Tuesday, September 18, 2007

NHL announces '08 slogan: "Two steps forward, three steps back"

CHICAGO (SOJP) -- National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman revealed the league’s new slogan at yesterday’s board of governors meeting in Chicago.

This year’s annual, barely detectable marketing campaign will be spearheaded by the slogan “Two steps forward, three steps back.” Past slogans have included “The coolest game on Earth” and “Game on.” Other ideas included “Two steps forward, nine steps back” and “Hockey: maybe you’ve heard of it?”

“We feel the slogan best summarizes the direction the board is trying to take the league,” Bettman said. “Coupled with some of this year’s other initiatives, we feel we’re close to our goal of destroying the game of hockey.”

Observers were shocked by the commissioner’s blunt remarks. Bettman said at this stage of his tenure with the NHL, there’s no reason to play coy.

“We’ve reached the point where it’s silly to pretend we’re making intelligent decisions,” Bettman said. “Everyone knows what we’re doing, so the least we can do is be honest with the league’s few remaining fans.”

The league’s ineptitude has been well-documented, though it may have reached a new plateau this off-season. Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie tried purchasing the Nashville Predators before seemingly being boxed out by the commissioner in favour of an American group offering far less money. Balsillie reportedly hoped to move the team to Southern Ontario, where people have heard of hockey.

Bettman also announced the league will host another outdoor hockey game -- on New Year’s Day. That same day, the Sugar Bowl, Cotton Bowl and Rose Bowl will be played.

Bettman said he hoped an outdoor game would appeal to the small yet “unique” audience he’s built on the digital cable channel Versus, formely known as the Outdoor Life Network. He announced a deal in 2005 that made OLN the primary carrier of NHL games despite its small audience.

“Some see a significantly smaller American audience than we had in the past as a negative,” Bettman said. “But a smaller audience is also a prestigious one. For our outdoor people, these private hockey broadcasts are a luxurious treat.”

Yesterday, the board of governors met in Chicago to discuss possible expansion plans, including putting franchises in Las Vegas, Kansas City and Seattle.

“It’s genius, in one sense,” said University of Toronto business professor Arthur Tilden. “If you were ever to design a business model for failure, Mr. Bettman’s would be award-worthy.”

“We’ve seen sports like the National Football League and Major League Baseball grow to national prominence,” Bettman said. “It’s been done. Few people can claim to have brought a major sports league to its knees.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The New Year's Day game comment says it all. That's right, Gary. Go head-to-head with the biggest college football day in the country! The man is useless.