When ESPN won the rights to the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, the expectations were that the World Wide Leader would find a way to sell this tournament to casual fans through its coverage, its conversations and most of all its marketing.
But hockey fans weren’t necessarily prepared for the marketing direction they decided to take.
The World Cup of Hockey spots started airing during the Stanley Cup Playoffs featuring different players appearing on a hockey talk show hosted by Reg Carling, an over-the-top caricature who attempts to coax the players into confirming his assumptions about the tournament: That Patrick Kane is obsessed with beating Canada, that Brandon Saad and the Under-23 team are afraid to play “men,” and whether Nicklas Backstrom can get him tickets. (They’re available, Reg.)
For fans conditioned by years of NHL marketing – action, the warrior aesthetic, healthy doses of nostalgia – seeing a lighter, personality-based approach from ESPN was jarring.
Although hearing thatRead More »from ESPN explains those World Cup of Hockey TV ads and Patrick Kane