I. Executive Summary
The NHL has seen its fairs share of storied franchises, but non-however may stick out more than the Los Angeles Kings. At one time the Kings had acquired arguably, the best player to ever lace up his skates in Wayne Gretzky and were competing for the Stanley Cup year-in-and-year-out. The Kings have been long regarded as one of the better ran franchises in sports, thanks to managements commitment to winning.
However, the Kings have not managed their ultimate goal of a Stanley Cup, they manage to remain competitive every year. The closest they came was in 1993, where they lost to the Montreal Canadians in the Stanley Cup Finals. Behind the play on the ice though comes a marketing strategy that ties it all together. This strategy will be developed in conjunction with, Vice President of Marketing Jonathon Lowe, and team owners Philip Anschutz and Edward Roski Jr. The following strategy will include sales, promotions, merchandising, advertising/sponsorships, public relations, and then of course community relations.
The Kings came to the NHL in 1966, as apart of the “new 6” that doubled the size of the NHL and brought a franchise to Southern California. Then owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, Kent Cooke brought his passion for the sport of hockey, and for the city of Los Angeles together when he created the organization. After 44 seasons of hockey the Kings are now one of the more storied franchises in the NHL today.
This past season the Kings enjoyed a great fan turnout averaging 18,803 fans filling the building to an average of 99.8% capacity, up 6% from the previous season. The Kings do not have to compete with the LA Lakers or Clippers of the NBA so much being as how all three teams play out of the Staples Center, but in a city like LA where the entertainment dollar is more competitive now than ever, it is important for the Kings to stay ahead of the rest of the competition. Fans need to know that they have the opportunity to catch the most exciting game on ice, every time the Kings play at home. If there is one thing LA fans are notorious for it is only coming to “important” games. That is why we need to branch out to new fans and make sure old fans still know the Kings run this town.
Sales, the lifeblood of any organization, the biggest factor that separates a successful franchise to a non-successful franchise. The Kings currently have their season ticket plan broken up into several different categories they include, full/half season ticket plans, along with 10-game deals, a Wild West package, and then single/group ticket sales. Also there are Royal benefits made available to full/half season ticket holders, and 10-game ticket holders. By becoming a season ticket holder be it full, half, or a 10-game plan the fan is entitled to Royal benefits that include but are not limited to: * Stanley Cup Playoff Ticket Priority
* Significant saving on tickets
* Flexible interest free payments
* 10% off at the team LA Store
* Ability to purchase advance tickets to other events at the Staples Center, Home Depot Center, LA LIVE and more
* Ability to purchase Staples Center pre-paid parking
They also include Royal Service Programs that include:
* Access to a personal Season Ticket Service Executive
* Kings CARE donation program (this gives the ticket holder the opportunity to donate unwanted tickets to the Kings CARE foundation)
* Ability to upgrade account or add tickets to account
* Access to LAKings.com/seasontix this website give the fan the option to view their account, access tickets, make payments, renew tickets, and sell tickets on Ticketmaster’s TicketExchange
They also include Royal Treatment:
* Receive invites to exclusive Team Member events like, a Meet the Players Party, State of the Franchise, private practices, listen in on conference calls, and much much more * Refer a friend to season tickets and receive free Team LA gear.
The Kings play 82 regular season games in the Western Conference, Pacific division. Of these 82 games 41 are played at home, the rest on the road. For all 41 home games the ticket sales are as follows:
The Kings offer great deals to buy tickets in bulk, i.e. season tickets and are willing to sacrifice some profits to bring fans into the arena. The only thing that the Kings lack in their season ticket packages are names that people can get excited for. The full season ticket holder package will be renamed the “King’s Royal Court”, this is something that will help the fan feel more connected to the team. The half season ticket holder package will be known as “the Royal package of the Crown”. The 10-Game packages needed names with a little more spunk so instead of the 10-Game, Big Game package, it will be known as the “10-Game War” to because it is war on the ice and the team will be playing some of the best competition the NHL has to offer. The Weekend Plan could be renamed “Time Away From the Throne”, because it is a weekend and people typically do not have to work. I like the name of the Flex package because it tells the consumer exactly what they are getting.
