sports marketing is easy, part 2

been rummaging around wrigley field over the last couple days as the hockey rink gets installed for the winter classic. all the trucks are branded, neighborhood bars have winter classic neon signs, even the the gift stand is open, a week before the game. some folks are surprised at the hype the game's getting. i'm not. two original six teams squaring off for the first hockey game ever in one of sports' greatest venues in one of the country's most passionate sports towns? gee, do you think it'll work?

mark hollis is the athletic director at my alma mater, michigan state university. he understands the insatiable appetite that fans have for unique sporting events. he's the one who set the world attendance records for a hockey game with the Cold War in 2001, and a basketball game with the BasketBowl in 2003. (not him alone, mind you. then it wouldn't have been a record.) he's also the one who arranged for the Beloved Spartans to play a football game against navy on the deck of an aircraft carrier, before the carrier got called out to war duty. no, seriously.

it's nice to see another blow to the Me-Too-ism of sports marketing.

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