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No Habs No… until about half an hour before the game

October 19, 2010

Yesterday, the internets discovered this:

Isles Splash Page

It’s a screenshot of the current splash page for the New York Islanders official website, and I absolutely loved the marketing behind it. A lot of Habs fans were upset by it but I laughed… because it’s genius.

You have to feel for the marketing teams of individual NHL clubs like the Isles sometimes… how do you sell a perpetually rebuilding team and an old deteriorating arena in a market that has two other NHL teams a (short) train ride away?

You appeal to people’s sense of pride in their fanbase revulsion.

For the last several years, Habs games on Long Island have been very well-attended… by Habs fans. The Islanders are not alone in this. I have seen waves completed around ScotiaBank Place (Ottawa) by Habs fans. I have heard that season ticket holders in Toronto and Boston give up their tickets for Habs nights because they just can’t stand being around so many Habs fans. I have been to playoff games in Boston where I didn’t have to worry about the reputation Bruins fans have… because there weren’t any in my section. I have never been to Florida, but I know that the Panthers and the Lightning see a lot of Habs fans at their home rinks as well. It makes me proud that we’re so well-represented in pretty much any NHL market, but I understand how it can get annoying.

Anytime you fill someone else’s barn with a bunch of drunk Habs fans, they’re bound to turn it into the Bell Centre Lite. Back when Tim Thomas had a magnetic force field in his five-hole and Milan Lucic couldn’t catch Mike Komisarek, Habs fans in Boston managed to boo Zdeno Chara in his own rink, chant “Ole” loud enough for my friends in Europe to hear it, and sing the “Nananana… Goodbye” song… to the home team.

Habs fans at Nassau were generally semi-tolerated when they were cheering the hometown boys. Now that those guys have moved on and we’re there to cheer for Brian Gionta and Scotty Gomez, we’ve become zero-tolerated. Now we’re just a bunch of loud obnoxious dudes taking over their barn… and it must have been embarrassing and infuriating last year when there were more Habs fans at the games booing the home team than there were home team fans.

It’s not really about a rivalry. To the best of my knowledge there hasn’t really been any intense animosity between the two teams or their fanbases. I like the Islanders and think their fans deserve better than they’ve been getting recently (in terms of ownership/municipal willingness to support the team… I’m of course jealous of the young stars they have now).

It’s simply about giving fans a reason to buy a ticket where there haven’t been too many reasons lately. I love the picture of Habs fans (notice no Islanders fans around) cheering after the Habs score a goal, too. “Is this what you want in your arena, Isles fans? Really? Is this what you want?”

Love the “Let’s show them” aspect, too. Reminds me of my favourite commercial from the Vancouver 2010 Olympics:

Gives the fans a sense of purpose, makes them feel like they’re part of the team, and appeals to their pride.

It remains to be seen whether it will work or whether, as has become the usual, tickets will be sold to Habs fans at ridiculously discounted prices just before the game starts, but you gotta admit the idea rocks.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. smalrus permalink
    October 19, 2010 10:59 am

    * I liked being the abundance of Habs fans in the Greater NYC when they rolled into town
    * Is that a cool desktop background
    * Were you really searching for “MADE YOU LOOK”?
    * Did they really have to use Dan Carcillo in that picture?

    • theactivestick permalink*
      October 19, 2010 11:20 am

      LOL. My three searches prior to writing that for the benefit of you guys involved curry recipes, polygamy, and man parts. The searches were not related to each other.

      The background came with the Dell. It’s not that interesting.

  2. October 19, 2010 11:01 am

    We should counter with a splash featuring a single Islanders fan that says “NO FANS GO”

    • theactivestick permalink*
      October 19, 2010 11:20 am

      I smell a photoshop contest on The Checking Line.

  3. October 19, 2010 3:16 pm

    Another great read, looking forward to more!

  4. Number31 permalink
    October 19, 2010 8:31 pm

    I want to go to Long Island to watch the Habs.

  5. Harry M permalink
    October 20, 2010 12:16 am

    Thanks for reminding us that the Isles still have a franchise Active Stick!

    Habs fans travel. It is healthy for the game. Small market clubs like Tampa, KC, etc. love the fact that the Sox and Yanks fans invade their home turf. Bring the fans and their cash. Capitalism at work!

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