Archive for June, 2011

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Marketing to Women Sports Fans

June 26, 2011

I was catching up on some of my e-newsletter reading at the office when I came across this MediaPost column in my queue. In case you don’t feel like clicking through and reading the whole thing, the gist of the article is that women remain an untapped market for sports teams, that teams are often just scratching the surface of what it means to get females involved with their particular sport.

However, do females really need special marketing tactics? The advertising/marketing side of my brain says they absolutely do. But the sports fan side of my brain says no. The game should be what sells or creates fandom, not special marketing techniques. For example, ladies should be able to appreciate the finer points of a 5-on-3 penalty kill without having to be talked down to or reminded that the players are pretty when their helmets are off.

I do have complaints about three things the writer mentions (or doesn’t) in his column.

1. He neglects to mention the NHL as a major sport. I understand that for 95% of America, the NHL is just the sport played by some crazy Canadians with a few, good, honest Americans and no-good Russians thrown in. (And if this Nielsen poll is to be believed, America really doesn’t know it’s ass from a hockey puck when it comes to the NHL. Take a look at number 6 on the list to see what I mean.) However, I would think the most recent ratings from this year’s Cup Finals would have shown that the NHL is still alive and kicking.

2. Using Alyssa Milano’s apparel line as an example of connecting with female fans. While I do commend her for trying to make sports apparel more lady-friendly, it appears to lack some mass market appeal. Baby tees and form fitting shirts only appeal to certain ladies who can fit into them. If you don’t have the perfect body type, most ladies sports apparel is off-limits to you. And don’t even get me started on pink apparel, LOL.

3. Suggesting that women will pay more attention to the sport if we’re given more human interest features. This idea is both bad and good. On the bad side, everyone complains during the Olympics when we’re told the sad tale of woe of the athlete from Tralalalastan who survived brutal beatings, the death of his parents, the loss of a beloved dog and a cross country run barefoot to make the games. We all just want the story to end so we can watch the action. The stories will write themselves. What’s the old adage? Show not tell? Show me the competition so I can determine who to root for. Don’t tell me who to root for.

On the other hand, I know I have advocated that intermission breaks during Sabres games should include more of the human interest stuff. Will seeing team members visiting sick kids or palling around with Sabretooth create new fans? Probably not. But it does bring forth the personality of the players on the ice. And most of these players do have personality & character in spades. It’s a very fine line, I guess. You don’t want to alienate people by forcing them to root for the guy with the biggest sob story, but you also need to promote the guys on the field/ice.

I can completely sympathize with teams as they tackle this marketing conundrum. You don’t want to be patronizing, ignore women completely nor turn your players into pieces of meat for women to ogle. It’s situations like this that make you almost wish the product on the field/ice was enough to sell itself.

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Vancouver

June 16, 2011

It’s a hell of a first world problem that we have when we riot over the results of a sporting event. Other nations riot over things like democracy & human rights. We riot over the end result of a seven game series that at its essence is nothing more than grown men running around on ice, fighting over a little rubber disc. We’re a lucky lot, and need to do more to remember that.

I know the people that rioted last night are not representative of Canucks fans and the good people of Vancouver. I feel so bad for those Canucks fans that not only have to deal with their personal angst over watching their team lose Game 7, but also have to deal with being painted with the world’s widest brush and seen as nothing more than a bunch of rabblerousers and spoilsports. They are not like that, and they deserve better than that.

I have been tremendously impressed by the social media response to what happened last night. Vancouverites are fighting back and letting people know that they will not tolerate actions like that and are working to find and label those responsible for the damage. They are also working to clean up their city. You know what, they shouldn’t have had to. Neither should the municipal government for that matter. If it wouldn’t have hindered city life, those people responsible for the damage should  have cleanup & repair as a major part of their punishment in addition to whatever confinement/monetary penalties the court system hands down.

I hope that if the Sabres ever win/lose the Cup, that Buffalo fans remember our shocked reactions to what happened last night. We are Buffalonians. We are hockey fans. We are better than that.

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Spotted…I Think

June 10, 2011

- Someone please tell me that I haven’t completely hallucinated that the gentleman in the grey shirt at the right of this photo is a Buffalo Sabre. Or does this Sabre just have an identical twin out there in Buffalo?

This is about the level of hockey blogging that I can handle at the moment. I’m tired of reading about the following:

  1. The Canucks being chokers
  2. The (alleged) classless idiocy of both fanbases
  3. The lack of clarity regarding headshots (you would think that this would be something we all can agree on!!!)
  4. Chris Drury coming back to Buffalo
  5. The whining about having to travel to Winnipeg next year. It’s Winnipeg, not a Siberian gulag.

As much as Twitter & the blogosphere are making me cranky lately, I do have to say that I’ve been enjoying the little vacation snippets that the Twitter-engaged NHLers are sharing. These guys are not only solidifying their popularity with their own fans, but also making many new ones just by being entertaining and open to sharing a small portion of their lives. Of course, it’s all fun and games until someone pulls a weiner (that’s what she said), so we’ll just enjoy things while they last.

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