Kukla's Korner Hockey
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 NFL playoffs and other sports that crowd the U.S. calendar. But more important, NHL owners no longer lose their regular Saturday night games, by far the most profitable on the schedule.
The all-star game is returning to Montreal.
The Canadiens will host the big contest during the 2008-09 season, which coincides with the club’s 100th anniversary.
The announcement was made by the NHL today in Dallas, home to the all-star game Wednesday.
Breakdown (pdf file) of players participating in the different skills competition.
The NHL will stay the course and will not change the regular schedule for at least one more year.
That was the decision made the the league’s board of governors on Tuesday in an effort to deal with its much-debated scheduling concerns.
Two players enjoying stellar seasons have different approaches to a few days away from the grind of the NHL.
On the morning of his first day at an All-Star celebration, Jason Blake found himself singing “Happy Birthday” to a 5-year-old patient in the bone marrow transplant unit at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.
continued... Shanny prefers to stay in his room and catch a movie…
Notice the blue tint in AO’s visor!
Pic via the AP
Suit up boys!!!
(L-R) Larry Murphy, Luc Robitaille, Mario Lemieux, Paul Coffey, Adam Oates, Raymond Bourque, Al MacInnis, Phil Housley and Mark Messier. (click pic to enlarge)
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
As the parent of a 15-year-old hockey player who loves everything new that finds its way into the stores, my first question for Matthew O’Toole, president and CEO of Reebok-CCM, involved the price point of these new NHL uniforms, launched Monday as part of the All-Star Game celebrations.
O’Toole hedged a little in his response, suggesting that the price wouldn’t be a whole lot different from what a replica jersey costs now – despite the time and effort his firm put into researching and developing the new sweater, pants and sock system.
“At this point, we haven’t spent a lot of time on retail pricing,” answered O’Toole. “We’re really focused on getting the performance right for these guys (NHL players) now. At some point soon, we’ll talk about the marketing plan.” When I pressed him for something more definitive, he suggested: “It won’t be as much different as you would perceive from the top-end stuff.”
By George James Malik
Last weekend, Brett Hull reignited the cry for bigger nets. On Tuesday, Mark Cuban discussed combining U.S. and Canadian TV ratings to promote the league. Wednesday and Thursday, the hype about the NHL’s “Uniform System” gave way to a “first look. At the All-Star game, the GM’s and Board of Governors will probably agree to disagree on scheduling adjustments—and they’ll talk about a few topics that will undoubtedly be “leaked” to the press to gauge public opinion.
Wednesday, Bettman will deliver his once-traditional All-Star break “State of the Game” speech, and all, undoubtedly, will be well in the commissioner’s opinion. The league will be declared healthy, though Bettman will grouse about so many teams pushing the upper limit of the salary cap. He’ll claim that the dismal TV ratings both north and south of the 49th parallel aren’t worrisome, and we’ll hear a classic case of denial; Bettman will claim that he never told fans that ticket prices and salaries were irrevocably intertwined before the lockout. Bettman’s a believer in pushing the game forward; empty seats, horrible TV ratings, and a league-wide malaise are just “details.”
With all due respect to the NHL’s more fan-friendly policies, Chairman Mao seems to forget that you can’t make a Great Leap Forward when your foundation’s sagging.
from Mark Spector of the National Post via Canada.com,
What really tips the scales, though, is what Bettman set out to acquire right from the start. Under his guidance, the NHL has gone through Fox, ABC, and ESPN, and now NBC and Versus in ever-decreasing rights deals. Hockey has reached rock bottom on the television front: a network deal that is worth nothing until NBC sees a highly unlikely profit; a cable deal with a channel that is carried scarcely throughout the States, and has returned national numbers in the 195,000-viewers range.
It was a helluva try, Gary. But it’s just not working.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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