By Zach Baru
Come January 7 at Fenway Park, there will be more than just two winning teams at Frozen Fenway 2012. In fact, not only will each of the four teams win from the exposure, but New England Sports Network and Fenway Sports Management will also share the rewards of playing outdoor hockey at "America's Most Beloved Ballpark".
The event will air live on NESN, immediately following coverage of the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks in their first meeting since the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. The hype of the Bruins game will be a key addition to exposure for Frozen Fenway, as there is a potential for huge Bruins ratings to carry over to the college doubleheader.
At 4:00 PM the University of Massachusetts and the University of Vermont begin the first game, followed by the University of New Hampshire and the University of Maine at 7:30. This game presents an excellent opportunity for these four schools to showcase their hockey programs in an event that will be getting national media attention. If there is one observation made from the efforts of Fenway Sports Management's marketing, it's that the events taking place at Fenway are not only seen around the region, but around the entire country as well.
Frozen Fenway 2010, Celtic FC versus Sporting CP in 2010 and various concerts are examples of FSM's impressive resume of events attracting nation-wide attention. FSM is the global sports marketing and sales arm of Fenway Sports Group, owner of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool FC. From FSM's perspective, Frozen Fenway is yet another opportunity to bring sports and entertainment to Fenway during the winter. Additionally, they are able to reach out to the entire region by including the Universities of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts to participate. Fenway Sports Group has spent years making sure the region knows that the Red Sox brand represents not only Boston, but all of New England. Frozen Fenway is just another example of getting the entire region involved, and bringing them to the ballpark.
And this has been something Fenway Sports Group has been so much better at doing than the other ownership groups of Major League Baseball. Many of the league's stadiums are just that, baseball-only stadiums. The problem is that in a revenue-generating business, this is not a great practice. And this is what separates FSG from the other ownership groups, their ability to provide year-round entertainment. Honestly, ten years ago, could you imagine The Rolling Stones playing a concert at Fenway? And for that matter, The Police two years later? This is what sports marketing is all about. And as Fenway Sports Group lead the way, they clearly show year after year they know how to do it best.
Zach Baru can be followed on Twitter @zbaru and contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.