Winter Classic 2: Chicago Bugaloo Marketing Targets Making Fans Warm, Presumably Fuzzy


Sports Business Journal

Sports Business Journal

The NHL is certainly trying it’s hand at this whole “marketing” thing this year.  Recently, Street & Smith’s publications have been reporting on some of the tricks the league has up it’s sleeve for the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day, without misspelling player names.

First, there’s the “Lost Logo Challenge”, according to SBJ:

The “Lost Logo Challenge” asks TV viewers and the 40,000 expected at the game to find the lone NHL player without a Reebok logo on his jersey. TV viewers can enter the challenge online, while attendees will be given Reebok and Winter Classic branded binoculars and be able to text in their entries. All entrants naming the correct player will be entered into a random drawing, with two winners receiving trips to the Stanley Cup Finals for four. Non-winning entrants get discounts on Reebok merchandise.

That’s a pretty sweet deal, and a fun way to watch the game.  But there’s some small downer news on the advertising side for WC2: CB:

NHL officials are mum on additional marketing activation for the game. League execs are still hoping to sell a title sponsorship package. Pepsi’s Amp Energy was title sponsor of last year’s game. Sources said Chicago-based Sears was close to titling Winter Classic II, but recently decided against it.

That must mean we won’t get the Sears/Chris Osgood “Yo Mama So Fat Contest” promo this year.

But NBC and the NHL are doing their best to keep interest in hockey beyond the Winter Classic with a weekly (well, semi-weekly based on NBC’s broadcast schedule) contest that I think should be a sign of things to come in the NHL-NBC partnership: NBC Universal product integration:

According to Sports Business Daily (via Sports Media Watch), NBC has decided to utilize its’ Universal theme park partnership to score NHL fans a sweet trip out of the cold:

During each NHL telecast on NBC, two sets of fans wearing team colors will be pre-selected prior to the game. The group wearing the colors of the winning team will win a trip to Universal Studios in Orlando.

That is a pretty sweet deal.  Ratings toppled for the NHL on NBC to record lows post-Winter Classic.  Any reason to keep fans watching.  That said, NBC should use more of the Universal brand to promote hockey.  They do an acceptable job for now, as if you’ve been to the NBC Experience Store in New York, they play a video of NHL highlights on regular rotation on the big screens there.  But get the entire empire involved.  More Stanley Cup on 30 Rock type stuff.  Hell, CNBC’s not doing anything on the weekends.  Give them a package of games using essentially the NBC logos and announcers.  It’s a simple way to promote the game, and just find a way to draw it up in the profit sharing agreement so both parties can keep making money. 

The NHL and NBC need to keep working together, as they have on the Winter Classic promo spot.  Stuff like this is going to help get people interested in the mundane package of regular season games NBC shows, and hopefully, pay off come playoff time.

One Response to Winter Classic 2: Chicago Bugaloo Marketing Targets Making Fans Warm, Presumably Fuzzy

  1. John says:

    the thing that hurts the NHL more than anything is cable exclusive deals and that won’t happen unless it gets rid of that deal.

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