How the Stars plan to conquer the Texas hockey fan market with a preseason game in El Paso
When the Stars take to the ice on Oct. 3 in El Paso for a preseason game against Arizona, it will be the happy meeting place for two of the organization’s most visible business initiatives: Texas-wide marketing. and outreach to the Hispanic community.
The NHL announced the game Wednesday morning as part of its Kraft Hockeyville USA contest. El Paso was named the winner of the contest in 2020, which means the city also received $ 150,000 in rink upgrades and $ 10,000 in hockey equipment in addition to hosting a preseason game.
The match did not take place in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a high profile event for El Paso hockey, and I hope it builds fans,” said Stars President and CEO Brad Alberts.
The Stars have focused on conquering the Texas hockey fan market this season.
Their marketing slogan “Texas Hockey” is displayed on the header of the team’s website and visible as a hashtag in many of the team’s tweets. American Airlines Center will feature the team’s secondary logo – the one with the outline of the state of Texas – at the center of the ice this year. This season, the Stars are also advertising in El Paso and Austin, near where AHL affiliate Texas plays, at Cedar Park.
The Stars are the only NHL team in the state. The Texas Stars are the only AHL team in the state since the San Antonio team moved to Henderson, Nevada.
Alberts said players will not be able to interact with El Paso fans as much as the team would have liked due to the pandemic, but the Stars will still be present via mascot Victor E. Green and appearances at the ‘school.
The game will take place at the El Paso County Events Center, located less than half a mile from the Mexican border. Alberts said the Stars wanted to be “Team Mexico”.
“Why not?” said Alberts. “There is no one else. There are a lot of Mexicans in Dallas-Fort Worth and Texas. It really is an audience that we are trying to appeal to. Obviously, to all Latinos, but people of Mexican descent make up the majority of this group [in Dallas]. We think this is a great opportunity for growth from a fan base perspective. “
The team recently hired former NHL goaltender Al Montoya to be the organization’s director of community outreach, a new position that “will be focused on helping the organization grow. hockey among under-represented fans, including Spanish speakers like him, ”according to the Stars.
Montoya was the first Cuban-American to play in the NHL and the league’s first native Spanish speaker. The 36-year-old played nine seasons in the NHL and will be essential to the team’s breakthroughs with the Dallas-area Latinx community.
The team also has other projects.
Alberts has said the Stars want to play a game in Mexico City, but he hasn’t set a date for it due to unknowns surrounding the pandemic and logistics in Mexico City. Would the Stars hire a Spanish broadcast team to call up the Stars’ matches?
“I think it’s all of the above without being totally specific and without revealing all of our secrets too early,” Alberts said.
Alberts also said the team will try to enroll many boys and girls in its learn to skate and play programs to grow locally, in addition to forging relationships with Mexican and Hispanic businesses.
The game against the Coyotes gives the Stars seven preseason games. Training camp kicks off on September 23, with the first preseason game on September 27 in St. Louis.
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