Habs Look To Grow Brand Outside Canada, Seek Global Presence Of "Legacy" Teams
The Canadiens are "doing their utmost to move their brand beyond North America" by going to "untapped or under-developed hockey markets," according to Kevin McGran of the TORONTO STAR. Canadiens COO Kevin Gilmore said, "We are more than a brand that resonates with people in Montreal or even in Quebec or even in Canada. We are a legacy sports team. The Yankees are synonymous with baseball, the Dallas Cowboys with the NFL. In European football, it’s Manchester United. Legacy teams have a global presence." McGran notes all Original Six teams -- the Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Red Wings, Bruins, Rangers and Blackhawks -- "have a leg up on the others" and all are "finding new ways of engaging the fan-base beyond their borders." Gilmore: "This off-season we are looking at ways we can enhance that experience. We have fans who have never experienced the arena. You have to find a way to make those people part of the experience ... to hopefully launch by the start of next season a platform that really allows us not just to speak to those fans but allow us to engage with them directly, to reward them for signs of loyalty." McGran notes the internet and the proliferation of sports channels worldwide have "made it easier for leagues and teams to win over young fans beyond their own market" (TORONTO STAR, 5/6).