HFBoards

Go Back   HFBoards > General Hockey Discussion > The Business of Hockey
Mobile Hockey's Future Become a Sponsor Site Rules Support Forum vBookie Page 2
The Business of Hockey Discuss the financial and business aspects of the NHL. Topics may include the CBA, work stoppages, broadcast contracts, franchise sales, NHL revenues, relocation and expansion.

Are the New Jersey Devils the Worst Case of Brand Building Ever?

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old
04-17-2013, 08:03 PM
  #1
Stephen
Registered User
 
Stephen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 35,568
vCash: 500
Are the New Jersey Devils the Worst Case of Brand Building Ever?

This occurred to me in another thread. Has there been a more dismal example of brand building in the NHL or any of the big four North American leagues in terms of capitalizing on ice success into off ice brand image than the New Jersey Devils?

Lou Lamoreillo and company have built an organization with more winning pedigree than most franchises can dream of, mostly uninterrupted and continuous success on the ice, a decent stable of star talent over the years, yet they don't even come close fan popularity as a lot of teams with a fraction of their success. In fact I'd say the franchise is completely irrelevant even though they have been a fantastically successful team, at least in proportion to what other multiple champions in the 1990s and 2000s in the NHL (Colorado, Detroit, Pittsburgh) experienced during their times or in other sports.

Does this all come down to a failure in marketing the team the right way? Is there something New Jersey could have done to position itself as a franchise? Or can it be blamed on the market itself?

Stephen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-17-2013, 08:14 PM
  #2
LadyStanley
Elasmobranchology-go
 
LadyStanley's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: North of the Tank
Country: United States
Posts: 60,094
vCash: 500
How do you define success? Merchandise sold? Media mentions?

And how can you compare relative success without league wide #s/$s?

LadyStanley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-17-2013, 09:48 PM
  #3
DevilChuk*
(not that -chuk)
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 7,879
vCash: 500
Throw a team in a state that is only a handful of miles from a team that's been there for decades (NYR), another team coming off a dynasty (NYI) and a third team that is incredibly popular (PHI) and it's incredible to me that the franchise even managed to survive.

When you consider how young this franchise is and the competition they have not only in terms of NHL teams but also in terms of other sporting leagues.. it's no surprise they are where they are. They weren't going to be placed in NJ and suddenly convince all the diehard Rangers fans who live in NJ to become Devils fans. You didn't get the current generation, you got the younger generation who became fans because they grew up in NJ at the time and watched the Devils win Cups, etc.

There is quite a large nucleus of fans that are only just getting into the age of disposable income. Those that watched the cup win in 1995, 2000 and 2003 are only just turning 21-26. They're young, graduating college.. getting jobs. Many of them are turning around and getting season tickets. Look at our STH numbers, significant boosts in the last three years. This year, we've sold out every single home game but three despite a struggling team.

I think you'd be surprised at how many Devils fans there are around the country/world though. Competing like they have the past two decades, there are alot of Devils fans in locales you wouldn't think of immediately. So I appreciate that you think they're irrelevant, but it would be nice to see some stats showing such because they may surprise all of us..

DevilChuk* is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-17-2013, 10:31 PM
  #4
Stephen
Registered User
 
Stephen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 35,568
vCash: 500
I guess it's unfair to compare them to an Original Six team like Detroit, but even against a team like the Colorado Avalanche who were winners in the mid 90s and early 2000s, I feel like there was a lot more remote bandwagonism associated with that franchise than New Jersey. It's not too scientific, but here in the GTA, we had a lot of kids growing up in my generation owning Avalanche jerseys, and almost none in terms of New Jersey.

Stephen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-17-2013, 10:40 PM
  #5
MartysBetterThanYou
Registered User
 
MartysBetterThanYou's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: New Jersey
Country: United States
Posts: 522
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
I guess it's unfair to compare them to an Original Six team like Detroit, but even against a team like the Colorado Avalanche who were winners in the mid 90s and early 2000s, I feel like there was a lot more remote bandwagonism associated with that franchise than New Jersey. It's not too scientific, but here in the GTA, we had a lot of kids growing up in my generation owning Avalanche jerseys, and almost none in terms of New Jersey.
...and look at where the Avs are now. Bottom 5 in attendance, irrelevant even when they are the only hockey team in the Intermountain West.

NYC-area sports fans are not prone to bandwagoning the way fans are in many smaller metropolitan areas, tending to have well-bred in allegiances due to the presence of multiple teams in every sport. Add to the fact that NJ was the fourth hockey team in their area and NJ had only one place to go for fans, non-hockey families, which means they won over youth during their cup years who could not buy tickets until now. Expect over the next ten years for NJD to have more brand presence, even as their on-ice success wanes by virtue that the first generation of devoted Devils fans are now grown up.

