Quote: "Jennings said Ovechkin was not included in the ad campaign because he had commitments in his native Russia at the time the ads were being shot."
The NHL couldn't check the reigning NHL MVP, Scoring title holder, Goal king, Player’s Association MVP schedule while planning to shoot the ads? What a lame excuse...
By LYNN ZINSER, The New York Times, Oct. 24, 2008, "The N.H.L.’s Marketing Plan: Count on Crosby":
At the beginning of a new feature-length DVD about Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ spectacular center, a procession of commentators finishes the thought: “Sidney Crosby is . ... ” One proclaims, “Sidney Crosby is the N.H.L.”
“We’ve seen television ratings increase in games he has been in, increased attendance where he plays,” said Brian Jennings, who is the league’s executive vice president for licensing and marketing. “He’s a powerful force.”
But the question is whether the N.H.L.’s promotion of Crosby is enough, whether one player in a medium-size market can lift the league.
A current national ad campaign features Crosby and includes Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Calgary Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf and Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane; they step out of still photos of themselves and speak to the audience.
“The N.H.L. is kind of stuck in this,” said Bob Stellick, president of Stellick Marketing Communications in Toronto.
“The N.B.A. was at its best when it had Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, big stars who were in the right markets. Sidney is the right guy in the right market. But the N.H.L. is less of a broad-based sport. Ovechkin seems to be No. 1-A.”
Jennings said Ovechkin was not included in the ad campaign because he had commitments in his native Russia at the time the ads were being shot. The inclusion of Lundqvist and Kane was a nod to their rising profile as players and the huge media markets in which they play.
All the exposure of Crosby has increased his profile in the United States. According to Henry Schafer, executive vice president of Marketing Evaluations Inc., Crosby’s rating in terms of popularity and marketability has risen drastically since he was added to its tracking list in 2006.
His recognition numbers — 29 percent of sports fans, 18 percent of the general population — have increased only a bit, Schafer said, but add in his likability factor, and his rating score has nearly tripled in that time, to a 22 among sports fans, from a 7 in 2006. The top team-sport athlete, Schafer said, is Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, who has an 84 percent recognition factor and a rating score of 37.