Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 7, 2013 09:55 AM
Now that the NHL has reached a tentative deal that could see the players (finally!) hit the ice as soon as next week, let us now praise Nike's role in egging the league to put on its skates and cut a deal.
For years, Nike has ridden on the parade floats of champion athletes, signing big names to sneaker deals in order for fans to covet what the stars wear and to showcase their powerhouse athletes in a wide variety of advertisements (and add their names to buildings on the Nike campus in Oregon, too, of course).
However, the athletic wear giant struck a chord last summer when it touted a more populist message ("Find Your Greatness") during the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Nike hadn’t signed on to sponsor the Games but its name became forever aligned with England’s big event when it aired a commercial that featured everyday athletes competing in other Londons around the globe and urged those watching to find their own greatness.
As winter rolled around in the Western hemisphere, Nike duly hit another nerve for the average fan and athlete. With more than half of the NHL season cancelled due to a stand-off between wealthy owners and wealthy players, Nike launched a campaign on Dec. 19th keying in on the fact that hockey fans were fed up with the lockout and salary cap war — and the sport and its fans didn't need the NHL to survive.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on January 2, 2012 04:14 PM
Bridgestone Tires wasn't the only brand to show its love for hockey (and, in a pre-Super Bowl twist, football) during the NHL Winter Classic telecast today. Honda, the official car of the National Hockey League, released this new spot featuring NHL stars Corey Perry and Nicklas Lidström.
brand vs. brand
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 18, 2011 10:18 AM
In Canada, the name of doughnut-and-coffee shop Tim Hortons is synonymous with NHL hockey. After all, its namesake founder played for 24 seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Buffalo Sabres.
The chain of 2,500 stores across Canada — and a growing footprint of more than 600 locations across the U.S. — has sponsorship partnerships with all seven NHL teams in Canada. Last season, it sponsored the Heritage Classic, the annual outdoor game the NHL has held in recent seasons.
It's also beloved in its homeland for sponsoring free ice rinks to bring skating to the masses, and for being the only coffee chain open early enough to warm up aspiring NHL stars' early morning hockey practices (hot chocolate for the kids, hot coffee for the drivers).
Now Horton’s is looking to keep that relationship growing by sponsoring the 2012 NHL All-Star Game. For its money, it gets title sponsorship of the game, in-arena signage, and a company logo right at center ice.
“From both sides of the border, it makes sense,” York University sports marketing professor Vijay Setlur commented to the Toronto Star. “They know how much the NHL has grown in popularity over the last couple of years and they want to be part of that positive momentum. It doesn’t hurt to have extra (U.S. exposure).”
Setlur noted that the game gives Hortons a chance to “raise its profile in states like New York and Massachusetts, where hockey is popular” and where it would like to grab market share from competitor Dunkin’ Donuts. It's also a chance for Hortons to win some home ice advantage over the biggest rival of its existence: McDonald's.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 14, 2011 04:06 PM
The Angry Birds game may have hit half a billion downloads recently, but the characters have yet to have their own animated show or appear in advertisements or actually represent anything other than the nice slingshotted birds they are.
But that’s all about to change. In the last month came the news of an Angry Birds TV channel and an Angry Birds movie in the works. And now a real, live, skating Angry Bird – with a stick. More precisely, a Hockey Bird.
Toni Kysenius at Rovio Entertainment, the Finnish-based developer of the game, has created the new bird to be the mascot of next year’s Hockey World Championships in Finland and Sweden, according to the International Ice Hockey Federation’s website.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 1, 2011 12:33 PM
Pretty much everybody’s hurting for cash these days: workers, companies, cities.
So it was good news for the struggling city of Rockford, Illinois, when it got BMO Harris Bank — a subsidiary of Canada's Bank of Montreal — to pay for the naming rights to its local arena, turning the Rockford MetroCentre into the BMO Harris Bank Center. When the city negotiated its deal with Harris, though, it agreed to one thing that it couldn’t actually follow up on: secrecy.
The Rockford Star Register has filed all the paperwork and done all the dirty work and, through the wonders of the US Freedom of Information Act, come up with the price Harris paid to the city in order to see its name in lights: $1.3 million over five years.
That kind of cash is certainly needed. After all, the venue (home to the American Hockey League's Rockford IceHogs, now sponsored by the bank as part of the naming deal) lost $893,260 in the year that ended June 30, according to the Star Register, a loss that was made up with a $1.1 million subsidy from the city.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 26, 2011 10:00 AM
From 1972-1996, the Winnipeg Jets skated to three division championships but never gained any higher accolades. No conference championships. And certainly no Stanley Cups.
So they were moved to Arizona to become the Phoenix Coyotes and help spread the NHL brand to new markets. That didn’t go so well. Neither did having an NHL team in Georgia. The Atlanta Thrashers, founded in 1999, couldn’t find a way to make the finances work down South, so True North Sports and Entertainment bought the team and moved it back to Winnipeg. You can be sure that Jets fans were happy to have an NHL team back again.
But with the move came a need for rebranding and the all-important task of making a new logo. Last week, sport-card manufacturer Upper Deck was getting frustrated that the Jets hadn’t come up with a logo yet because it was holding up production of next season’s cards. They don’t have anything to pout about now.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 15, 2011 02:00 PM
Before every major sports season gets underway, Upper Deck churns out endless numbers of cards to satisfy every seven- and 67-year-old card junkie.
But this year, all those NHL card junkies out there that are looking for a new Ilya Bryzgalov card now that he’s joined the Philadelphia Flyers or a Mike Richards card with him wearing his new Los Angeles Kings duds, they will all have to just sit tight.
The reason things are slightly behind schedule is because the Atlanta Thrashers were purchased by True North Sports and Entertainment Group, which moved the team to Winnipeg. While the team name was obvious – the Jets, like the NHL team that left town in 1996 – Winnipeg’s logo has yet to be announced.
This is what’s holding things up, the London Free Press reports, since the logo plays a key part in the card’s design.Continue reading...