January 01, 2009 |

I have been involved in sports entertainment marketing/public relations in some form or another for almost 20 years and been involved with some novel ideas as far as marketing and promotions, both as a promoter and certainly as a fan.  But I have to hand it to the NHL; their outdoor game today taking place at historic Wrigley Field in Chicago is one of the best.  Showcasing it on NBC for the whole country to see just puts an exclamation point on this promotion.   

There are many dumb ideas in sports and some very cheesy promotions, but returning the game to its childhood roots of the outdoors is a flat out winner.  It works for two reasons:  one it brings attention and creates a positive buzz to the game, and most importantly it does not compromise the integrity of the game.  It’s still hockey, same rink, and same number of players, just with a unique twist.

Having the Blackhawks vs. the Detroit Red Wings, two of the original six teams, as the participants adds a sense of history and tradition, and grows this idea from last year’s smashing success with Buffalo vs. Pittsburgh at Ralph Wilson Stadium.   Whoever came up with this idea deserves a raise.

It almost happened in Baltimore:   A similar promotion might have occurred in Baltimore nearly two decades ago.   When I worked with Kenny Cooper (the legendary Blast coach), he told me he had an idea of moving a Blast game playoff game to Memorial Stadium in mid 1980s.   Don’t know how serious he was or even how possible it was with baseball season in progress, but that would have been one we would be still talking about.  Indoor soccer at Memorial stadium–that would have been one for the ages.