MartysBetterThanYou is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-18-2013, 12:36 AM
  #6
Fugu
Administrator
HFBoards
 
Fugu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: ϶(o)ϵ
Posts: 32,706
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
I guess it's unfair to compare them to an Original Six team like Detroit, but even against a team like the Colorado Avalanche who were winners in the mid 90s and early 2000s, I feel like there was a lot more remote bandwagonism associated with that franchise than New Jersey. It's not too scientific, but here in the GTA, we had a lot of kids growing up in my generation owning Avalanche jerseys, and almost none in terms of New Jersey.

The Wings, Avalanche and Pens of the 1990s, and early 2000s for the for the first two featured teams with very flashy, high scoring players. You probably saw a ton of Yzerman jerseys in your area too.

Secondly, it may not be how NJD promoted themselves locally that led to the success you're claiming the Wings or Avalanche had. That was a national level of recognition and appeal, and again, some of that may go back to the flashiness of the teams, the rivalry and the heat generated during games.

Finally, as alluded to in the post above mine, NJD weren't the sole or even top team in their local market. In spite of their overall success, the local market was still quite divided due to history and the number of teams in the market. A mere decade+ earlier, the Isles were garnering the kind of success NJD followed with in the 90s.

Fugu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-18-2013, 04:55 AM
  #7
brec7
Registered User
 
brec7's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Sydney, NS
Posts: 336
vCash: 500
I always felt like the Devils were the NHL's version of the San Antonio Spurs. In both cases, you have highly successful teams that are competitive, winning titles but not consecutively (but usually in the conversation even when not winning) but don't seem to grab much of the geography-neutral fans out there.

Being in Nova Scotia, far away from any NHL team really, I'm surprised the Devils don't have more fans than they do, given their success. I imagine it's similar in other "open" areas without an obvious NHL allegiance, and I think that's what the OP is hinting at. Most teams, when they win a title, create an instant bandwagon effect where their merch is obviously more visible after winning. I don't recall this ever happening with the Devils.

brec7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-18-2013, 05:20 AM
  #8
NJDevils7
Registered User
 
NJDevils7's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: New York
Country: United States
Posts: 1,472
vCash: 500
They are still a young franchise. Unlike previously mentioned Colorado, the Devils have other hockey teams close by. Anyone who lived in New York or North Jersey was either a Rangrs or Isles fans. And South Jersey is Flyers fans. Hockey fans would have to SWITCH teams. Winning was probably the ONLY things that got people in the area to switch to Devils fans.

Also, the attendance and viewers take a hit because of all the teams in the area. The Devils, Rangers, Islanders, Mets, Yankees, Knicks, and Nets, and Red Bulls could all be playing at the same time.

It should also be known that the Devils have sold out all but 3 games this season.

NJDevils7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-18-2013, 07:50 AM
  #9
tarheelhockey
Global Moderator
 
tarheelhockey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: The Triangle
Country: United States
Posts: 37,531
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by DevilChuk View Post
Throw a team in a state that is only a handful of miles from a team that's been there for decades (NYR), another team coming off a dynasty (NYI) and a third team that is incredibly popular (PHI) and it's incredible to me that the franchise even managed to survive.
Exactly. As noted in another recent thread, the Devils were on death's door before this run began. I'd say they're doing reasonably well for themselves, all things considered.

Realistically, they are never going to have the mass following of a Detroit. Both geographically and culturally, that's just not feasible and not a fair comparison.

tarheelhockey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-18-2013, 08:12 AM
  #10
BraveCanadian
Registered User
 
BraveCanadian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Country: Canada
Posts: 9,474
vCash: 500
They have a tough geographic location to build a fan base with so much competition.

That being said it probably didn't help that they choked the life out of hockey for 10 years. What a snoozefest. I mean yeah, they played to their strengths and won.. and I respect that. But zzzzzz

BraveCanadian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-18-2013, 08:14 AM
  #11
Kane One
HFB Partner
 
Kane One's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Brooklyn, New NY
Country: United States
Posts: 31,400
vCash: 2550
The Devils came into this area, which was already saturated with fans. You have the Rangers who have been gaining fans for generations, the Flyers, and the Islanders. They should at least be happy that they are clearly more popular than the Islanders now, so I'd say it's been a success with all things considered.

And like how DevilChuk said, the fans who started watching when they were young during their three Cups are now starting to get jobs and finally being able to afford season tickets. They'll only get more popular IMO.

And also, their logo and their name is a good enough draw for selling merchandise. I see plenty of people who aren't fans wearing Devil caps.

