How bad can marketing problems get? The National Hockey League knows the score.
But as it continues battling back from the lockout that cancelled its 2004-05 season, the league is trying to make itself more accessible by providing highlight clips on an NHL-branded section of YouTube. While other pro sports leagues police YouTube to remove content, the under-exposed NHL instead hopes to create some viral video.
Whether the NHL will connect with YouTube users looking for the next "Numa Numa" dance or Star Wars kid is a question mark to some. "Exposure is great, but does this kind really bring in new fans? I would think it doesn't," says Robert Davidman, CEO of EarthQuake Media. "The videos might get some viewership, but not garner viral popularity."
With fewer hockey enthusiasts and relatively less TV coverage, the NHL is trying to connect with fans any way it can. The league also provides game broadcasts on a 48-hour delay on Google Video.
"What the NHL needs to do is focus on the sport," Davidman says. "With the lockout and other woes, they've done a lot to alienate the fan base. I am a sports fan and when I want sports information I go to my trusted sources like ESPN."