Feb 24, 2008

Jersey retirements: too many in the NHL?

FaceOff.com has "head2head" debate on whether or not NHL teams retire too many numbers. Read it here...

Feb 23, 2008

In-game marriage proposal goes bad

This is probably a set-up ... still funny to watch nonetheless. (From the Houston Rockets.)

Valentines Day Proposal Goes Wrong - Watch more free videos

Feb 17, 2008

Ads on jersey, ads on rinkboards & more

Interesting article today in the Toronto Star about in-arena advertising in the National Hockey League: Is this the NHL's new look? Some highlights:
  • "...several NHL goalies have asked the league and its players union to consider starting a so-called Goaltender's Club. Revenue-generating initiatives for the club could include placing a corporate logo on the jerseys of the league's 60-odd goalies... on-uniform ads might generate upwards of $30 million a season for the NHL."

  • "One proposal shows Roloson's blue and orange team jersey with a small Rexall logo above the Oilers symbol. The drugstore chain's symbol could also be "sublimated (dyed right into the fabric) on a portion of the sleeve." A second proposal depicts Brodeur's Red Devils jersey. The team's NJ on the chest is positioned above a large tag for the bank UBS and adjacent to an RBC logo. Bank Morgan Stanley's symbol could be featured on the goalie's sleeves and shoulders. A third proposal shows Detroit goalie Hasek's red jersey, again with the Red Wings' logo front and centre above the larger symbol of insurance company AIG. The company's logo could also be displayed on the sleeves and on the bottom of the jersey's back. The presentation also suggests goalies be allowed to choose the jersey's colour and depicts Hasek's in black, blue, green and white styles."
  • "(Ritch) Winter has already been involved with one effort to narrow the gap between uniforms and ads. When he represented goalie Grant Fuhr, then with the Edmonton Oilers, Winter reached an agreement for Fuhr to receive $50,000 from soft-drink maker Pepsi in exchange for wearing a pair of pads that had been fashioned to resemble a blue, red and white Pepsi can in the 1989 All-Star Game. Former NHL president John Ziegler scotched that effort."

  • "The introduction of ads on arena rink boards in the late 1970s was a turning point for the NHL's ties to corporate North America, say several sports-sponsorship experts. Some 55 years after the six hockey teams banded together to create the NHL, in 1972 The Gillette Co. wanted to build awareness for its new, twin-blade razor, the Trac 2. Gillette agreed to pay about $10,000 to place a five-metre-wide ad on the boards at centre ice in the Moscow arena where Paul Henderson and Team Canada would make history against their Soviet rivals. "
  • "It wasn't long before NHL owners were debating whether they should follow suit. The Minnesota North Stars were the first franchise to debut rink board ads. The team sold eight pairs at $3,000 a pair. Throughout the 1980s, more ads on rink boards began to sprout in NHL arenas."

  • "Not everyone embraced the idea. In 1980, CBS televised a hockey game at Madison Square Garden in New York and refused to show any of the rink-board ads. Whenever players skated near the ads, the camera focused on the players' skates, gambling the puck would appear in the picture."

  • "There are also subtle ways to spur revenue. A year ago, the NHL ordered rink-board ads, which sell for as much as $600,000 a pair for a season, to be reduced in width from 3.6 to 3.2 metres, so the league could squeeze more ads in rinks, says Toronto sports marketer Bob Stellick, a former Maple Leafs marketing executive."
  • "To be sure, the NHL is far from the first league to face challenges and criticism as it builds closer ties to its corporate supporters. In 1998, organizers of the Rose Bowl began selling naming rights to the historic college football game when it struck a deal with AT&T. And NASCAR has turned itself into a marketing juggernaut thanks to its racing teams' seamless ties to team sponsors.

  • "Even on-uniform ads have become more commonplace. On Jan. 24, 1976, at a soccer stadium in the middle-class English city of Kettering, an otherwise unremarkable band of players trudged onto the field straight into history books. Wearing red tops with long white sleeves and lettering that read "Kettering Tyres" across the front, the Kettering Town Poppies became the first in British soccer history to compete in a pro game wearing jerseys emblazoned with a sponsor's logo."

  • Read the entire article...