__________________
Kane One is online now   Reply With Quote
Old
04-18-2013, 08:20 AM
  #12
Stephen
Registered User
 
Stephen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 35,568
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
Secondly, it may not be how NJD promoted themselves locally that led to the success you're claiming the Wings or Avalanche had. That was a national level of recognition and appeal, and again, some of that may go back to the flashiness of the teams, the rivalry and the heat generated during games.
That's precisely my point, that they weren't promoted on a national level as a "marquee team" independent of their market situation locally. Maybe this is a failing of the networks or the NHL itself, but it seems like more exposure and more of that NBC/Fox hype could have done some good towards making New Jersey a team to perk up about when they rolled into town.

Stephen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-18-2013, 08:23 AM
  #13
Sinter Klaas
Registered User
 
Sinter Klaas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Making Lists
Country:
Posts: 724
vCash: 1147
What's the latest on their ownership situation?

If I remember correctly one owner wanted to sell his stake with the team but was having trouble. Also didn't they have to renegotiate their lease with the city recently?

Sinter Klaas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-18-2013, 08:24 AM
  #14
Buck Aki Berg
My pockets hurt
 
Buck Aki Berg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Ottawa, ON
Country: Canada
Posts: 15,477
vCash: 500
Also bear in mind that the Devils have had a fair amount of negative press (most of it incorrect) regarding their success. A lot of people gleefully crow about how the Devils trapped their way too all the success they've had on the ice, which obviously isn't true.

It's hard to build a brand - even a successful one - that been associated with being boring, even if the whispers aren't true.

Buck Aki Berg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-18-2013, 08:26 AM
  #15
Jerzey Devil
Registered User
 
Jerzey Devil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Orlando, FL
Country: United States
Posts: 1,534
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinter Klaas View Post
What's the latest on their ownership situation?

If I remember correctly one owner wanted to sell his stake with the team but was having trouble. Also didn't they have to renegotiate their lease with the city recently?
Resolved. Jeff Vanderbeek is the sole owner now (or at least he owns the majority of shares).

Jerzey Devil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-18-2013, 08:31 AM
  #16
Stephen
Registered User
 
Stephen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 35,568
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by brec7 View Post
I always felt like the Devils were the NHL's version of the San Antonio Spurs. In both cases, you have highly successful teams that are competitive, winning titles but not consecutively (but usually in the conversation even when not winning) but don't seem to grab much of the geography-neutral fans out there.

Being in Nova Scotia, far away from any NHL team really, I'm surprised the Devils don't have more fans than they do, given their success. I imagine it's similar in other "open" areas without an obvious NHL allegiance, and I think that's what the OP is hinting at. Most teams, when they win a title, create an instant bandwagon effect where their merch is obviously more visible after winning. I don't recall this ever happening with the Devils.
Yes exactly. I can't comment too much about about the local NYC situation, though people bring up a good point about having to share the market with established franchises in that era, as well as the "second generation" fans coming up now and snapping up seasons tickets, etc.

It's more that from a remote location like Toronto, you get a healthy amount of championship bandwagon effect in all sports, whether it be the Avalanche, Wings and Penguins in the NHL, or the Packers, Cowboys, Pats, etc in the NFL, the Yankees and Red Sox in MLB, etc. Many of those teams are big market teams or have star power or both, but they did all benefit way more from nationwide hype than the Devils did.

It's as if no one in the NHL ever made a point to try and point to the Devils and say "Yeah these guys are fantastic, and they're coming to a town near you" and hype them up when they were winning so often.

In comparison, look at the Philadelphia Flyers, it's been over a decade since they had that mega star power in Eric Lindros, yet the league trots them out as this marquee team year after year.

Stephen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-18-2013, 08:42 AM
  #17
Patmac40
BESTPOSTERINTHEGAME
 
Patmac40's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Country: Canada
Posts: 3,046
vCash: 500
Like a lot of others have said, the geography of the team hurts. Even people in Cherry Hill, NJ and other surrounding areas cheer for Philly because it's closer than East Rutherford and is obviously a longer serving franchise. Location, Location, Location.

It does seem odd though given their rather consistent winning and having one of the most popular goalies in his generation. Once Marty's gone it will be interesting to see how many people that are NJ fans but not in the vicinity of NJ were actually Marty fans moreso than Devil fans. Not saying there's a lot of those people but I'm sure some will attach to other teams.

Patmac40 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-18-2013, 09:46 AM
  #18
Northender
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 232
vCash: 500
3 words: New York Islanders

Northender is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-18-2013, 11:23 AM
  #19
CREW99AW
Registered User
 
CREW99AW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 30,751
vCash: 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
This occurred to me in another thread. Has there been a more dismal example of brand building in the NHL or any of the big four North American leagues in terms of capitalizing on ice success into off ice brand image than the New Jersey Devils?

