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Monday, August 18, 2008

If you could change 5 things...

..about the Nationwide Arena hockey experience what would it be? Here are a couple of low cost suggestions that I think could really enhance the hockey experience:

1. MORE REPLAYS! I've been saying this for years now but I will never understand why Nationwide does not show more replays of goals, hits, bad calls, etc, etc. I've heard the excuse that they don't want to show up the refs but this is a fast sport and its hard to catch everything. Besides isn't the idea to get the crowd involved and create a tough home crowd atmosphere -- well nothing gets the crowd involved like replaying what actually happened on the ice good or bad. I've been to plenty of other NHL arenas and they do a much better job in this area and it really does improve the experience.

2. Lose the movie clips! How many times have the Jackets scored (okay not much but I digress) in a close game where the crowd has went wild only to see the game ops folks play some stupid movie clip that completely sucks the life out of the building as everyone looks to the scoreboard to see it and stops cheering? I could see using them if the crowd is quite and sitting on their hands but when the crowd is already wound up and cheering let em go and just play some music or something which leads me to....

3. Know your demographic! Lets be honest here -- you look around the crowd at an NHL hockey game and what do you see? For the most part of a bunch of young to middle aged Caucasians -- well how about playing some music that actually lends itself to this audience? People aren't there to learn the latest underground techno push in Columbus.....just some good ole fashioned familiar crowd pleasing fist pumping rock n' roll will do just fine.....and lose the friggan Sponge Bob Square Pants -- that's just embarrassing. This is hockey not a Nickelodeon afternoon special.

4. Cannon & goal song. I think they were off to a good start last year but it needs some tweaking. My suggestion is when the Jackets score a goal immediately play a part of the Joe Satriani crowd chant song and then roll into a countdown for goals scored followed by a "FIRE!" with cannon boom.

Example: Nash scored goal #3. Satriani plays. Scoreboard then flashes with crowd chanting 1! -- 2! -- 3! -- FIRE (with cannon boom) !

5. Tone done the advertisements/gimmicks. Look I know its a business and the Jackets have sponsor obligations. I get that. However do we need every single intermission or stoppage in play to be a Chipotle parachute drop or replays of the fat guy dancing?. How about some replays sponsored by (insert company name here) , highlights, or some Jackets montages -- keep the focus on the hockey that's being played out there. I think the Jackets are past the point of gimmicks and I think there is plenty of room for improving the focus on what's happening on the ice.

I know the Jackets themselves have an obligation to give them something to sell by playing well but players feed off of crowd and building energy and I think game ops has really gotten away from building that over the years -- of course 7 straight losing seasons doesn't help.

Now I hate only being negative so lets talk some positives as well.

I loved the incorporation of the cannon last season as it really gave a Jackets game that kind of signature experience you can only find in Columbus. In fact the whole play off the civil war theme really worked -- from the drum line to the fife to selling the civil war hats it all added to make the Jackets a unique NHL experience and really helped sell the "Blue Jackets" name and the part Ohio played in that era of history. I thought it was a good mix and I really hope they continue build off of that this season.

Now of course I could say lower the prices on beer, food, tickets, etc but its pro sports and I've come to expect that no matter how much I'd like to buy beer for the same price I'd get at Giant Eagle it just ain't happening. That said the Jackets do have to keep a close eye on such things as the bottom line is that if you make things to expensive you could price yourself right out of a pro franchise. Some of the season ticket holder "free food" promotions last year were a great place to start.

At the end of the day though a winning hockey club makes everyone's job and experiences better. The #1 focus is and always should be icing a winning product. It never does hurt though to strive for the best you can in all areas of the operation as there is nothing like a rocking crowd and with the right tweaks here and there I think we can get that back.

Discuss - what do you like/dislike about your hockey experience at Nationwide?

-LTL

12 comments:

Todd G said...

No More Machinehead!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'll take machinehead all d*mn day if it keeps them from playing some pop crap like the jonas brothers or hannah montana! Oh yeah...and no more "magic tricks". That flew as well as a lead ballon in thunderstorm!







BHG

LTL said...

Lol. I had forgotten about the "magic trick" - lets just say it certainly wasn't Heath Ledger.

That may go down at the single biggest bust in CBJ game ops history. They "jumped the shark" with that one.

-LTL

Skraut said...

I agree with the amount of promotions, quizzes, mini games and whatnot that they do. At times it feels like watching the game is an afterthought.

We don't have ADD, and can actually go a few seconds without having something thrust down our throats from the Jumbotron.

And besides, the more replays you show, the lest contrived gimmicky things that need to be done in stoppages.

WALLY said...

5 Assorted things, in no particular order:

1 - Gimmicks, sponsors and advertising are necessary evils, but they still suck. It KILLS me that everything is sponsored, from pee breaks to powerplays. How about a fist fight between the Mountain Dew crew and the Pepsi kids at center ice? That would be incredibly entertaining.

2 - A little more ice rink organ music, less Metallica, Bush and all those other overplayed songs. Or for christ's sake, find some new bands. How about the Mountain Dew girls use the t-shirt cannon on the music director? Center ice.

3 - I agree with the movie clips... They don't exactly kill the mood, but you usually can't hear or understand them, and the 5 second freeze frame pause at the end before they change to something else is laughable.

4 - There has to be some level of affordability injected into the "experience" at Nationwide. My wife and I bought cheap tickets ($15 or $18?)for 5 games in row, it was the promotion right after the all-star break... mistake! :-( Between parking & tickets, we're already at $50 for the night. Throw in a few beers and forget about it. They looking for repeat business or a constant cycle of newbies interested in hockey because of a winning streak? I've seen them... and I hate them... all talking amongst themselves and completely disinterested, then jumping up and giving each other high fives when the CBJ scores! Then back to texting or cell phone calls. So ugly.

