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SBD Global/May 16, 2013/Franchises

Australian Semi-Pro Hockey League Sydney Bears Seeking Mainstream Success

Australian Ice Hockey League Sydney Bears GM Wayne Hellyer says the main issue facing his semi-pro club "remains gathering crowds worthy of a fine team playing in an excellent facility," according to Will Brodie of THE AGE. Hellyer: "We’re hoping to build our home spectator base to something where there will be a bit more atmosphere." It is "a familiar refrain for ice hockey in Australia" -- once the uninitiated see the game live, "they are often hooked." However, "getting them there in the first place is the battle." A great weapon in that battle "are the weekly telecasts of the game of the week on Fox Sports." Hellyer said that he is "already getting positive feedback" from the new pay-TV deal that he hopes will "open the door" for more sponsors and fans. Hellyer said three other factors can help the club build a stronger fanbase: The standard of the league "has 10% improved on last year," more "mainstream outlets and social media are covering the game by the week," and there is an int'l exhibition series in June "which has sold out in Sydney and Melbourne" (THE AGE, 5/15).
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