SBD/April 13, 2011/Franchises

NHL Panthers' Michael Yormark: Ads On Jerseys The "Next Great Frontier"

Yormark thinks there is an opportunity for branding on NHL jerseys
Sunrise Sports & Entertainment President & COO Michael Yormark indicated that he would put ads on Panthers jerseys "if the NHL allowed it," according to Greg Wyshynski of YAHOO SPORTS. Yormark: "Obviously, the jerseys are the next great frontier, but obviously there needs to be a lot of thought that goes into it, in terms of how you want to market the jersey as it relates to sponsorship. I don't think that we want to get close to what NASCAR has done. That's not to say what they do is wrong, because it works within their sport and culture. I don't think that works in the National Hockey League ... but I do think there's an opportunity for some branding on the jerseys.” Wyshynski wrote the Panthers’ “promotions are legendary: Witness the 'Name Your Price' season ticket plan or their reaction to LeBron James taking his talents to South Beach,” when the team launched a “Seat For A King” season-ticket campaign with lower level tickets for $23 and upper level tickets for $6. The team has also been “known to market directly to opposing fan bases, touting Panthers games as part of a vacation experience” for Flyers and Canadiens fans. Yormark: "The most important thing is to fill seats and sell tickets. I'm not going to apologize for marketing to fans in Montreal or Philadelphia or Detroit. To have 16,000 or 17,000 people in the building, it's great theater." The team recently sold naming rights for the rink at BankAtlantic Center to Lexus, the first deal of its kind in the NHL. Yormark said that “finding this new avenue for Lexus was vital in ‘maintaining’ their relationship, which was due to expire at the end of the season.” Yormark added that there is “interest from his peers” in learning more about the deal. Yormark: "We've gotten a lot of calls. From a marketing standpoint, I'd like to think we're out of the box. We like to do things on the cutting edge" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/12).
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