Thursday, June 14, 2007

I'm Only Signing Up if You Throw in a Pair of 'Ice Girls'

Historic Moments in NHL Marketing (I'm being serious this time)


The folks in the New York Islanders' marketing department have always been ahead of the curve (unlike the rest of the organization). They were the first to make virtually every second of the team's day (from morning skate to post game report) available on their website in a feature called 'Islanders TV', and they were the creators of the hockey cheerleaders on ice/ice girls/Hooters on skates fad that has been going around the NHL. Today they reached out to us, the People, in a different way.

"The Islanders are challenging their fans with a passion for writing to start their own Islanders blog. Fans with existing Islanders blogs are welcome, too.

But here's the kicker: all chosen bloggers will be given the opportunity to cover select home games and practices with special media accommodations.

We're setting up a BLOG BOX in the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum – sort of like a press box, but away from the scribes and broadcasters because we know you want to cheer, shout, have a pretzel and enjoy the game experience on your own terms.

We will provide you with a media pass for a few games next season and a seat in the NYI BLOG BOX. You will also receive your own set of Game Notes when you enter the Coliseum Press Gate. All you have to do is bring your note pad and/or voice recorder and cheer as loudly as you want. After the game you attend, we will set up an area where you can toss a few questions at a coach or players, based on your requests and their availability."

I'm really not too sure what to make of this.

From a fan's perspective, it seems pretty cool. 'I get to talk to the players, cover the team, go to a game (presumably) for free? Sweet!' From a marketing perspective, the team is trying to spark some interest in it's product by reaching out to an emerging demographic. Great idea. From a blogger's perspective, I think to myself 'other than some nice perks, what exactly is this doing for me?'

It's an interesting situation. For one thing, most bloggers don't usually rely on 'inside info' and player interviews, so it might not help all that much. Eric McErlain from Off Wing Opinion pretty much scoffs at the whole idea, and to an extent he's right. For serious bloggers, such as himself, there really doesn't seem to be a whole lot of exciting things to it. There's a little irony in McErlain's opinion, though. As he scoffs at the idea of bloggers in a box, many MSM people are scoffing at the idea of bloggers. Let's not repeat the mistakes of our forefathers, eh? On the other side of all this, this is (presumably) the first time any sports team/organization has seriously reached out to bloggers, which should be noted. Whatever you believe, we are probably going to have to wait until the season starts to really see how much of an impact this has.

It's really just an altogether interesting situation, and I don't really know what to make of it. I've been thinking about what I was going to write for the last few hours after the news broke, and I can't say that this is awesome, terrible or somewhere in between. It's a great, original idea. There's no doubt about that. How much of an impact this will have remains to be seen. It's hard to say that it will be a huge success/failure and if it will have any negligible impact on the blogosphere. At least they know we're out there, I guess.

What I can say from experience is that when Chris Botta (who's an awesome guy, by the way) says that the team has received 50-100 responses already, half of those blogging efforts won't make it to the start of the season. You know, people will get bored of it and what not. Despite that, I expect the Islander blogosphere to get very crowded, very soon.

One thing that I have to point out, based on the interview with DeadSpin, is that it doesn't seem like the bloggers are going to be put up high in the rafters anywhere near the other media personnel. Rather, it sounds like they'll be somewhere with the general public.

"Thinking right now is there will be room for about a dozen [Bloggers] at each game, but that is very much subject to change. Most likely location at the Coliseum is a section we have in mind at the top of the 200s, a good view right off the concourse about halfway up."

You don't have to know a lot about the Coliseum to figure it out, but it sounds as if the Bloggers will be placed somewhere in the normal audience. The Coliseum does have these odd little 1970s 'luxury boxes' scattered around it. They are these groups of about 10-15 seats that are walled and scattered around within the general seating arrangement, right above where staircases from the upper bowl exit to the concourse. That's my guess as to where the Bloggers will be boxed. Those boxes do have about four TVs per, though. It could be worse.

Something to note: You all know of my strong Islander convictions. I fucking bleed orange and blue. Before BMR was born, I was actually thinking of starting an Islander blog. Then I decided to create this piece of garbage instead. I wonder what I would have been saying had this website been called 'Mike Bossy Rocks'. Honestly, I made the right decision. That team just makes me depressed more often than not. At least now I get to laugh at other team's misfortunes.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not scoffing at the idea of bloggers in the press box, I'm scoffing at the idea that anybody needs to be afraid of the idea.

    What I really wrote was that the Islanders program was like a press pass with training wheels, and that there was no reason that I could see, based on my experience in Washington, why bloggers shouldn't get regular press passes just like anyone else.

    After all, that was the whole point of working on the effort to develop guidelines to help both teams and bloggers figure out how to work with one another.

    The Islanders are taking baby steps here, when there isn't any reason why they shouldn't go all the way.

    What I did write, however, was that in the absence of any other option, Islanders blogs like Islanders Army and The View From Section 317 ought to take advantage of this program.