Lou Lamoreillo and company have built an organization with more winning pedigree than most franchises can dream of, mostly uninterrupted and continuous success on the ice, a decent stable of star talent over the years, yet they don't even come close fan popularity as a lot of teams with a fraction of their success. In fact I'd say the franchise is completely irrelevant even though they have been a fantastically successful team, at least in proportion to what other multiple champions in the 1990s and 2000s in the NHL (Colorado, Detroit, Pittsburgh) experienced during their times or in other sports.

Does this all come down to a failure in marketing the team the right way? Is there something New Jersey could have done to position itself as a franchise? Or can it be blamed on the market itself?

I think the blame falls on the marketplace. If the team had been moved to an area that didn't have an nhl team, they would have been hugely popular.

Not only did the Devils have to compete, with two other local nhl franchises, they had very popular NFL amd MLB teams to compete with.
With all the Devils success, I've never much cared one way or the other. I was just glad it wasn't the hated Rangers having such success.

CREW99AW is online now   Reply With Quote
Old
04-18-2013, 11:26 AM
  #20
Fugu
Administrator
HFBoards
 
Fugu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: ϶(o)ϵ
Posts: 32,706
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northender View Post
3 words: New York Islanders

Care to elaborate?

Fugu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-18-2013, 11:47 AM
  #21
The Korean*
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: New York
Country: South Korea
Posts: 7,635
vCash: 500
Send a message via AIM to The Korean* Send a message via Yahoo to The Korean*
It should be noted no team branded New Jersey has ever been popular. Its all about NYC over here.

The Korean* is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-18-2013, 12:28 PM
  #22
RandR
Registered User
 
RandR's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Ottawa
Country: Canada
Posts: 1,319
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buck Aki Berg View Post
Also bear in mind that the Devils have had a fair amount of negative press (most of it incorrect) regarding their success. A lot of people gleefully crow about how the Devils trapped their way too all the success they've had on the ice, which obviously isn't true.

It's hard to build a brand - even a successful one - that been associated with being boring, even if the whispers aren't true.
I think this is part of it. I also think it's important who the stars of the Devils have been during their success compared to say the Pens or Avalanche. Pittsburgh had superstars like Mario Lemieux and now Crosby, the Avs had superstars like Sakic and Roy. Those were all exciting players to watch and for young kids to emulate.

The biggest and most recognizable stars on the Devils during their cup years were Brodeur and I'd say Scott Stevens. Brodeur and Roy have been the biggest goalies in the past generation, but Roy was a lot more flashy and demonstrative, while Brodeur has consistently more quiet about how he goes about his job. (Roy was also already an icon in Quebec by the time he won the cup in Colorado.) And Scott Stevens was a defense-minded defenceman; aside from those bone-crushing hits, he didn't play the kind of game where fans regularly jumped out of their seats like Crosby or Sakic. And sure, the Devils had some highly-skilled forwards, but they weren't going to win scoring races even if they didn't play on a defense-minded team.

In favour of the Devils marketing, I've long thought they have one of the best logos in the NHL.

RandR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-18-2013, 01:13 PM
  #23
Cornwall OHL
That's my O face.
 
Cornwall OHL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: South Glengarry
Country: Canada
Posts: 258
vCash: 500
I liken the Devils to the Senators. NJ is surrounded by powerhouse teams that have 10 cups between them. They needed to grow a fan base, and right now that original fan base should be in their mid to late 30's and younger. The Senators are in the middle of two original six teams with 37 cups between them. Ottawa's fan base is in their late 20's and younger.

New Jersey does have their logo and jersey going for them. THE NJ Devil logo is easily recognizable and has been copied by minor hockey organizations. They have a classic looking logo, and not something silly like some teams tried (think fishing or slug). Their current jerseys and their original jerseys are great as well.

Cornwall OHL is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-18-2013, 06:25 PM
  #24
edog37
Registered User
 
edog37's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: A Midwestern Town
Country: United States
Posts: 2,980
vCash: 500
the problem with the Devils is how they chose to play the game. They will forever known for trap hockey. Successful on the ice, yes. Successful off the ice, not so much....

edog37 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
04-18-2013, 07:26 PM
  #25
nickschultzfan
Registered User
 
nickschultzfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 6,927
vCash: 500
Yes. I live in NYC but I am not from here, giant hockey fan (Go Wild!), but I can't really get into the Rangers. I should be a prime target to become a Devil's fan.

But I have zero desire to. Something about the franchise. Can't put my finger on it.

So, instead I'm getting more and more into the Islanders, which are, no offense, a horribly run franchise (until recently).

nickschultzfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Forum Jump


Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:48 PM.

monitoring_string = "e4251c93e2ba248d29da988d93bf5144"
Contact Us - HFBoards - Archive - Privacy Statement - Terms of Use - Advertise - Top - AdChoices

vBulletin Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
HFBoards.com is a property of CraveOnline Media, LLC, an Evolve Media, LLC company. 2015 All Rights Reserved.