Following package sales are individual ticket sales and group ticket sales. Single game tickets can be purchased through the box office or the team’s website via Ticketmaster. Pricing for tickets are based on demand, opponent, day of week, and number of days before the game. Prices may vary from week to week and will go up or down each Wednesday based on these factors. The way the price for tickets is determined is very interesting, it is good for the fans and bad for the fans, because the system relies heavily on what games being played and there performance of the team.
This gives fans with a lower level of income the ability to catch a Kings game, even though the opponent might not be that good. Group tickets are available to groups of 15 or more and offer value priced seating based on the game. The idea behind group seating is to bring the groups, pride, passion, and power to the Staples Center to support the LA Kings. The Kings work with multiple youth hockey organizations, along with other organizations throughout the area to achieve group sales.
The Kings do an excellent job with promotions to get fans into the arena, different nights of the week have a different theme, all of which appeal to the people who live in the Los Angeles area. The promotions schedule is as follows:
* Oct. 18: Opening Night
* Oct. 22: Law Enforcement Appreciation Night
* Oct. 25: Kroq Tailgate, Hockey fights cancer
* Nov. 3: Canadian Heritage Night
* Nov. 5: Waste Management “Green Game”
* Nov. 8: Native American Pride Night, USC vs UCLA
* Nov. 12: Boy Scout Night
* Dec. 1: Career Night
* Dec. 10: Legends Night, Firefighter Appreciation Night
* Jan. 2: Legends Night
* Jan. 5: Faith & Family Night
* Jan. 9: Russian Heritage Night
* Jan. 12: Waste Management “Green Game”
* Jan. 19: Jewish Pride Night
* Jan. 23: Armenian Pride Night
* Feb. 18: Legends Night, Black History Night
* Mar. 3: Waste Management “Green Game”
* Mar. 22: Law Enforcement Night presented by Enterprise Rent-a-center
Along with these promotions that are geared towards promoting community bonding there is Military Mondays which honors those who have served in our military, Website Wednesdays which offer different deals on Wednesday of ever week, and Student Nights which are games that offer discounted tickets to all students with valid ID.
Merchandising deals with all aspects of the game, it is the difference between any old game and a sporting event. The fact that when a fan enters the Staples Center they are welcomed to a sea of black and purple and blinded by the Kings crown is what makes a Kings game a Kings game. The Kings are fortunate to have a very intensive website dedicated to Merchandise that includes jerseys, tee shirts, golf shirts, sweatshirts, and much more. The goal behind the Kings merchandising techniques is that everyone who walks into Staples Center better be wearing some type of Kings memorabilia and if they are not they better walk out with something on.
In the arena itself there is a store dedicated to offering women’s apparel. The store had pink and form fitting hockey jerseys for women because the normal jerseys are too big. The store also had Kings shirts that are a little more flashy than normal and would appeal more to a women’s eye. Along with the women’s store there are several stores in the arena that are designed for children.
These stores have Kings toys and mini hockey sticks, plus clothes and jerseys designed for children to wear. All along the arena there are places for men to buy merchandise they include jerseys, hats, tee shirt, sweatshirts, hockey pucks and much more. Some of the more popular items are the shirts designed for women, golf balls and hockey puck with the Kings logo on it. The Kings have a very recognizable brand and are amongst the top teams in revenue generators for the NHL.
The Kings have formed multiple corporate sponsorships that help fuel their organization. Most notably is Staples, whom own the naming right to the arena they play in but that is also in conjunction with the Lakers, Clippers, and city of Los Angeles. On top of that the Kings have teamed up with Verizon Wireless and Wells Fargo both of which are huge national organizations.
