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Posts Tagged ‘Detroit Red Wings’

The Importance of the Experience – NHL v. NBA

In Insight on June 10, 2009 at 9:37 am

So often we (marketing bloggers) write about the theoretical or our own experiences, which are influenced by the SocMed Marketing echo chamber we inhabit, that it’s nice to see a fresh perspective on things. Can’t get more fresh that seeing it through the eyes of a 10-year old.

My son and I can't wait till Friday! Go Wings!

My son and I can't wait till Friday! Go Wings!

Last night was a big one for sports fans, especially in the New York area. Mets v. Phillies and Yanks v. Red Sox would normally get top billing, but with the NBA Finals and NHL Stanley Cup finals in full swing, regular season baseball takes a seat in the back. So, I asked my son, “NBA Finals or Stanley Cup?” No hesitation – playoff hockey was his choice.

So, what factors led to this decision? Yes, I’m a Red Wings fan, but my son hasn’t seemed to pick that up as he has for the Steelers, a team we both root for. On the other side, he’s certainly gotten in to Dwight Howard of the NBA’s Orlando Magic, often asking if Superman (Howard’s nickname) was playing tonight. My son has played on basketball teams for a couple of years, but has never played hockey. On the surface it would seem to be a wash, with basketball maybe even having an edge. So, why the interest in hockey?

Back in February  my son and I went with some friends to a mid-season New Jersey Nets game against the San Antonio Spurs.  Spurs won easy against a Nets team that put little to no effort into the game, in front of a crowd that was listless at best – thus creating a symbiotic death-spiral of intertia.

Then in April my son had the opportunity to go to a New Jersey Devils game. An NHL  playoff game. An NHL Game 7 playoff game! The one where the Devils gave up to goals in the last 72 seconds to end their season. Probably the most dramatic sporting event, outside of a FIFA World Cup final, you can attend.

So, now my son has a school project – he decides to create a New Jersey Devils t-shirt. He has a choice of what to watch, he chooses NHL hockey. During the game he says he’s interested in maybe playing hockey too.

You simply can’t underestimate the power of a truly compelling live experience. Whether it’s an event or just the engagement a consumer has at your store, what are you doing to make it memorable?


NHL Develops a Marquee Event to Call its Own

In Innovation, TSMWIF on December 31, 2008 at 10:07 am

I’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship with the NHL. Growing up in Los Angeles, I wasn’t a real big hockey fan. Sure, I went to an occasional game and when the Kings got Gretzky I became  slightly more than just the casual fan.  By the late-80s / early-90s I could probably name several players on each team. My fandom probably peaked around the 1996-1997. At that time I really liked the  Detroit Red Wings. They had arguably the best rivalry in sports at the time with the Colorado Avalanche and they won their first Stanley Cup in something like 40 years. To top it off, I was involved with the Stanley Cup home video release and I got to meet several of the players – all good guys.

Since then, like many people, the NHL has receded in my life. I chalk it up to too many new franchises and the adoption of a points system that is confusing, at least to me.  I’ve been critical of the NHL before on this blog, but I’ve also praised it, specifically for its Winter Classic. The Winter Classic, a regular season NHL game played outdoors on New Year’s Day originated in 2008 with the Buffalo Sabres hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins at Ralph Wilson Stadium (where the NFL Buffalo Bills play) in front of the largest crowd in NHL history – 71,217.

Nice job, NHL

Nice job, NHL

Fantastic idea, great execution. Well done NHL. So, how do they try and top that for the 2009 edition? How about this: pit two of the original six NHL franchises – the Chicago Blackhawks and the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings – and have them play at Wrigley Field (home to Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs).

Here’s what I really like about the Winter Classic concept – the NHL isn’t trying to be a “me too” with this one. The NBA and MLB do great All-Star games. The NFL and MLB do great championships with the Super Bowl and World Series respectively (no offense to hockey fans, I think the Stanley Cup is a great tradition, but it isn’t as mainstream as the Super Bowl or World Series).  The NFL and MLB also have strong season openers.

So the NHL created something entirely new and something it would be very difficult for other leagues to copy – that’s a fantastic Blue Ocean Strategy.

In addition, the NHL has created a ton of hooks for the casual fan to get caught on. Like wine? They’ve created a Winter Classic vintage.  Are you a sports traditionalist? Check out these sweet Red Wings and Blackhawks throwback jerseys.  Art lover? Find out about the sports statuary connection between Chicago and Detroit. There’s loads more of course. You should go check out the Red Wings Hockeytown blog and go follow Twitter monster Shannon Paul. She works for the Red Wings and I’m sure will be providing fantastic insight and inside info to her followers.

To me, this is how the NHL comes back. Creating a unique experience that honors the great traditions of this sport, which for my money, is still just about the best live sporting event you can attend, and put’s a new spin on it.  I hope the NHL continues to try innovative efforts like the Winter Classic.

Hockey: America’s Forgotten Sport

In TSMWIF on June 5, 2008 at 12:14 pm

The Stanley Cup finals wrapped up last night as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Pittsburgh Penguins four games to two. It was good to see two traditional hockey cities go at it, but clearly the NHL, like the recently run Indianapolis 500, is struggling for relevance and audience share.

The Indy 500 would certainly have benefitted by Danica Patrick taking the checkered flag, and the NHL probably was secretly wishing the Pens had hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup. Here’s WordPress Marketing Blogger Network’s Marketing Integrity  on Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, the up and coming star that hockey is hoping will restore it to prominence.