As you likely know, the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg’s True North S&E is still pending a vote from the NHL Board of Governors at the end of June. I was curious to see if the official announcement contained any branding, or digital resource and it did. It was clearly stated that a solid financial launch was required to cement this transaction in the form of a season ticket base of 13,000. In order to accomplish that, True North launched:
@Driveto13 on Twitter
Drive to 13,000 on Facebook
I got on-board early, around the 75th follower and 50th FB “Like”. I will be interested to see how these numbers grow over the course of this drive and how these assets are tied into the strategy overall. At first blush, there’s not a lot of content there – only 2 tweets on day 1, and the only posts on FB are from fans. With a rather stark black and white logo and digital design consistency, I’m going to assume this as an attempt to not tip the hat on official team name, logo or colors. Makes sense from that perspective…
This approach is very different from the “Make it Seven” campaign a few years back regarding the Phoenix Coyotes and potential relocation to Canada. The social campaign behind that movement (pun intended) was to form a grass-roots kind of approach. Driveto13 is really about driving dollars as this sale is about as rubber stamped as it gets. With a pre sale to current Manitoba Moose season ticket holders, and a launch to the general public to follow, I’m ready to see how these digital assets will coordinate to drive towards the 13,000 target and just how fast that happens.
Thoughts on Branding
For many fans, the obvious choice is a return to the “Jets” brand – but I don’t see it playing it out like this. I have zero insight into this issue, but for what its worth, here is my 2 cents…
I would go with a new name. In fact, the name “Jets” may not even be legally available for all I know as it may in fact reside with the Coyotes franchise (a good point made to me via @kc_douglas). Going with a new name/brand makes the most solid business sense from a merchandise perspective in my opinion. Consider the potential in revenue vs. fans busting out all their old Jets gear. While many (even myself) are nostalgic for the Jets brand, there is simply too much to be gained here. In addition, if the rights are available – they can always be tweaked/updated and added to the mix. For example, you can still purchase North Stars merch from the Wild.
At the end of the day, the dollar always wins. It’s why the team left Winnipeg in the first place. But it’s also why a team came back. This is not a bad thing – it’s just the way it is.