By Arizona Coyotes I mean the Phoenix Coyotes. You remember them, the team who has been riding a tumultuous roller coaster filled with bankruptcy and buying and selling and potentially moving and you name it. Just hearing the name Jim Balsillie sends a shiver down my spine.
I’m one of the hopeful that prays the team can stay in the arena in Glendale so that Coyotes fans can keep their beloved team at home. With the recent lease agreement with the city of Glendale and the Renaissance Sports & Entertainment group I think that most Coyotes fans can feel pretty confident the team is going to stay. The club will stay 5 years with this current agreement, with the opportunity of an out-clause to Renaissance Sports & Entertainment if the team builds up over $50 million in debt within those 5 years. In this case RSE has the opportunity to move the team to a different location. If they choose to stay for the entirety this lease agreement will last 15 years.
What I see here is an opportunity for the marketing team in Arizona to really get creative and grow hockey club into such a force that the rest of the NHL won’t even remember their struggling years. Anyone recall the Pittsburgh Penguins 10-15 years ago?
Sidney Crosby was just one piece to the puzzle that solved the Penguin’s issues and turned them into the successful organization that is thriving today. The club was nearly done for at the time of the 2004-2005 lockout, but won a true lottery that brought Crosby to the team.
Well, you most likely can not count on the Coyotes drawing a Sidney Crosby, but you can hope they can learn from what other struggling clubs have gone through in the past and use that information to create innovative ways to grow. I believe a huge part of growing the team will be off the ice and in the hands of the marketing team for the hockey club and the city of Glendale.
Here are a few things that I believe the Coyotes hockey club, the city of Glendale and the Renaissance Sports & Entertainment group should do in order to change their image in the league and turn the team into a successful franchise:
1. Heavy social media marketing approach
- Social media is arguabley the biggest source of marketing in play today. It’s current and it’s reach is wide. The Coyotes already have a social media team active, but they could benefit in a huge way by putting tremendous focus on that department and use their best efforts in growing through that marketing outlet.
- The Glendale arena used to be in an area that was in the middle of nowhere, with your only reason to venture out there was to attend a game. Now they have built a plaza surrounding the arena including bars, restaurants, hotels, etc. The city needs to keep focus on building up that area, attracting tourists to sporting events (the Arizona Cardinals stadium is across the street), inviting them to stay for a few days, and showing them was the city has to offer.
3. Keep franchise players around
- Fans get attached to athletes. It’s in their nature. Edmonton Oilers fans will always love Wayne Gretzky, Dallas Stars fans will always love Mike Modano, Anaheim Ducks fans will always love Teemu Selanne. From my personal experience in ticket sales for an NHL team, I noted that many season ticket holders and fans alike would only continue to come to games as long as their favorite franchise player was with the team the next season. Shane Doan most likely takes up a large part of the heart of any Coyotes fan. Keep him around.
There you have it. Good luck to the future of the Arizona Coyotes!
Sources: NHL, Phoenix Coyotes, CBS Sports, HF Boards