By ALAN SNEL
Vegas Golden Knights President Kerry Bubolz says a lot of people tell him the Cinderella story Golden Knights will enjoy a “honeymoon effect” during the expansion franchise’s inaugural season.
But Bubolz told LVSportsBiz.com he won’t accept any honeymoon effect and the team president has mapped a business game plan to recruit national advertisers and brands to sponsor Golden Knights hockey and generate more revenues after this season.
“We want to create more visibility nationally,” Bubolz said. “We’re thinking beyond just Las Vegas and our TV territory.”
Las Vegas has local and regional sponsorship deals with companies like The D Las Vegas casino hotel, City National Bank, Ed Bernstein, Credit One Bank (opened a new Las Vegas corporate headquarters) and Cosmopolitan.
But with the Golden Knights’ unexpected first-year success in the NHL standings and its inspiring story of rallying a community emotionally hurt by a madman’s shooting massacre at a Strip music festival Oct. 1, the franchise has garnered national, if not international, appeal.
Golden Knights’ games are often one of the few highlighted hockey games during ESPN’s SportsCenter nightly shows, while Golden Knights licensed merchandise sales rank in the NHL’s top five.
The Golden Knights brand has value after 49 games and 70 points — good for a 10-point lead over the second place San Jose Sharks in the NHL’s Pacific Division.
No wonder Bubolz wants to build on the improbable momentum the rookie team has generated this season.
Another area that Bubolz wants to build on is the Golden Knights’ commitment to getting more young kids on skates and more young skaters holding hockey sticks.
About 500 kids are involved in the Golden Knights’ learn to skate program and the team wants more youths in the learn to play and Little Knights programs, Bubolz said.
The Golden Knights will also soon have a new neighbor — the Triple A baseball Las Vegas 51, which plan to build a $150 million, 10,000-seat ballpark next door to the hockey team’s training center and headquarters on South Pavilion Center Drive in Summerlin.
Bubolz said he’s excited about the prospect of having the 51s next door in 2019 because the VGK president recalls working for the minor league baseball’s Tulsa Drillers in Oklahoma and the Quad City River Bandits in Iowa.
He said the 51s new ballpark will bring new fans to the site, which, in turn, will allow for the Golden Knights to increase their visibility. Bubolz noted he has not spoken with 51s President/Chief Operating Officer Don Logan about potential cross-promotional opportunities.
Logan said a groundbreaking and site construction is to be announced.
Check out LVSportsBiz.com’s Top 10 questions with Bubolz from an October 2017 interview.
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