Not My NHL

I've said it before and I hope I don't have to keep saying it, but the marekting for the NHL sucks. Case in point is this slickly produced short film and series of commercials created for the 05-06 season. It starts with a guy that is naked except for his hockey pants stretching out in a room full of candles. He is clearly an actor since he has no scars, especially on the face. The theme is Sun Tzu's The Art of War. Quotations from Tzu's writing are flashed on the screen and a woman reads various lines about warriors and victory.

Does the NHL have any idea what a hockey fan is or what appeals to them? Let me clue you in: a naked man in a room full of candles is not it. Is there an emerging Asian hockey fan market that I am not aware of (not that there is anything wrong with that)? The not so Mighty Ducks did the same thing by watering down the hockey product to appeal to a mass, and juvenile audience. Disney used to show cartoons on the big screen as soon as guys started shoving each other on the ice. It's like these guys are ashamed of hockey. If you don't like real hockey then choose another business. Marketing's job is to communicate the best of a product, not try to cover up it's essence with fancy graphics or cartoons.

When is the NHL going to wake up and shine a light on the great things about the sport? Hockey is great because it is:

  • Dangerous
  • High Speed
  • Violent
  • Manly
  • Played by skilled guys that are dedicated and all of the above
I love hockey so my ultimate goal is to have more access to it, but the NHL's marketing is so poor they are driving away potential audiences and alienating current fans. It's no wonder that networks don't want to take a chance of signing a contract with the NHL. You need to do better NHL, and while writing thank you fans! on the ice is patronizing, it is not enough.

If you want I will help you put together a solid marketing plan- I'll even give you the first hour of consulting for free.