Chicago Sun-Times
Lewis Lazare follows Chicago media and marketing news

Recently in Chicago Blackhawks Category

EDDIE1.jpgThe next Chicago Blackhawks fan convention is still six months away. But for the Hawks, it's never too early to get out the word about a big event that allows the team's growing fan base to interact with players and establish closer bonds with all of them. To help spread the word about the convention, which runs July 15 through 17 at the Chicago Hilton & Towers, the Hawks will debut on Saturday a new TV spot developed in-house that stars Hawks television analyst Eddie Olczyk.

The spot opens with what appears at first to be a routine bit of business: Olczyk checking in at the Hilton for the fan convention. Only it's quickly apparent something isn't quite right. Olczyk is checking in with a fish in a fishbowl. But there's more. The reception staffer can't find a reservation for Olczyk, who is the master of ceremonies for the event, and the hotel is completely sold out.

An increasingly perturbed Olczyk asks the clerk: "What about Foley?" She assumes, incorrectly as we soon find out, that he's referring to Pat Foley, the Hawks play-by-play TV announcer who has already checked in. But Olczyk quickly corrects her and says he's referring to his fish, which happens to be named Foley. The resourceful Olczyk thinks he's found a solution to his dilemma when he and his Foley settle down in the hotel lobby. But he's foiled again by that ever-so-polite hotel clerk.

The new commercial, in its one-minute form, isn't a masterpiece, but it is worth watching to see how valiantly Olczyk fights on behalf of his beloved fish Foley.

Bobby Hull and Kids.jpgThe newest TV spot from the Chicago Blackhawks is debuting just in time to help holiday gift shoppers. With an assist from iconic retired Hawks player Bobby Hull, the commercial touts the just-released "One Goal Achieved" book about the long road to last season's Stanley Cup championship.

Hull is seen in the spot reading from the new book. The excerpt suggests Hull is responsible for the winning goal that gave the Hawks their 2010 Stanley Cup victory. But an astute young boy among the kids Hull is reading to speaks up to correct Hull on the matter of who scored the winning goal. It was Patrick Kane, not Hull. But Hull will have none of it.

The remainder of the spot is taken up with some perfunctory info about the new book. Hull, of course, does a fine job playing Hull, but overall, the spot lacks the kind of drama or the emotional hook that some of the better Hawks commercials of recent vintage have exhibited.

dust jacket cover low res.jpgThe Chicago Blackhawks are making sure they extract maximum marketing oomph from their Stanley Cup triumph last season. On Nov. 23, the team will release "One Goal Achieved: The Inside Story of the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks."

Published by the Blackhawks and distributed by Triumph Books, is an exhaustive look back at the 2009-10 season that culminated in the Hawks winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in 49 long years. The book includes insights about the season from the team front office staff, broadcasters and beat writer. The book also includes a foreword by team president John McDonough, preface by chairman Rocky Wirtz and an afterword by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

A bonus DVD includes locker room footage from the night the team won the Cup and video from the Stanley Cup parade and rally in Chicago. Suggested list price for the book and DVD is $39.95.

In conjunction with the National Hockey League broadcast rightsholders NBC and the Versus Channel, the NHL announced Wednesday that at least 11 Chicago Blackhawks games will be broadcast on national television during the 2010-11 season.

In addition, Chicago will have the chance to make up to four more appearances on NBC's "Game of the Week" in the second half of the season. The first 11 scheduled appearances on national television for the Blackhawks are on Versus, beginning when the team opens it defense of the 2010 Stanley Cup championship against the Colorado Avalanche on Oct. 7.

For the third consecutive season, the remaining Blackhawks games -- home and away -- will be televised in HD on Comcast SportsNet Chicago and WGN-Channel 9, the team's official television partners. Pat Foley and Eddie Olczyk will front the TV broadcasts. In addition every game of the 2010-11 season can be heard on WGN-AM (720), with John Wiedeman and Troy Murray call the action. The complete Blackhawks schedule will be released at a later date, team executives said.

Comcast SportsNet Chicago will air live coverage of the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks convention being held this weekend at the Chicago Hilton Hotel. On Friday, July 30, CSNC coverage will start at 5 p.m., and feature introductions of Hawks players, coaches and front office executives. The coverage also will include video montages from the Hawks Stanley Cup championship season.

Diehard Hawks fans can find more coverage of the convention on line at CSNChicago.com, where there will be additional video footage from the convention.

Are we ready for some hockey? Only two months to go until the start of pre-season games for the 2010-11 NHL season. And the Chicago Blackhawks announced today that four of the team's seven pre-season games will be televised -- the most in franchise history. In addition, two of the games will air on the team's radio home WGN-AM (720).

