The NCAA college hockey season wrapped up a couple of weeks ago on April 9 at Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay, FL. The University of North Dakota walked away with its 8th NCAA national title with a 5-1 victory over Quinnipiac. The frozen four games, as well as the championship games were all broadcasted on ESPN, which has huge marketing advantages as compared to professional hockey. ESPN has a large audience, meaning that tons of viewers could be reached during the frozen four playoff games. This is a great opportunity for the sport of hockey as a whole, since its fan base is not as extensive as other professional sports. Advertisements during the game could help create associations between those brands and the sport of hockey, which can help brand loyalists create affiliations with hockey. Despite the national audience brought in from the event, the city of Tampa Bay saw some great marketing campaigns surrounding college hockey’s biggest event.
Street Laced Marketing, a marketing team based in Tampa, teamed up with the Tampa Sports Commission during the event to bring a lot of fun and excitement around the college hockey event. During the event weekend, there were promotions at local restaurants, live music from several DJs around the arena, and a lot of fan festivities available. This creates not just a sporting event, but just a fun, family atmosphere for the Tampa Bay community. This can set the stage for future NCAA Frozen Four events by creating a multi-faceted experience for fans in attendance. Having events in addition to the games, can help bring in casual fans or unfamiliar audiences looking just to have a fun experience. I believe that the marketing at this year’s frozen four sets a good example for hockey events everywhere, and is a great way to grow the fan base of the sport.