Desperate to get their female audience ratings up, the National Hockey League today struck a deal with film group, Summit Entertainment to have some of its stars attend NHL games, including Robert Pattinson.
NHL assistant to the VP of marketing Daniel Gale said in a letter to multiple news outlets "the National Hockey League has looked for a way to get into the tween to 50-something female demographic and we think this deal will help get our foot in that door" on the deal thats reported to be a 6 year deal worth in the neighbourhood of $2 billion dollars. With hockey struggling in many U.S. markets, the deal is seen by some as a desperation play.
Critics of it have already lashed out saying its insane for the NHL to hand over 2 billion dollars while so many of their markets are in trouble. Jacob Jankowski, a writer for The Hackey News suggests the NHL use that money to help some of the less stable markets like Phoenix or Nashville "Does the NHL really think Robert Pattinson is going to help sell out a Coyotes vs Predators game? Seriously, its absurd."
The NHL however is encouraged by early reports, as the first night of games under this promotion, tonights tilts, have almost all sold out already on the news that Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner & Kellan Lutz from the vampire film series, Twilight will be in attendance at the games.
Lautner, a native of Michigan will attend tonights Columbus Blue Jackets vs Detroit Red Wings tilt with his father, sitting in the front row "its cool. I have been eager to get to a game this year, but my schedule hasnt allowed it. Now I am getting paid to go, I love this" said Lautner on jumping into this promotional gimmick. While Taylor Lautner watches his hometown boys battle, fellow Twilighter, Kellan Lutz will take in the Vancouver Canucks vs Los Angeles Kings game with co-star Robert Pattinson tonight.
Pattinson, the lead character Edward Cullen in the vampire films, is the marketing centrepiece of the NHL campaign & will be making multiple appearances throughout the day. He will start off dropping the puck at the Philadelphia Flyers VS New York Islanders game, before rushing up to Toronto, Canada to attend part of the Toronto Maple Leafs home game against the Buffalo Sabres. After that, he will head down to Nashville, Tennessee to catch some of the action in the Nashville Predators tilt with the St. Louis Blues, before finally heading out to Los Angeles for the late game where he will team up with Lutz.
Summit Entertainment assistant VP in charge of public relations and appearance scheduling Toby Jugg released a statement on the apparent demanding schedule of their main attraction, Robert Pattinson. "The NHL wanted a big WOW to the start of this campaign. So we went big & shoehorned as many games as we could for Rob tonight. His schedule will ease up from here. He is scheduled to do just 2 games the following day, and Saturday with the early starting times, his 4 appearances across the country that day will not be so demanding & he will get to actually see some of the game. By next week he will be doing just 2 game a day, with 2 on the Saturday nights".
As part of the deal, the NHL has agreed to move a team to the small town of Forks, Washington and name them the Forks Vampires to cross-promote the Twilight brand. The league has announced it will hire former NHLer John Cullen to do marketing there, and are encouring the Ottawa Senators and Chicago Blackhawks to trade Mark & Matt Cullen there when the team starts playing in the 2010-11 season. As well, during this years Stanley Cup finals, the players will don glitter, to give the appearance of sparkling, just like the stars of the film do.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman had this to say on the deal "The NHL has been working on this for several months. We are excited to get this deal done. Its been our largest priority since day 1 to hammer this deal out. This is going to catapult the National Hockey League back into the major sports scene in the U.S.".
Whether the campaign is a success or a failure remains to be seen yet. One thing is for certain though, there might suddenly be a spike in females paying attention to when their local NHL teams have home games, and for the NHl, in some markets, thats the most attention they have had there in awhile."