SBD/January 31, 2013/Franchises

Canadiens Using Behind-The-Scenes Reality TV Series To Reconnect With Fans

The Canadiens are "now front and centre again, not just on the ice but with the club’s efforts to make amends to fans" for the lockout and the "new 24CH television reality series that offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Habs," according to Brenda Branswell of the Montreal GAZETTE. Canadiens Exec VP & COO Kevin Gilmore "acknowledged fan anger over the lockout." But he also said the team is blessed to have fans "whose fandom run generations deep." Gilmore said that with the Canadiens, it is "one of those unique situations in sports that exists in a few places in the world -- such as Manchester United or the New York Yankees -- where the fandom is cultural, multi-generational and familial." He said, "That’s something that we value but we never take for granted because with that comes a much greater pressure to succeed." The Canadiens' plans last summer for short video segments on its phone app and website "morphed into a three-platform format for the 24CH reality series, which airs on RDS." Gilmore said that reaction so far to the series "has been really positive and the ratings were very high." He said that while the team "doesn’t want to delve into players’ personal lives," the Canadiens wanted to "make sure they gave young fans, and old ones, the ability to connect with the players on a more personal level because it’s important." Gilmore: "When you’re trying to talk to your fans and preserve that affinity for the brand it’s important that they connect not just with the brand but with the players that ultimately drive the success of that team that they’re cheering for" (Montreal GAZETTE, 1/30).
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