Monday, March 19, 2007

Penguin Diaspora

Mike Madison outlines the opportunities for tapping into Penguins Nation:

If the arena is an economic development resource, then the team should expand its marketing (and its local fans should coordinate themselves accordingly): We need a Penguins Nation, of a size and scale and intensity that tracks (even if it can't quite approach) Steelers Nation. If you build it, they will waddle, and so on. Dear Mario: Publicly embrace hockey-starved fans in Cleveland, Baltimore, Harrisburg, Erie, and Morgantown and encourage them to catch a game in Pittsburgh. Organize hockey charters for Canadian and European fans. Build business-and-hockey relationships with professional and amateur clubs around the world. Work with the VisitPittsburgh team. (Of course, the Penguins themselves don't need to monopolize this market. Calling all entrepreneurs!) The Penguins may be the best flightless ambassadors in the history of Pittsburgh -- and marketing outreach may be the best way for the taxpaying public to see back-end value from their share of the arena deal.

Hockey doesn't enjoy as large a following as football does, but the Pens are a source of pride even for non-fans. On the whole, the Burgh Diaspora wanted to see the franchise stay in Pittsburgh. Then again, they don't have to foot the bill for the new arena.

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