Tag Archive | "Jay Leno"

Hollywood Gave NHL its Mojo back in 2008


LOS ANGELES – After years of hiding in the shadows of the rival NBA, the NHL made its way back into the ratings and into Hollywood’s spotlight after the last season’s playoffs. Just days after the Red Wings clinched the finals, the Stanley Cup made a trip down the red carpet and appeared on several popular television shows including “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.”

Since the notorious lockout season, there have been many questions surrounding the lack of marketing and publicity for the NHL. Ratings had dipped to historic lows while some national sports commentators grew apathetic to the league and its stars, until last year’s dream finals match-up between the Red Wings and Penguins.

The rating numbers reported by NBC for the prime time finals indicated the NHL was on the way back and the league used that momentum to kick their marketing and publicity into high gear as soon as the finals were over. After the Red Wings returned home with the Cup and completed their photo day, they gained an onslaught of attention from the national media and publicity soared.

Chris Osgood and Nicklas Lidstrom helped make that happen. Still battered from a long season and finals series, they gratiously accepted an invitation to fly to L.A. and appeared with the Stanley Cup.

After their “Sexy Back” dance performance on  Leno’s show, we shouldn’t expect Osgood and Lidstrom to  make it to “Dancing With the Stars,” but their representing the NHL and Red Wings that night in front of millions of coast-to-coast viewers was exposure the league desperately needed.

While on the same West Coast trip, Osgood and Stanley were again in the spotlight when they joined some of Hollywood’s stars including Mike Myers, Justin Timberlake, Jessica Alba and Verne Troyer for a walk down the red carpet at the opening premiere for the hockey-related comedy “The Love Guru.”

Born in Scarborough, Ontario, Myers grew up an avid Maple Leaf fan and getting exposure from the Austin Power’s star may have helped the NHL “get its mojo back.” In addition to Myers, Hollywood has a long list of celebrities who love the game including producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Top Gun, Armageddon, Pirates of the Caribbean) and Verne Troyer who portrayed Mini-Me in the Austin Powers movies to name a few.

This year, the NHL should take their relationship with Hollywood to the next level and continue to include these stars in their marketing plan. Hollywood stars have helped promote other leagues like the NFL and NBA and there is a lot to gain by inviting them to functions put on by the league.

Every year there are stories about the trips Stanley makes throughout the summer. Tales are about the far away countries visited or the occasional strip club stop. Those journeys do get attention, but that exposure is minimal compared to the exposure the league gained by these Hollywood trips.

The NBA promotes their relationships with celebrity fans including Jack Nicholson and Ashton Kutcher. If the NHL continues to pair Hollywood with their sport in 2008-09, what celeb might be sitting on the glass during the next Stanley Cup playoffs?

Copyright © 2008 – Sports Climax

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