Recently HSN reporter Craig Tonks visited North America and took a look at the way they do hockey. It was in Las Vegas where Craig noticed some interesting ideas that would translate to the Australian version.
The first thing that you notice when you enter the Orleans Casino when the Las Vegas Wranglers are playing at home is the amount of hockey jerseys.
Can Australian clubs learn and take value with what the Las Vegas Wranglers do to keep people coming through the gates in a city not usually known for its hockey team?
It could be small things the Wranglers do like changing from the practice goals to newly painted red pipes with crisp white nets.
The audio and visual displays leading into the game builds the atmosphere. A mixture of great music and video of past great moments and big hits gets the fans in the arena a taste of what’s to come. As the Elvis song says, “A little less conversation, a little more action please”.
The connection to the community the Wranglers have built is something that you feel as soon as you enter the arena. The Wranglers offer exposure to local community groups by having them set up stalls inside the arena.
Schools also benefit from the Community Puck Toss. In a fun way to raise money fans can buy one puck for $2 or six pucks for $10. Each one is numbered and thrown onto the ice at the last break. Closest to the centre ice wins.
The Community Puck Toss not only generates funds for the school is has the potential to draw new fans from the schools and even better, new young players taking up the sport.
Making money isn’t merely about big sponsorship. The Wranglers offer sponsorships for in game moments like “Icings” and “Powerplays”.
When a goal is scored and the fog horn sounds, “Viva Las Vegas” plays for the celebration. A song which so identifiable to the town and fun to sing along to. The goal also delivers prizes for sections of seating.
Australian ice hockey fan’s use of Livestream to broadcast matches means rinks will have video cameras in the crowd. The Wranglers have used this well with segments titled, “Hands up in the Air” which is a chance for kids in the crowd to dance with their hands up in the air to the song of the same name.
The “Swagger Cam” and a crowd sing-a-long to a song of the fans choice provides opportunities for the crowd to feel included in the fun.
The Wranglers have many things in common with the Australian Ice Hockey League but the main obvious one is fans who love the sport. The Las Vegas Wranglers have gone to great lengths to provide a positive feeling and entertainment off the ice. Fans walk away knowing as a family they had a great time.
In part two we look at how the players and their families feel about their experiences at being part of the Wrangler family.
by Craig Tonks