The Kings also pair up with corporations to bring events to games. The Kings have deals wit h Pizza Hut to sponsor events, Waste Management sponsors “Green Games” for the Kings, and Kroqs also sponsored a themed game promotion. Sponsorships are a huge part of revenue and the best way to attract new sponsors is to attract fans.
Some suggestions that the Kings could use would be to get a company to sponsor some type of ticket deal, it would reduce the cost to the consumer, and could come with coupons to use at the sponsoring company’s facilities. Another sponsorship idea is to have corporate sponsored events like a golf outing for charity or something of that nature. The Kings have the luxury have having a giant billboard that surrounds the ice they play on so corporate sponsors are not too hard to come by. Some notable sponsorships are Delta, Carl’s JR, Hooters, Toyota, and the Penalty Box, which is a bar located in South LA dedicated to the Kings.
Another way the Kings could promote corporate sponsorship is through some type of wellness card. All card carriers would receive benefits to participating companies, and could include money off food, gas, or clothing. The card is something that can purchase through the LA Kings and will offer deals to its card carrier.
VI Public Relations
Public Relations are important to any organization and the Kings are no exception to this. The Kings already do an excellent job with their PR. The teams website is more than informative and gives fans a very hands on approach to press releases, game notes, and player stats/news. The idea behind good public relations is that by being perceived as good in the public’s eye will equate to more ticket sales and more support of the team. No one will support a team that is full of classless thugs, and that is why the website is so interactive.
The fans have a chance to read up on their favorite players, see where they are from, and their career stats. That is fairly basic though, I propose each player prepares a short, quick, bio about themselves answering some fun questions like “what’s your favorite movie?,” “what’s your favorite food?”, “who is your favorite band?”. Questions that when answered will give the fan one more possible way to connect to their favorite athlete. Not only that, but by doing this it will give fans the chance to get to know new players.
Another big part of PR is getting team new out their fast before the media gets the wrong story out there. The Kings have all updates on player personnel available on the team website and also through the teams’ Twitter and Facebook accounts. The Kings have 165-thousand Facebook fans and 49.6-thousand followers on Twitter. The Kings have really utilized social media as a positive tool while dealing with Public Relations.
VII Community Relations
Community Relations is similar to PR but deals more with the local community at hand rather than the view of the team under the national spotlight. For the Kings the city of LA has been very gracious hosts and the Kings have returned the favor significantly. The Kings have been in the area for the last 44 years and have maintained an excellent presence in the city. In 1996, the Kings started the Kings CARE Foundation, which is dedicated to helping less fortunate kids get through school by providing educational support the Kings were able to raise $3.5 Million since being started. This includes a $250-thousand donation that was used to help fund the Children’s Museum of Los Angeles, and another $250-thousand donation that was dedicated to AIDs victims.
Another thing the Kings do is Kids Ice Knights, which donates over 10,000 tickets a year to kids who cannot afford to go to Kings games. The Kings Care Foundations hosts a silent auction every year that benefits the Children Cancer Research Fund, the items up for auction were tee shirts designed by team players and those associated with the Kings. The players all designed a dog bowl that were auctioned off, all proceeds of this went to the Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles. The 2006-2007 campaign gave the Kings the opportunity to work with Carmen Electra’s fundraiser, Head to Hollywood, which benefits survivors of brain cancer/head trauma.
The team sponsored events at their home games where Miss USA and other celebrities shot pucks into an empty net to raise money. Every Wednesday the Kings feature children up for adoption in the greater LA area. In 1998, the Kings began a scholarship fund for fallen friend Michael Jund, and has been changing the lives of its recipient for over a decade. Finally the Kings pair with Toys for Tots around the holidays to bring holiday cheer to children. The Kings take a very active role in the community.
On top of all of this players are constantly visiting the less fortunate and making sure the community knows the Kings care. It is important for the Kings to maintain their strong community ties because every season starts with the off-season.