You may be familiar with Detroit’s nickname “The Motor City” but many locals know we’re also an original “Hockeytown.” One of several cities internationally to deserve the moniker, Hockeytown has been home to the multi-championship winning Detroit Red Wings since 1926. In other words, people here love hockey. The love for this sport was more than evident the last week in December when the NHL hosted the 2013 Winter Fest at Comerica Stadium downtown, bringing thousands of fans and an expected $60 million in revenues to the city. Comerica Stadium, the usual home to our beloved Detroit Tigers, was transformed into a winter hockey fan destination, complete with outdoor ice rink, entertainment and shopping venues. The Winter Fest culminated in the Alumni Showdown game between the Red Wings Alumni and the Toronto Maple Leafs Alumni on December 31, 2013 (Red Wings Alumni prevailed 6-5 in overtime). As I blogged about in “The NHL Knows How To Do Event Marketing” earlier in December, Stahls’ was on hand to provide on-site custom heat printing services to Winter Fest visitors. I had the chance to chat with Carl Agosta of Stahls’, who helped coordinate the Stahls’ team and was also busy heat printing during the event. “We were set up at two locations,” Carl explained. “Inside the D-Shop and in a bigger location in the Molson Canadian tent. We had Hotronix heat presses set up so that fans could customize their fan apparel with several different options.” This is a great tactic for event marketers of all sizes–offer choices! “It started with the purchase of a t-shirt or sweatshirt (pullover or hoodie). Then you could choose a “D” or Red Wings Wheel heat print transfer for the front. For the back, you had a choice of certain alumni player names and numbers, the most popular was Yzerman.
There were also choices for the name/number combo. We were offering the option of GlitterFlake or Thermo-FILM. All I can say is that we sold out of GlitterFlake Yzerman combinations everyday. If you didn’t want a name or number on the back you had the choice of a transfer featuring the entire Alumni Roster.” Keep in mind that these shirts were not inexpensive. The undecorated t-shirt cost $25 and a sweatshirt cost $60. Adding a name and number in GlitterFlake cost $15, or $10 for Thermo-FILM. Each transfer cost $5. When I asked Carl what he would have done differently, he mentions we should have had a glitter or
special effects transfer. “Once people saw the GlitterFlake, they wanted more.” Proof once again that bling is far from over, and that even fans for tough sports like hockey have a weakness for sparkle. Congratulations to the Alumni Red Wings on their win in the showdown and to the NHL for allowing us to participate in this exciting and well-organized event.