Professor David Horowitz Connects Sports and History
Columbus Blue Jackets
New York Rangers
Six from Six: Gameops.com Team Reviews
In 2006 Gameops.com will feature six game reviews from six teams around sports. We have selected teams across different sports, leagues, levels and markets to hopefully give readers a good variety of subjects.
For these game reviews, we visited each team for a game with one goal: Find six things each team is doing well and discuss how other teams can find similar success by following their lead.
The entire Six from Six Series is now available in a printable document on the Gameops.com Store.
Six from Six: New York Rangers (NHL)
When selecting the six teams to review, I wanted to show a mix, both of sports and of the style teams use. You might look at the New York Rangers as an odd choice, since they are not a team that presents game entertainment as a priority...but we thought it was a good choice for that same reason.
The Rangers are a team steeped in tradition, founded in 1926 and built on a solid history of success on the ice. As the NHL expanded teams were added in markets like Anaheim and Carolina, who focused more on entertainment, the Rangers' stuck with their more traditional formula.
The Rangers now are making small moves towards supplementing their show, yet keep the emphasis on the fans and the tradition of New York Rangers hockey.
It was easy to find six things to like about the game night experience and most were things you might miss at other venues. The long history of a more purist game experience made some of the smaller things stand out.
This game was reviewed on Oct 27th, as the Rangers outscored their rival New York Islanders 3-1. The game was reviewed by Gameops.com Editor, Jon Cudo, with photographer, Ox Kalafatis.
The Lessons from New York
- Lesson 1: Know your fans and connect with them
- Lesson 2: Tell your fans about your players
- Lesson 3: Shock your fans
- Lesson 4: Customize the music you use the most
- Lesson 5: Play off your competition
- Lesson 6: Have a back-up plan for EVERY contest
Lesson 1: Know your fans and connect with them
Lesson 2: Tell your fans about your players
Lesson 3: Shock your fans
The tone was set early on this night, right from the anthem you knew the game was something special. As noted, the Rangers are typically a traditional presentation. That all changed when former Ozzy Osbourne lead guitarist Zakk Wylde played the national anthem.
Wylde played an electric guitar solo, a la Jimi Hendrix, to the delight of a somewhat shocked fan base. Wylde is a well know NY sports fan and widely considered among the greatest guitar players in the world.
The lesson could easily be, "Use Celebrities" or "Use a unique anthem version"...but the overwhelming feeling I got from the fans around me was shock. The team probably could have used him for an anthem for years...but they hadn't. the fact that they went outside their standard presentation was a positive jolt to the fans.
The buzz lasted well into the game and had a clear effect on the fans.
Lesson: Break your comfort zone on occasion (or call Zakk Wylde for an anthem performer)
Lesson 4: Customize the music you use the most
Every team has a song, and most teams have several songs that they play every game. In hockey the goal song is the obvious example. Ten years ago, it would be very costly to edit and customize a song and more costly to create a song from scratch. Now with the advent and proliferation of digital music creating and editing tools, the cost of edits is very low and the creation of custom music is in-reach for most teams.
The Rangers have a fantastic goal song, and one that the fans are completely in to. You can hear the song by clicking the logo to the left.
Audio Editing Software is easy to find and good programs can be purchased for under $100. Better programs like Sound Forge cost about double that, but are powerful enough to justify the expense.
Lesson: Review the music you use the most and consider simple edits to make it more effective or powerful.
Update: Here is the Ranger's Goal song on video from YouTube
Lesson 5: Play off your competition
Lesson 6: Have a back-up plan for EVERY contest
It was very interesting to see a team build more on tradition and sport than entertainment. The Rangers also are a team limited by an older aging building with tools (like the scoreboard). When we selected teams for the 2006 Six from Six reviews it was important to get a wide variety of teams and situations, and the Rangers clearly provided a style very different from an expansion team like the Columbus Blue Jackets.
What was striking about their entertainment was how clearly it connected to their marketing, which is geared towards the tradition and history of the team. Most breaks spoke to that theme and helped establish it with the fans in different ways.
Thanks to Rangers Marketing VP, Mike Golub, for sharing his insight and hosting our visit in October.
- Lesson 1: Build around a Theme (Blue Jackets)
- Lesson 2: Great Script Writing Makes a Great Show (Blue Jackets)
- Lesson 3: Listen to the fans (Blue Jackets)
- Lesson 4: Use Pre-Game to enhance your show (Blue Jackets)
- Lesson 5: Use time wisely (Blue Jackets)
- Lesson 6: Honor fan participation (Blue Jackets)
- Lesson 7: Music ties the show together (Blazers)
- Lesson 8: Multiple openings keep the games fresh (Blazers)
- Lesson 9: Allow flexibility in your game script (Blazers)
- Lesson 10: Connect with the sport and league (Blazers)
- Lesson 11: Use simple effects for bright results with lighting effects (Blazers)
- Lesson 12: Position Yourself for Success (Blazers)
- Lesson 13: Careful placement of elements (Shock)
- Lesson 14: Be creative with your premium Items (Shock)
- Lesson 15: Setting up powerful moments (Shock)
- Lesson 16: Cultivate your staff into your best fans (Shock)
- Lesson 17: Stand until you score, bonding your fans (Shock)
- Lesson 18: Using Different Voices When Talking to Your Fans (Shock)
- Lesson 19: Know your fans and connect with them (Rangers)
- Lesson 20: Tell your fans about your players (Rangers)
- Lesson 21: Shock your fans (Rangers)
- Lesson 22: Customize the music you use the most (Rangers)
- Lesson 23: Play off your competition (Rangers)
- Lesson 24: Have a back-up plan for EVERY contest (Rangers)
- Lesson 25: Spice up your most reoccuring elements (Pirates)
- Lesson 26: Use different combinations of technology, performers and sponsorship (Pirates)
- Lesson 27: Have fun with your contestants (Pirates)
- Lesson 28: Sell yourboard first, then sell everything else (Pirates)
- Lesson 29: Buidling on your success (Pirates)
- Lesson 30: Profit from your elements (Pirates)
- Lesson 31: Premiums that make a difference (Devil Rays)
- Lesson 32: Make your building as interesting as possible (Devil Rays)
- Lesson 33: REAL fans get the good stuff (Devil Rays)
- Lesson 34: The pre-game matters (Devil Rays)
- Lesson 35: Introduce your teams (Devil Rays)
- Lesson 36: Keep an eye on the future (Devil Rays)
Six From Six Series from Gameops.com
- Columbus Blue Jackets
- Portland Trailblazers
- Detroit Shock
- New York Rangers
- Pittsburgh Pirates
- Tampa Bay Devil Rays
- Top 9 Hockey Songs (About.com)
- Hockey Songs from the Gameops.com Music Page
- Dos and Don'ts of picking music (ESPN Page 3)
- Hockey Songs on Last.fm
Columbus Blue Jackets
Professor David Horowitz Connects Sports and History
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