The Malik Report
by George Malik on 11/14/13 at 05:30 PM ET
Back in 2007, when the NHL rolled out its Team Name dot NHL dot com-streamlining of websites, the Rangers sued the league because they'd been partnering with MSG Network, a.k.a. their ownership, to post content controled by the team and delivering advertising revenue to the team and only the team on a website with the former URL NYRangers.com.
At the time, the Rangers argued that the NHL was violating antitrust laws, and the league responded by saying that it would fine the Rangers $100,000 per day that they didn't comply with the league's format.
The sides came to an agreement, and all 30 teams agreed to essentially surrender a big chunk of their merchandising and advertising rights to the "NHL.com Network," but six years later, the Rangers' website is essentially a front for the Rangers' own content-producing Blueshirts United website, and the same's true for the Washington Capitals' website, which sends you to Ted Leonsis' "Monumental Network" for any real content.
All of that context-setting brings me to the Red Wings, who decided to make their Hockeytown Authentics catalog available online for the first time this week. I thought, "Oh hey, that's great, you finally don't have to call HTA and *ask what they have in stock* or whether anything looks 'cool' to get merchandise, which is good for people who don't want to shop on Shop.NHL.com given their brutal customer service and don't live close the Joe or HTA."
I wasn't looking at the fine print, however, and the Wings' ordering information reads as follows:
HOW TO ORDER
CALL IN YOUR ORDER:
Monday through Friday
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET
FAX IN YOUR ORDER:
Fax your completed order form to 313-471-3002
Faxing? In this day and age? Who has a fax machine? Is this a Sifl n Olly Precious Roy commercial, where Olly says, "It's the 90's, folks, welcome to the future!"
So why are the Red Wings entering the digital merchandising age via the warm and fuzzy sounds of dial-up?
The retail link at DetroitRedWings.com takes users to the NHL's official merchandise shop, and under the league's revenue-sharing arrangement, revenue from retail sales on the site is split equally among the 30 teams.
That means Detroit gets 1/30 of the profit from a $214.95 Red Wings Winter Classic jersey sold at shop.nhl.com.
But in-person – at Joe Louis Arena and Hockeytown Authentics – and phone or faxed sales from the new catalog, are unshared Red Wings revenue.
NHL teams are not permitted to have their own online retail shops. By contrast, the National Football League allows teams to create merchandise deals with third-party providers, and the teams keep the revenue from those sales.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.