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Field Experience – Charlotte Checkers

May 3, 2012

For class this week, we were required to attend a Charlotte Checkers game at the Time Warner Cable Arena.  This was the first time I had been to an AHL game, and it was quite the experience.  They had a lot of different promotions throughout the game.  That night happened to be boy scout night, so all of the local troops were present, decked out in their uniforms.  They had grade school students come out and sing God Bless America, and the National Anthem before the game.  They used all of their space in the arena for advertisements.  They had ads on the dasher boards, on the tickers, and even on the ice.  They had plenty of give-aways, and even had interactive ones, where people had to take a picture on their phone, and mail it in to be entered into a drawing.  At half time they had a trike race between three people dressed up in smoothy costumes.

At one point in the evening, we were able to chat with Jeff Longo, who is a sales and marketing consultant for the Checkers.  Jeff has experience working with the New Jersey Devils NHL team.  He explained that the Checkers use hockey almost as a backdrop for the rest of the activities going on around the game.  They try to make the game experience fun, and then there is the hockey game.  The sponsors of the Checkers give money, but they also assist with initiatives in the community.  The Checkers really try to get out and help in the community as much as possible.  The positive press really helps their reputation.  Also, the Checkers do own their own sponsorships for the arena, but that is not their primary source of revenue.  Their revenue breakdown looks like this:

Ticket Sales – 60%

Sponsorships – 35%

Merchandise – 5%

One last thing is the importance of the PR people for the Checkers.  The PR people must do a lot of coaching up of the players because they are mostly international players, not used to the Charlotte area, and are usually between the ages of 18-22, and don’t have a lot of experience dealing with media.

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