I’ve heard a lot of “stuff” about our pro hockey team – our first major league team, thank you Bill Foley – in the last months. Things locals didn’t like about the name, logo, etc. But I hope we can all appreciate what they did this past week and the time leading up to it.
They hired a boatload of scouts, who worked for a year to get ready for a whirlwind few days. And it appears they did a great job. They were professional, drafted players with character, and found a balance of skills and experience.
Players I spoke with (see below) seemed impressed with the process.
This one is getting national attention. VGK has done an amazing job of building a social profile, their engagement levels are super high (see below, did a great job engaging with fans this past week utilizing the new players) and they have generated significant followings. For example, they added 10,000 twitter followers just in the last week. Now that they have players, and soon when they have a mascot and a dance/ice crew they will have even more engagement opportunities.
One of the themes I’ve heard people critique the team for is being reactive versus proactive. But there has been a lot to do in a short time so I think that will take care of itself over time. But this past week, marketed as a “VGK Takeover Week: was well planned, even having to coordinate a large-scale event with the NHL (the combined awards show and draft) and having their entire hockey staff totally hut-of-pocket and then out of town for the entry draft. They were so prepared, that the day after the expansion draft, several players were doing local engagement events (throwing out first pitch, doing youth street hockey clinic, and social engagement activities. I was lucky enough to have dinner with a few of those players, and they couldn’t believe how well planned the time was, and that it wasn’t like anything they had seen before.
They got the team store completed on time, and it looks fabulous and has some great gear. Particularly given the tough circumstance of everyone getting new jerseys from a new provider. Even before this week, I have been impressed about how much gear I see us wearing around town, developing pride with every shirt, hat or car sticker!
Having the schedule out is important in a couple of ways. First, the team can now start selling single game tickets and other packages. Second, we saw an instant reaction from out-of-town visitors looking for tickets, rooms, etc. for the times their teams are visiting Las Vegas. I think we have all underestimated the amount of demand there will be for Las Vegas games from tourists traveling to see their team.
In my opinion, the week couldn’t have really gone any better. Hopefully this will just be a launching point for exponential growth in excitement. There is still so much for the team to do (and for all of us to do) in the next 90 days to ensure an awesome first preseason game. But we’ve got some great momentum from this past week.