Ice hockey – another staple American sport that for many that is a social and cultural package that’s part of life. Ice hockey is a global sport but there is nothing like 20,000 fans in an ice hockey arena. Welcome to a story that was a pre-season match but still a great insight and experience to the game of ice hockey.
What was the event?
What: Detroit Redwings VS Chicago Blackhawks
When: 19:30pm – Tuesday 17th September
Where: Little Caesers Arena, Detroit
Let the story commence…
BANG…the player smashes into the glass. A fist is thrown. The gloves are off. The helmet scatters all over the place and then two players are sin binned. “Love this…boxing and ice hockey – perfect”. I thought.
I have been to Ice Hockey before but today I was not watching (apart from when there was some excitement) on the ice. I wanted to watch the fans, the arena and, in this blog, talk about my (outstanding) experience with Olympia Entertainment.
I was honoured to have a tour and a great meeting with Kevin who is the Director of Events on the Monday. The next night I was able to attend and see first hand this building in action. Detroit is in the midst of picking itself up and dusting itself off after a catrosophic 10 years for the local economy. Now Olympia Entertainment have invested in Detroit (they are a Detroit based company) and bring jobs, opportunities, social consumption and importantly events back to the city – oh and hope.
I stand in the middle of the Detroit Redwings Arena and wow…(not literally the middle that would be the ice). The screens are bright, the music playing and then fans trickling in. Is It going to be a sell out tonight – nope because it’s a pre-season. The ticket cost me $15 and the seat gives me quite literally a birds eye view of this spectacular arena. I can still, if I try really hard, smell the fresh plastic off the seats as the arena was only open 18 months ago so its still building the brand and reputation but I watch people working on jobs that 18 months ago didn’t exist. Fans are psychologically being brought in to this venue by the different fan engagement items, moments of hello from the lovely staff and opportunities to buy merchandise.
Its 30 minutes to go. So I stand just observing. People are coming from work as its 7pm and there kids being fed quickly shoveling the tender chicken bits before rushing to buy a new top or something in the sale. Screens are everywhere so wherever anyone goes they can see the countdown to the beginning of the match. As I watch its well packaged because from the moment the security take the ticket and walk through the doors its “Redwings…” everything – apart from a few items that are the basketball teams items (but they still get used) because they share the arena. What does mean? Well for the duration of a consumer in the arena all they need in their life is there. Whether it’s the renewal of there season ticket. Whether it’s food and drink. A new top to show there friends or even a first time certificate – very excited because I got one.
The arena is not about facilitating a sport – it is about making those that are not there jealous. It is about ensuring each person has an experience that when they talk to there friends the next day in work at the coffee machine they tell them they were on the ice playing bubble ball at half time OR post on instagram a picture of them with the players…like below…
Sport is just – happening. As I walk about I kind of forget that I am going to ice hockey and get to busy seeing the food places, the photo opportunities and everything else. Well done – because I am there trapped in a well constructed environment.
One thing to take away…
I loved seeing the fans turning up in their colours and I think that is one of the key points…what is the opportunities that other “events” create to ensure people buy in to show there colours. Detroit Redwings thanks for being event 74 and thanks for having me as part of the family for those days…