Comcast SportsNet Chicago will carry the September 22 game against Tampa Bay and the September 24 contest against the Detroit Red Wings. WGN-Channel 9 will broadcast the team's September 25 matchup against Detroit and the October 3 pre-season finale against the St. Louis Blues. WGN-AM also will broadcast the September 25 and October 3 games.

By now it's no secret TV viewership for the Stanley Cup champion Hawks has increased dramatically in just a year's time. Compared with the 2008-09 regular season, ratings for Hawks games on Comcast SportsNet increased 94 percent last season. CSNC also carried nine of the Stanley Cup playoff games during the first two rounds, reaching approximately 2.4 million Chicago households.

The Chicago Blackhawks are moving up. The 2010 Stanley Cup champions are ranked an impressive 16th in ESPN The Magazine's just-released eighth annual Ultimate Standings. The rankings measure how much all NHL, MLB, NBA and NFL professional sports franchises give back to their respective fans in exchange for the time, money and emotion the fans invest in the teams. The rankings are based on several factors ranging from bang for the buck, team ownership honesty and loyalty and ticket affordability to coaching and the stadium experience.

The Hawks' 16th place standing in the new list represents a swift rise for the team through the rankings, which include some 122 professional sports franchises. As recently as three years ago, the Hawks were near the bottom of the list in 118th place. The strong showing is no doubt due in large part to the team's re-ignited love affair with Chicago. That has come about as a result of several smart marketing moves -- not least of which was the decision to televise all Hawks' game. The team's undeniable skill, their humility and determination to bring home the Stanley Cup also contributed to building a strong bond with a growing fan base.

Other Chicago pro sports teams did not fare so well in the 2010 Ultimate Standings. After the Hawks, the next highest-ranked local team was the Chicago White Sox in 73rd place. The Chicago Bulls could do no better than 85th place, with the Chicago Bears, somewhat surprisingly, just behind the Bulls in 86th place. The Chicago Cubs had the worst showing of all local teams, ranking 100th on the list.

Final CX Blackhawks_For PR.jpgWhen you're a winner, everyone wants to get in on the action. Corona, another popular Mexican brew that is big in Chicago and throughout the United States, is sending its congrats to the Chicago Blackhawks who just won the Stanley Cup.

The salute comes via a new print ad that -- in Corona's familiar, understated way -- simply congratulates the Hawks on their hard-earned victory. The ad execution -- featuring the Corona bottle and lime slice on an inviting beach landscape that is so much a part of Corona's iconic advertising imagery -- is the handiwork of Cramer-Krasselt/Chicago. The ad will appear in select print publications.

Billy and Blackhawks 6.9.10 002.jpgMajor Broadway shows -- at least the ones that manage to run for years -- typically establish their legs because they know a thing or two about marketing. Count "Billy Elliot, the Musical" as one of those that is using every marketing weapon at its disposal to ensure the show based on the popular movie about a young English boy who becomes a ballet dancer enjoys a long run on Broadway, and now in Chicago at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theatre, where it opened an extended run in April.

Just as the Chicago Blackhawks were clinching victory in the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday night, the "Billy Elliot" cast was about to gather on stage for their curtain calls at the end of the show. Aware that it was an historic night for the Hawks, the show's young star Tommy Batchelor, who was playing the central part of Billy that evening, quickly donned a Blackhawks cap for his final curtain call. We weren't in attendance, but we suspect the show of support for the Hawks by the "Billy Elliot" star was well-received.

And the musical's PR team made sure the musical was ready to applaud the Hawks and further demonstrate their support for the team via some publicity photos that were ready to go out bright and early Thursday morning.

Yes, this is how you market a big Broadway show nowadays and endear it to whatever market it is playing.

The Chicago Blackhawks TV ratings steamroller continues.

Sunday night's game five of the Stanley Cup finals pitting the Hawks against the Philadelphia Flyers scored a whopping 26 overnight rating (910,000 households) on WMAQ-Channel 5 in the Chicago market, besting the 25.1 rating (878,000 households) for game two of the finals on May 31, which also aired on WMAQ. The Hawks game on Sunday also easily beat all other prime time programming in the Chicago market, including game two of the NBA finals that has the Los Angeles Lakers playing the Boston Celtics for the world champion title. With so many Chicagoans now apparently fixated on the Hawks' effort to win the Stanley Cup, the NBA finals game could do no better than a 7.3 rating (255,000 households) on WLS-Channel 7 in Chicago.

Nationally, however, it was a different story. The Hawks-Flyers game five of the Stanley Cup finals garnered a 3.6 overnight rating (4.32 million households) on NBC, while the NBA finals game two did a significantly-better 10.9 (13 million households) on ABC on Sunday. It's possible more national viewers migrated from hockey to basketball Sunday after sensing the Hawks seemed to be solidly in control of game five.

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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