Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Marketing the Game: Celebrities and the NHL
Vince Vaughn at the 2009 Winter Classic.
One of my roommates here at school is an Ottawa Senators "fan." I use the quotation marks because he doesn't watch any games during the season, he only knows three to five current players on the roster, and above all has absolutely no clue where they are in the standings. All that matters to him is two things. First, Mike Fisher stays with the team. And second, the Senators win in our annual trip to Scotiabank Place when the Rangers visit the Sens in October or November of each season (three years and running the Rangers have lost this game, kill me now).
I subjected you to all of that because he just started talking the whole Mike Fisher-Carrie Underwood relationship thing/fling/news; weeks after I mentioned it to him. This got me thinking about other NHL celebrity fans. Jeremy Piven has been interviewed at least once if not twice at Ranger games this year, both of which seemed forced and awkward. Spike Lee was also caught at the garden as well. I've seen Pat Sajak at Kings and Capitals games, and plenty of stars showed up for the 2009 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Do not get me wrong, having Celebs at the games are great. It no doubt brings attention to the game along with probably making a couple of fans out of dumb Americans that follow celebrities. But like I said above with the Jeremy Piven-New York Rangers interviews, most interviews just seemed forced and fake. I guess what I'm really trying to get at is, the NHL seems so desperate when it comes to recognizing public figures at its games. Personally, I think the NHL should be very nonchalant about it. Sure, do a story about them at the Winter Classic and ask some simple questions. Sure, take a picture of Hilary Duff and Carrie Underwood once or twice and ask them their opinions during the game. But after that, just let them be. I understand celebrities are used to attention, but don't bring it to them when they are trying to relax watching a great game in a great sport that is under-appreciated to begin with.
This isn't really a big issue, but it just seems like anytime a famous face is in the Garden during a Rangers game, they have someone sticking a mic in their face and asking awkward questions about their next entertainment ploy. I guess I just don't want to drive away any star power the league has to begin with. The league should act like the cool older brother to the group of little sister and friends, where they say hello, talk to them from now and then, but at the same time just let them be most of the time.
Any thoughts on the issue for the few of you loyal businessmen/women out there?