With hockey season just around the corner (finally something other than baseball to watch!) I was hoping to brainstorm ways to get non-fans interested in our beloved sport. One of the problems the NHL faces when it comes to network television is smaller audiences. Due to the lack of marketing, hockey has fallen to a niche sport (please note I know its still boss in Canada, and I know that there are passionate fans in the US, just not as many as it seems there used to be). Since it is obvious the NHL is not interested in spending money on marketing, I have come up with some ideas for the fans to help take the sport back up to prominence. Some of these may work, some may not, but I feel they may be worth a try. Please note, it is much easier to convert a non fan than someone who doesn't like hockey, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try.
1) Take a non fan to a game. If you don't live near an arena, take them to a bar you know shows the game with a good rowdy crowd. The latter may be hard to find nowadays in some areas, but if you know of a place it is really tough not to get into a game if everyone around you is into it. If you do take someone to a game, take them to a rivalry game (i.e. a Detroit game in St. Louis). It is very hard not to have a good time at one of those and hopefully the added aspect of the rivalry will at least get them checking scoreboards every so often for the rest of the season.
2) If you have kids, and they have a bunch of friends in the neighborhood, get them into street hockey. The future fans of any sport are kids. If they love to play the game, they will love to watch the game. Also, nothing bonds a parent with a child then watching a game together (I would have said father and son, but I do know a mother and daughter that would kill me if I just went with the male gender here). Getting back to street hockey, I am shocked how few kids seem to play it nowadays. I still see it, but when I was a teen you couldn't drive through a subdivision without kids having to move their net out of the way. I guess video games are more popular now, but when I was young one of the main reasons I became a hockey fan is because me and my friends played every day.
3) Try and arrange a pregame party somewhere before a game with your friends. If you have friends that are casual fans, they will remember how much more fun they had if you all meet up at a resteraunt/bar down the street from the arena before the game where you can hang with other friends, eat some wings, knock down some beers, and talk hockey. Just meeting people at the game is ok, but the best nights seem to start early. Along with this, if your team wins, go to a near arena bar after the game, trust me casual fans will remember how much fun they have.
4) Arrange a roadie to a minor league game. For St. Louisan's, Peoria is 2 hours away. Taking a couple hardcore and a couple casual fans on a roadtrip will get everyone thinking hockey the whole week preceding it. It is a fun time.
Anyone else have any suggestions, feel free to post them in comment.
good blog. street hockey does create fans. im a product of the street hockey era. CAR!!!