.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old January 28th, 2007, 00:28 Thread Starter
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Bettman singing different tune now for Winnipeg

For the first time, Bettman has publicly come out and finally said what everybody already knew.
this quote comes from the NHL ALL-STAR GAME:

Even though we haven't done the homework, I believe, in an ideal world under the partnership we have with the players and the salary cap, that Winnipeg probably could support an NHL team," Bettman told Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean.

thoughts???
(im sure you all know mine)
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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old January 31st, 2007, 00:05
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to show how crazy the scheduling is, today the Islanders are playing the Red Wings for the first time at Nassau Coliseum since the home opener in 2001, Chris Osgood was the Isles goalie
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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old January 31st, 2007, 01:56
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to show how crazy the scheduling is, today the Islanders are playing the Red Wings for the first time at Nassau Coliseum since the home opener in 2001, Chris Osgood was the Isles goalie
Yep i remember that night because the Mike Tyson fight was on right after the game. btw its 3-0 Isles are kicking our ass
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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old January 31st, 2007, 02:01
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yeah, this is actually a shock, they usually don't play this good

that was also the year the Islanders won their first 10-11 games and every game was a sell out that season, now the Isles are beggind for sell outs, but again tix were cheaper and the product was better
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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old January 31st, 2007, 02:07
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Wasn't that the year you signed Peca and played that memorable 7 game playoff series against the Leafs?
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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old January 31st, 2007, 02:11
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yes, that is the only memorable year the Islanders have has since 1983, and thats the last time I actually went to many games, now I go to more Devils and Rangers games than Isles (I still go see all the Isles games at Continental Airlines) and I get Rangers tix for free because of my dad, he works in a building on the same block as Madison Square Garden, good seats
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post #16 of 29 (permalink) Old January 31st, 2007, 02:42
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yes, that is the only memorable year the Islanders have has since 1983, and thats the last time I actually went to many games, now I go to more Devils and Rangers games than Isles (I still go see all the Isles games at Continental Airlines) and I get Rangers tix for free because of my dad, he works in a building on the same block as Madison Square Garden, good seats
When are the Devils moving to there new arena? they showed it on FSN last month when we played in New Jersey and it looked awesome. I'm guessing since the Nets are moving to Brooklyn that will be the Devil's own arena.
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post #17 of 29 (permalink) Old January 31st, 2007, 02:46
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next season, the good news is that there will be public transportation to the arena as Newark is a big city

bad news...Newark is a GHETTO and a half, how are they going to promote hockey there when people are busy shooting each other.
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post #18 of 29 (permalink) Old January 31st, 2007, 02:52
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The announcers here in Detroit were just talking about the Loungo trade the Islanders made and how if they just kept him and used there other #1 pick on someone else instead of a goalie they might be one of the best teams right now.


There are rumors here about the Wings building a new arena soon and one site they have talked about is Tiger stadium, that would be insane since that area is as GHETTO as it gets and people there cant even name one player on the team...
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post #19 of 29 (permalink) Old January 31st, 2007, 02:55
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same thing as the Yankees, everybody who is smart takes the train to the game, the few blocks around the stadium aren't bad but a little further its a mess

the Meadowlands is in the middle of no where (they plan to build a huge mall though), you should see during the Red Bull games, so many parking spaces there but only 5,000-10,000 show up for the Red Bull games

never been to a football game but I went to a sold out AC Milan - Manchester United match at Giants Stadium and it took me 2 hours just to get out of the complex, and I almost ran over a few guinneas tailgated after the match
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post #20 of 29 (permalink) Old January 31st, 2007, 02:59
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the Meadowlands is in the middle of no where (they plan to build a huge mall though), you should see during the Red Bull games, so many parking spaces there but only 5,000-10,000 show up for the Red Bull games
Reminds me of the old Pontiac Silverdome its absolutely in the middle of nowhere... not a bad area but you cant find anything around it you need to drive miles just for a gas station.

btw its's 3-3 in OT and DiPietro just made a great save
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