5 - The opening sequence with the Mathew Broderick clip and assorted players doing the "I will" just makes me cringe every time I see it... Especially knowing how lackluster and lazy the CBJ can play at times (or have played). I just can't buy into it.

I guess Columbus just doesn't have a hardcore identity yet... It was at least interesting for Wyshynski to suggest "Columbus is a good, solid team" today. The reality of what the CBJ is becoming is finally starting to sink in.

DRU said...

Add This:
• Even Bigger Cannon
• Hotter Ice Tarts
• Pyrotechnics
• Military Drum Core
• A Real Organ (Like Chicago)
• Better Nachos
• Bring back the Dewmolisher!

Lose This:
• No More Machinehead
• No AC/DC goal song
• No Cottoneye Joe (Ever)
• No Ghostbusters Clip

Matt said...

"5 - The opening sequence with the Mathew Broderick clip and assorted players doing the "I will" just makes me cringe every time I see it... Especially knowing how lackluster and lazy the CBJ can play at times (or have played). I just can't buy into it."

See, the first time they did this, I actually really liked it. I had a bit of a chill up my spine from it, and it was just a pre-season game against Buffalo.

I'd agree it lost some luster by the end of the season, but I think that could be fixed by having more than one intro, and varying them a bit.

The "Saturday Night Hockey" skit Mike did for the first weekend game against Detroit, with the fake Mr. Rogers neighborhood was a perfect example. Funny, to the point, and it specifically fired the place up about that night's opponent. Even with the usual 50/50 split between Traitors and Jacket fans for a Detroit game, when he tore the Red Wings sweater open and yelled "I HATE THOSE GUYS!" the place got loud -realy damn quick-, and stayed that way for most of the game.

Also, I don't mind the AC/DC and Satriani goal mix, but one kinda cool thing to do would be to have someone up there with the "cannon crew" in an Officer's uniform, and to draw his sword and order them to "FIRE!" right at the break in the intro before the cannon goes off.

The more we play up the civil war stuff, I think it can add more to the atmosphere. If we have to use movie clips? Get stuff from Gettysburg, Gods and Generals, and such like that. Using Glory also gets better if it fits in with the other entertainment!

Finally? "BAYONETS!" Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Some changes:

Movie clips--if they are going to use them, at least make them applicable and SHORTER!!!!!!!!!!!

Promotions and contests: yeah, you got to have them, but EVERY FREAKIN' STOPPAGE??? Do a better job of negotiating the contracts with those sponsors so it isn't such a sideshow.

Music--Play stuff that people actually know and can get into and feeling good. Also, make the goal music louder. We want to PARTY! when they score so give us music we can hear over the crowd.

Get rid of Stinger-why in the heck do we have a 'yellow jacket' as our mascot??? It doesn't even make sense and no longer is part of our image. Come up with a more appropriate mascot that is in line with the civil war theme.

It seems like a lot of teams are taking the ice through something: ie. Sharks through a shark's jaws, Oilers through a drilling rig. Perhaps the Jackets can skate out through a troop of guys with their civil war rifles raised.

Maximize the whole: 'I will' thing. The Broderick thing is okay, but they need to expand that not only into the players, but into the fans. A chant of 'I will! I will!' Could really get the building pumping when the game is on the line.

I loved the drum line at the game and think that should be further incorporated.

Pyle said...

I for one like Machinehead

I also like AC/DC for the goal song, I despise the Satriani stuff.

I hate that they did away with the "Hey Song"

I love the "Chili Chant"

Incorporate a firing squad of some type to start big games?

Maybe we should start a gimmick and throw something like an octopus on the ice... just kidding.

I like the idea of the goal count, maybe they should check out some of the northern universities to see how they get the fans involved vocally. I've been to Yost Ice Arena, and man, I think they do absolutely everything possible.

On another note, maybe there needs to be an official cheering section? It has helped the Crew and of course OSU football a lot!

Wally said...

5 - The opening sequence with the Mathew Broderick clip and assorted players doing the "I will" just makes me cringe every time I see it... Especially knowing how lackluster and lazy the CBJ can play at times (or have played). I just can't buy into it."

"See, the first time they did this, I actually really liked it. I had a bit of a chill up my spine from it, and it was just a pre-season game against Buffalo."


But it's Mathew freaking Broderick. In my mind, he'll always be Ferris Bueller. I scratch my head when I see he actually grew a Crosby-quality goatee & mustache...

By the way, the "Hey" song was pretty much banished from all sporting events when the guy got busted for molestation or kiddie porn (or whatever it was).

I have a 1-1/2 to add to my list... NO MORE "O-H" "I-O" before, during, or after a game. Take it up the street.

tom said...

I too like the Machinehead and Hey songs. Dislike the Satriani. Like the additon of the cannon starter ordering the blast and the civil war frontline that precedes the Jackets entering the ice.

OH-IO is sooooweeeet when the hated Michigan Red Wings are in the house along with most of their fans. It transcends sports...not just an Ohio State thing.

Echo the disdain for the high priced beverages and relentless promotions. Would love to incorporate the organ player more and throw out the pie-in-the-face burrito video game.

Next, I like the live bands jam set up on the main concourse between periods. I think this should be a norm.

Finally, the drum line could wander the sections during the game similar to OSU. It pumps up the crowd.

Anonymous said...

Fly the damn Chipotle blimp all game.